Fiesta or fiasco?

The Kona Sutra at Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park, which sits right on the North Diversion Channel trail (from Feb. 2014).

It seems the best way to get to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is … by balloon.

Or is it?

Motorists and park-and-riders have suffered mightily this year, getting stuck in traffic and/or at bus stops, reports The Albuquerque Journal. With a record 21,000 park-and-ride tickets sold, the problem was “sheer volume,” according to Dennis Christiansen, Fiesta coordinator of traffic and P&R.

Added Fiesta executive director Paul Smith: “We have a limited number of access points to and from the park. We are kind of landlocked here. We have a reservation (Sandia) to the north, a neighborhood to the west, and AMAFCA (flood control) channels on two sides.”

’Tis a puzzler, to be sure. Until one considers that a bike path parallels one of those channels — the North Diversion Channel Trail, which runs straight into Balloon Fiesta Park, where a bike valet service awaits.

Neither the Journal nor the Fiesta mentions this transportation option, though I was riding that trail to that park before I even lived here. I tell ya, we don’t get no respect. …

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24 Responses to “Fiesta or fiasco?”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    You should send that to the Journal as a letter to the Editor.

  2. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Does anyone else think there are just too damn many people going to this thing? I think the same thing about Eroica Gaiole – it was a great thing when perhaps 2-3000 riders showed up at most. Now there’s a zillion despite the cutoff and lottery system. Same with the Maratona delle Dolomiti – 10K people on the roads in the mountains is just too many. These things too often become victims or their own success.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, it’s slightly insane. As the jefe notes, there are only so many access points for the infernal-combustion crowd. It’s like trying to suck a Zeppelin through a garden hose.

      Now, if I cared to go watch the balloons rise and fall, which I do not, I’d hop on one of my trusty two-wheelers and coast on down. Balloon Fiesta Park is an easy hour from El Rancho Pendejo by bike, and that’s if I take the scenic route and don’t crack a sweat.

      The city crows about having more than 400 miles of bike paths and trails, and it’s true, I can get there and back mostly on off-street paths, designated bike lanes/routes, and trails, with an assist from a couple lightly traveled suburban streets.

      It just seems to me that ’Burque is not always quick on the draw when it comes to touting this wealth of transportation possibilities.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        Yep, in ‘Murica TRANSPORTATION is piling into your Chevrolet Subdivision or Ford Exploder, even if all you are hauling is your wallet full of credit cards and your smart-phone. I assume the vast majority of these folks are going just to watch the pretty balloons fly in the sky? So they could just strap a lawn chair (and maybe a small beer cooler?) on their bike and pedal on over there, avoiding all the time wasted sitting in traffic jams…but they won’t…because you know what my wife says…
        I get reminded of this every time a Euro bike race shows aerial shots of their sports stadiums. Unlike in the US of A, none of theirs are surrounded by acres of empty asphalt parking lots as the fans get there via public transportation, which we know in ‘Murica (as Homer Simpson famously said) is only for “losers and lesbians”!
        How many days until November 7?

        • JD Dallager Says:

          Larry: I see a profit opportunity here for someone who runs bike tours, has the bike logistics down pat, lives where it’s colder than ABQ this time of year and wants to go where it’s warm (if only for three days), enjoys Italian and Mexican food, etc. Know anyone like that? 🙂

          • larryatcycleitalia Says:

            I’m basically retired and just looking for enough revenue to keep our Piedmont Cycling Resort breaking even for the next decade so I can keep sharing and enjoying la dolce vita in bicicletta until my time is up. While this may involve clients who live in the US of A, none of it happens in the US of A….by design.
            Going back to my first visit there in 1989, my desire to retire in Italy has increased each and every day. If all goes well I’ll be there in 27 days…and of course you’re all welcome to visit!

      • khal spencer Says:

        Here in Fanta Se, the bike plan seems to be “design for where can we put these friggin’ bike paths without interfering with anyone’s right to drive a Chevrolet Subdivision (good one, Larry) or Ford Excretion from the house to the nearest mailbox. I can’t bike the 1.5 miles to Trader Joe’s without either being suicidal on St. Francis Drive or taking sixty seven right and left turns to get their via indirect side streets. New Mexico Dept. of Transportation made sure of that when they widened St. Francis to six lanes back in the day when Gail Ryba was trying, with enormous but futile efforts, to stop them.

