Residents cite need for speed control

By Tony Parra

Portales residents presented concerns during Tuesday’s city meeting over road conditions, speeding and public safety.
Rick Matthews said he has seen tractor trailers traveling at a high rate of speed in residential areas.
“These trucks are using residential areas as shortcuts,” Matthews said. “God-forbid if a kid is bouncing a ball on the corner of S. Dallas and 8th St. and the ball bounces into the street.”
Matthew suggested an alternate route for the semi-trucks would benefit the city in the long-run. Matthews also said he was concerned with parts of First and Second Streets which are torn up because of the rain and traffic.
Mayor Orlando Ortega said the state highway department has been contacted about the condition of First and Second Streets, which are state highways.
City Manager Debi Lee said in mid-December that a truck by-pass would be a welcome addition because studies have shown that truck traffic hurts downtown shopping and other businesses.
Ortega said a truck by-pass would be at least three years away but that city officials have talked about the idea.
In other business at the meeting:
• Ortega and city officials went into an agreement with Marron and Associates, Inc. of Albuquerque. The environmental science and planning firm will be responsible for creating an environmental assessment for the airport runway improvements at the Portales Municipal Airport. The environmental assessment includes research on the amount of noise, how the airport affects animals and making sure the airport is in compliance with environmental agencies.
The negotiated cost will be for $29,711.63 plus gross receipts tax through a grant, in which $40,000 was set aside for the environmental assessment. The next step is for city officials to get together with Marron and Associates, Inc. representatives so they can begin work on the assessment.
• City officials took the time to recognize Santa Claus helpers for the Mayor’s Christmas tree. Mark Clark, Mike Parkey, Don Criss, Bob Sikes, Antonio Salas and Ray Pallares helped deliver presents to children during the holidays.
“The Mayor’s Christmas Tree is a wonderful thing,” Criss said. “I wish you could see the smiles on the kids’ faces. It’s worthwhile.”