ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s the backyard Robert Mendoza dreamed of, but his piece of paradise at the corner of Montaño and Montaño Plaza Drive in Albuquerque has become a magnet for speeding vehicles. “It’s kind of become an inside joke to us at this point because every time we hear tires screeching, we kind of brace for impact on the wall,” says Mendoza.
The tall brick wall that protects his home and property has been hit over and over again. Mendoza says he’s witnessed more than a dozen crashes at his corner, and a handful of those crashes taking down his wall over the last three years. “The first one that happened in 2020, we came out and there were car parts, the fiberglass all the way up to our door here,” he says.
The most recent crash happened last Thursday taking out another chunk of the wall, this time with a $5,500 dollar bill. Mendoza says the driver’s insurance didn’t have enough coverage to repair the damage, leaving his family paying out of pocket. “We’re minding our own business in our home and we’re having to pay these expenses for stuff that’s not our fault,” says Mendoza.
Aside from the money, he says safety is an even bigger concern. With bricks crumbling around them, the couple doesn’t feel safe in their own backyard. “It’s kind of scary, you know, we can’t use our backyard, we can’t feel safe back here in our own home,” he says.
He’s been pushing the city to add guard rails or even a traffic light to fix the problem, reporting the issues to 311. The city says they’re aware of the intersection and crews are looking at different solutions such as installing Bollards.
Mendoza says if things don’t change, he may be raising his future family elsewhere. “You know, it’s not safe to raise a family in this yard right now. When my wife and I look at having kids I’m not sure that I feel comfortable with having children in this backyard until something is done to ensure our safety a little bit more,” Mendoza says.
The city added they’re working with an outside consultant on ways to fix these issues in places that see a high number of crashes.
There have been similar cases like this across the city. After several crashes into another Albuquerque backyard wall in 2021, the city added guard rails near 72nd and Ladera.