        In spite of all the huffery and puffery about being a City Different or having a new and vaunted Sustainability Plan, this city is NoDifferent from most others: Car is King. There was a presentation to City Council last night about sustainable development but the city tried that this year with infill and the NIMBY contingent made sure that was stopped in its tracks.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    The car was king in the US before; it still is. All infrastructure and transportation planning is built around it.

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      True, but I never tire of reminding folks the gawddamn roads in the USA got PAVED through the efforts of the cyclists!!
      But the automobile lobby in the USA has done a great job taking the right to use those roads away from everyone else but the motorists. Whether it’s creating “jaywalking” or separate-but-unequal bike trails and paths they’ve drummed the idea “roads are for cars dammit, get on the sidewalk where you belong!” into generations of motorists.
      In contrast the Italian roads are for everyone. Other than the big cities there are few sidewalks and very few bike paths or trails. Everyone is in or on the road, whether they’re pushing a baby stroller, someone’s mom riding her bike down to the store for a loaf of bread, the local cycling team or the Armani-suited business man going to work in his expensive German sedan. It’s very rare to have conflicts – our clients are amazed at how the motorists just move over and drive by and by how much room the big trucks leave us as they pass. Just one more reason I’m counting the days….

  4. Esteban O’ Says:

    No one goes to the Albuquerque balloon festival anymore… It’s too crowded!

    Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all night

  5. Esteban O’ Says:

    Have you ever heard the gears in somebody’s head come to a screeching halt? If not, try this:

    When you hear someone say, “I was stuck in traffic,” reply with, “No, you were traffic.”

    It’s kind of like the George Carlin thing about only two kinds of drivers, idiots and maniacs. Everyone thinks that “traffic” is everyone else.

  6. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Patrick, please forgive a quick detour back to your last post. Tropical storm Sergio is bringing soft and steady rain to my neck of the woods. It has been raining since I woke up 4 hours ago. Sweet! I will do my best to send some your way.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Nice! It’s supposed to be snow by the time it gets to us, but I’ll believe that when I’m shoveling it.

      • Herb from Michigan Says:

        Earlier this week I invited y’all to head north and share our 86 degree temps. Well, forget about it. The high was 46 today. Ya missed it. The colors are exceptional this year with some trees literally looking like they are on fire. But damnit! I had to,dig out long pants today. Frost tonight on the pumpkins.

      • JD Dallager Says:

        I think Sergio isn’t the reason cold temps and snow are headed our way here in the Bibleburg “metro”.

        It’s an Edmonton Low that will slide south fast and become the dreaded/ski-hounds-desired Four Corners Low.

        I’ll personally take all the moisture we can get (liquid or frozen). The potential El Nino for this winter season is spawning high hopes for Front Range and ski area snow.

        BREAK, BREAK: Larry: Please have success on and airline reservations for 7 November!! 🙂 Ciao, Baby!!!!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Forty-six? Well, Herb, at least you’re getting some color, even if it’s just blue around the toenails.

        I had to resort to knickers and arm warmers for my last two rides. The horror … the horror. …

        JD, looks like Southern Colorado is fixin’ to get pounded. Eight to 16 inches in the Wets and Sangres? Hal won’t have to go all the way to Music Pass to run in the snow.

  7. Hurben Says:

    Given that the inclement weather may force you inside, I recalled this gem about NZ made by our neighbours over in West Island for your viewing pleasure

    • JD Dallager Says:

      Ouch! Touche! Great Kiwi and Ozzie satire! Enjoy Spring, Hurben!!!! 🙂

      • Hurben Says:

        We have just had a dump of snow! WTF I hate wearing rugby socks with my sandals

      • Hurben Says:

        Just to be clear, while I love this clip, we have a functioning navy, a good air force, (although no fighter jet capability), & an excellent army, several members of which have paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        No worries Hurben. Contrary to popular trends, you can wear socks with sandals! I do it all the time, much to my niece’s
        chagrin. I assume Kiwis are more practical than the fashion conscious nitwits were have here.

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