KUNM

In The Dark

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

People say bad street-lighting contributes to fatalities and violence in some parts of Albuquerque—and national studies bear this out. There’s plenty of finger-pointing, but when it comes to info about broken streetlights, the public’s still mostly in the dark.

Marisa Demarco/KUNM

Let's Talk New Mexico 5/16 8a: All around the country, more people who are walking are hit by drivers in neighborhoods with low incomes and in communities of color. Here in Bernalillo County, one out of every five times there’s a pedestrian crash, it happens in the few square miles of Albuquerque’s International District. Residents say a big part of the problem is bad street lighting, speeding drivers, big roads, crumbling sidewalks, and not enough intersections or bus stops.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller got on a truck lift on Wednesday, May 8, and turned on a streetlight in the International District in a photo-op designed to announce that PNM will replace all of its streetlight bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs by the end of 2019. It’s still unclear when the area’s ongoing problem with broken streetlights and bad lighting will be resolved.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

At night, for long stretches of road on large busy streets and residential ones, it’s completely dark in Southeast Albuquerque’s International District. Residents say not having enough streetlights is an urgent problem, because it leads to hotspots of crime and more vehicles hitting pedestrians. Politicians failed to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for new lights in the area, leaving neighborhoods in the dark.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

There’s a part of Southeast Albuquerque that sees more than its share of people who are walking being hit and killed by drivers. In just five years, there were 26 pedestrian fatalities in the few square miles known as the International District—but none in neighboring Nob Hill. People who live in the district say a big part of this problem is broken streetlights that don’t get fixed, even though they’ve been asking for over a decade.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

For decades, people in a southeast Albuquerque district have been asking the city to light their dark streets. One neighborhood group eventually starting solving the problem by installing streetlights on their own.

Public Domain Pictures via CC

Pedestrian fatalities are up all around the United States—and New Mexico is no exception. We’re on track to have one of the worst rates in the country, and one of the worst years we’ve had in a while. Seventy-eight people were killed this year, and that number doesn’t count December. Better Burque blogger Scot Key has been following the problem for years, and he talked with KUNM about the reality of these deaths.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Around the country, pedestrian deaths are most common in low-income areas. And New Mexico has had the highest average rate of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. for the last few years, according to the CDC.