Tips for getting to Balloon Fiesta Park

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Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

There is no way around it.

Traffic to the massive climbs and balloon glows of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta can be a nightmare. And this year’s 50th balloon party could bring in even more visitors.

Balloon Fiesta officials cite a number of construction projects and changes aimed at speeding up arrivals and departures from Balloon Fiesta Park during this year’s event, which runs from October 1-9.

And they offer the following tips: use park-and-ride buses, ride a bike, or consider ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. Otherwise, leave early – very early if you plan to drive yourself.

Here are some of the changes you will see this year:

• More park-and-ride buses. More than 200 buses will be on hand to provide service in two waves, providing approximately 9,500 bus seats per session.

Buses will be available from Hoffmantown Church and Coronado Center on the east side, and Cottonwood Mall on the west side. Buses will leave for the park between 4:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. Round trips will be possible from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. For evening events, buses will depart from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at 9:30 p.m.

Remember to buy your tickets online and in advance, they will not be sold at boarding stations. Tickets purchased online and before midnight for morning sessions, or before noon for afternoon and evening sessions, are $22 for adults; $20 for people aged 62 and over; $10 for children 6 to 12 years old; and are free for children 5 and under. Same-day tickets will cost a little more, if available. The price of a ticket includes entry to the Balloon Fiesta Park.

• A new park-and-ride depot has been added near the south entrance to the park, which will serve buses coming from Cottonwood Mall on the west side. The more energetic and keen to cycle can take advantage of the fiesta’s free and secure valet parking service, which has been expanded this year to accommodate up to 1,000 bikes, including a section for e-bikes.

• Ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft will have a drop-off/pick-up point at Alameda and Horizon, just west of Balloon Museum Drive, where a new traffic light has been installed. Fiesta courtesy shuttles will be available to transport passengers between the carpool location and the entrance gates.

• For those who prefer to drive and park, a parking fee of $20, cash only, will be collected. But instead of attendants taking the cash as cars meander through the park on feeder roads, slowing and slowing traffic, parking fees will be collected by attendants in the respective lots.

• A common situation faced by those driving to the park, especially when it is dark outside, is losing track of where they parked when leaving. Parking lots are now designated with signs containing the names and color-coded images of Looney Tunes characters, including Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny, Road Runner or Wile E. Coyote. Once inside the park, signs at entry and exit points will display quick response, or “QR,” codes that visitors can download to receive walking instructions to the lot where they parked. .

• Traffic exiting Balloon Fiesta Park via Balloon Fiesta Parkway at the north end of the launch field will now find a more efficient route on southbound I-25 via the construction of a permanent ramp in Pasadena NE. Previously, police diverted drivers to head north on the southbound frontage road, where they would exit at Tramway and turn around to get onto I-25 south.

• There will be better access to a city-owned parking lot at the north end of Balloon Fiesta Park and adjacent to Sandia Pueblo, through a new road from the Balloon Fiesta Parkway. The land can accommodate approximately 500 vehicles. Fiesta Courtesy Shuttles will assist those who need assistance in traveling the distance between the field and the park.

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