ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A new program from the city of Albuquerque could give residential neighborhoods a lot more authority in how to get drivers to slow down.
The idea is to let neighbors pick from a huge variety kind of traffic calming projects that they want to see on their streets.
For about the last 15 year, the city has given neighborhoods just one option if they wanted to slow traffic down near their homes. However, under the new program called “STEP” or Streets and Traffic Enhancement Program, neighbors could choose from more than 40 different options of traffic calming projects.
“The issue is a speed hump is not the solution for all types of traffic issues, and unfortunately it’s been applied to some of those,” said Michael Riordan, director of Albuquerque's Municipal Development Department.
If city council passes the plan, neighbors would be able to choose from a select list of traffic calming projects.
"The neighborhoods are really the ones that live adjacent to their streets and really need to be the voice if what happens on their street,” said Riordan.
More than 40 ideas are on the list, most of which the city has tried in successful pilot projects in certain neighborhoods but hasn’t tried city-wide.
“We've never had a criteria base on how we can apply them,” said Riordan.
The projects including things like sidewalk bulb-outs, which narrow intersections and roads, and chicanes like newly installed ones on Miami Road NW which forced drivers to slow down through a zigzagged street.
While it could bring a lot of different obstacles citywide, the city says drivers shouldn't worry about neighbors getting total control.
“We'll go out and study that with a traffic study first and then commit as to whether there's a true issue or not,” said Riordan.
The city will ultimately have to approve what will happen in each neighborhood.
“It opens up our responsiveness," Riordan continued. "We aren't just going to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a speed hump. We're going to be able to say, 'Well, that doesn't work, but here are a couple things that do,'” said Riordan.
The new plan also requires the majority of neighborhood associations to be on board with the project for the city to begin investigating the idea. Under the old traffic calming requests, anyone could call the city's 311 information line or a city councilor to personally vouch for speed humps.
City councilors will consider the STEP program at their Sept. 19 meeting. If it passes, the city says the earliest it could start the project is around January.
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