City increases safety measures around River of Lights event

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – River of Lights is a sign of the season in Albuquerque. This year, Albuquerque police have a plan.

“Safety for all that come. We don’t want to have another incident like we did several years ago, where the little boy got hit on Central Avenue,” said APD Sgt. Ryan Stone. 

With Pronoy Bhattacharya’s death still fresh in the minds of folks who serve and protect, APD had a meeting this week discussing the traffic and parking plan.

This year, for the first time, the trolley path will be opened up for pedestrians to cross under Central.

“If you’re going to be crossing at Central and Tingley area, you’ll be forced to use that trolley path. The PSAs that are assigned there will send you that way,” said Stone. 

On top of that, lighting has been installed under the Central bridge above the bike path.

Within the last three months, the city installed a speed camera to automatically ticket drivers on Central.

Eastbound drivers on Central won’t be allowed to turn left on New York into the BioPark parking lot. The city is also pushing the Park and Ride from the zoo this year.

“It’s a good alternate to having to fight the traffic at the actual BioPark getting into the River of Lights,” Stone said. 

If you forego the Park and Ride, the parking situation in other places could be contentious. But will APD do anything if someone parks in the neighborhoods surrounding the BioPark? 

“We have Schimmel Security that will be patrolling the neighborhoods and everything,” Stone said. 

But no concerted effort to ticket drivers breaking the parking rules.

“As far as officers for the APD, they’re assigned to be inside security of BioPark,” said Stone. “So I don’t think they’ll be out and about.”

Safety is the priority.

“Be aware of your surroundings, watch out for pedestrians,” said Stone.