City considers adding ñ’s to Montano street signs

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – When Albuquerque drivers think of Montaño, “river crossing” might come to mind, but have you ever thought about how the word is spelled out?

That came to mind for one Albuquerque driver, who says he has a bone to pick with the city over some of the street signs for Montaño.

While most people say it the same way, when it comes to the spelling of the Albuquerque city street, a lot of Montaño’s street signs are missing something big.

“The little thing, the thing you see on the side,” said one woman while looking at a photo of a “Montano Transit Center” street sign.

“If you’re going to use a Spanish word, then you need to use it correctly,” said Adrian, a life long Albuquerque resident.

They’re talking about Mantaño’s Spanish “n,” also called an “n-yay” (sp.)

A viewer emailed KRQE News 13 Friday to complain about the sign at the Montaño Rail Runner and Bus Station, west of I-25. The viewer noted that the street sign for “Montano Transit Center” is missing its tilde. Some people refer to that as the “squiggly line” that sits above the “n.”

Without the tilde, the pronunciation and the word “Montaño” changes from “mon-tah-NYO” to “mon-tahn-OH.”

“To me it just seems like Montano (mon-tahn-OH),” said a woman while looking at the street sign Friday.

However, that transit center’s street sign isn’t the only one. From the Petroglyphs on the westside all the way out to I-25 to the east, KRQE News 13 counted 51 street signs along the road. 46 of them read “Montano,” while only five of them read “Montaño.”

Two of the signs with ñ’s are at the road’s intersection with 4th Street. Three others are near I-25.

KRQE News 13 asked a few people what they thought about it today.

“It should be there because it the correct pronunciation you know, the ‘n-yay,’” said Conrad, an Albuquerque resident.

“I think if they’re going to have that name of the road then they should put it on there correctly,” said Adrian.

KRQE News 13 also asked the city what the deal was with the missing ñ’s.

“Certainly a great question,” said Gilbert Montaño, Chief of Staff with Mayor R.J. Berry’s office.

Even with his last name being “Montaño,” Gilbert Montaño from the mayor’s office says there’s no clear answer right now as to why the n’s are missing a tilde.

“We’ve looked and asked some of our city officials to determine what the history of that name specifically comes down to,” said Montaño.

The city is hoping to figure out if it will change the n’s soon.

“It’s certainly something that we want to get right,” said Montaño.

If the city decides to put tildes over the n’s, Albuquerque’s Municipal Development Department told News 13 Friday that they would consider using reflective tape instead of paying to replace the sign entirely. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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