ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque mayoral candidate’s box truck billboard was spotted parked illegally near I-25 during the morning rush hour recently.
If you’ve driven along I-25 into Albuquerque over the last week during the morning commute, you’ve probably noticed a box truck encouraging you to vote “Michelle Garcia Holmes for Mayor,” a retired Albuquerque Police detective.
Turns out, the box truck was parked illegally Thursday morning as it sat between the Montaño to southbound I-25 on-ramp and the interstate.
KRQE News 13 confirmed with Department of Transportation, whose jurisdiction that is, that it’s illegal to advertise or vend on the DOT’s right-of-way. That means campaigning is a no-no, too.
“It boils down to a safety issue,” Brennon Williams, the City of Albuquerque’s deputy planning director, said.
Williams, of course, works for the city – not DOT – but he helped explain why it’s against the law for the mobile billboard to be parked where it was. Quite often, issues just like this, campaigning-related or otherwise, happen on city territory. Usually, it’s signs placed where they’re not supposed to go — on utility poles, in medians, etc.
“Those limitations or regulations are really geared toward making sure people can see traffic, see oncoming traffic. You’re not blocking a sidewalk so someone has to step off the curb to get around a sign, things of that nature,” he said.
Williams also happened to see the box truck while on his way to work, and says he reacted to it first as a concerned citizen, then as a government employee who deals with this kind of thing.
“It’s just a dangerous location to begin with,” he said.
For those merging onto I-25 southbound from Montaño, the box truck made it difficult to see oncoming traffic. Williams said it was also distracting.
New Mexico State Police said the driver of the truck could be cited by an officer, but towing the vehicle, in this particular case, would be up to the DOT.
The truck was gone by 10 a.m. Thursday.
Garcia Holmes told KRQE News 13 that the truck has been driven by volunteers, and that she didn’t know where it was being parked. She said the volunteers are now aware that they cannot park the truck there, and apologized on their behalf.
Williams said every candidate for any election gets packet with the rules of campaigning, including where signs or other methods of campaigning – like a box truck – are and are not allowed.