ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque is sharing its efforts to make this year’s River of Lights safer for pedestrians. The movement comes after a child was fatally struck by an ATV last year.
Just a week away from the River of Lights, the city is adding new measures to make sure it’s safe for visitors. This includes new routes and ways to get to the event.
Last year, seven-year-old Pronoy Bhattacharya was killed and his father injured while leaving the river of lights. Police said Sergio Almanza struck them with an off-road vehicle. The death devastated the community.
The city wants to make sure it never happens again. The safety measures this year will block pedestrians from crossing at Tingley and Central, where the incident happened. If people need to cross from Tingley and Central, they will be directed to the Bosque bike path that goes under Central.
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The city will allow specific crossing at New York and Central with barricades up for protection. They are also pushing the use of park-and-rides; similar to what we see during Balloon Fiesta.
People could get picked up at the zoo and dropped off at the Botanic Gardens for free. City leaders are also encouraging people to get free rides using the ART buses.
“There is no amount of barrels or lane reorganizing that we’re going to be able to do to make you get in and out fast. The only way to do that is park and ride and the ART bus,” said Mayor Tim Keller.
The city’s Security Division will have guards on ART buses and monitoring the parking lots. As for speeders, Albuquerque police’s Traffic Division will be in full force alongside Public Service Aides to help divert traffic.
No parking will be allowed at Tingley Beach, except for those who have bought tickets for the Biopark Society’s Santa’s Magical Experience, a new event introducing a shuttle that will take visitors to and from Tingley Beach to the River of Lights after spending an evening with Santa.