Posted at: 09/25/2013 11:00 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4
As Balloon Fiesta nears, some are worried about a possible buzzkill for out-of-town visitors.
It's the graffiti that lines the Rail Runner route.
"It gives a bad name to Albuquerque," said county anti-graffiti unit supervisor Bobi Velasco.
On a Rail Runner journey into the metro, it's easy to see something beautiful.
But it's also no chore to catch an eyeful of the opposite.
"Yeah the other stuff really needs to go," said passenger Lora Candelaria.
KOB Eywitness News 4 traveled to Bernalillo from Alvarado station by Rail Runner train. Our crew hopped back on the train again southbound to Albuquerque to see just how back the graffiti problem is.
Tagging covers walls on both sides of the tracks for blocks in places north of Albuquerque.
"I've just kind of ignored it.," said Betty Fry.
Fry was on the train Wednesday on her way to Albuquerque from Santa Fe with a group of friends visiting from Atlanta. She's not convinced the tags should upset folks.
"I've been in places where it's a lot worse," she said.
That's not good enough for Velasco.
"When we get a phone call we go out there as quick as possible," he said.
Velasco's team cleans graffiti in unincorporated Bernalillo neighborhoods year round, but ahead of the fiesta they're hitting the Rail Runner corridor hard.
Each section of graffiti they find keeps them busy.
"Two or two and half hours," said Velasco.
The county hopes to have all graffiti gone before tourists come in.
In Bernalillo though, KOB caught up with commuter Sally Moore.
"I think there's a much bigger problem," she said.
She said she hopes the county thinks about more than just removing the graffiti, but who might be putting it there.
"I think we need to not look at the superficial piece of that, appreciate that kids are wanting to participate in the world, and they're not finding a great way to do it," said Moore.
If you see a big patch of graffiti you think the county anti-graffiti unit should know about, visit http://www.bernco.gov/bernco-anti-graffiti-program/
Bernalillo County tells us crews are doing a huge mop up in the Rail Runner corridor starting Thursday at 9 a.m.