ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a project the city’s been pushing for years – getting drivers to slow down along the Lead and Coal corridors. Now, the newly-installed traffic signals at Walter along Lead and Coal just west of I-25 are finally up and running.
A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Municipal Development says the smart traffic signals are just one piece of the puzzle in getting drivers to slow down. “Signals should be able to provide more traffic calming for the area and overall, make the Lead and Coal corridor safe right there around the intersection of I-25,” said Department of Municipal Development spokesperson Scott Cilke.
With both the Lead and Coal corridors set at a 30-mile-per-hour speed limit, some drivers going through there Monday morning were still blowing past it. People who live nearby say it’s nothing new. “I live right here. So, I hear people racing down the street all the time, there’s [sic] accidents all the time,” said one resident.
However, the department says the new traffic signals could soon start making a difference, especially when the city activates its smart technology called “Rest on Red.” It forces speeding drivers to either slow down or come to a complete stop. “As the vehicle approaches the signal, the signal is able to detect the vehicle and detect the speed that they are going at a safe distance to where the signal will be able to present them with a green light or stay red so that they are forced to stop,” said Cilke.
Cilke says the technology is not turned on just yet but when it is, it will detect if the driver is going just one mile over the limit, triggering the sensor from a safe enough distance to get drivers to stop on red. People who live near the busy corridor say it remains to be seen whether the traffic lights improve pedestrian safety. “I’ve seen people run the lights already because they are not used to them. So, I am still going to follow the same rules for myself of just making sure that everything is clear even though it says green,” says a resident.
Along with the signals at Walter, Cilke says the city is considering the rest-on-red technology at other traffic signals along Lead and Coal, the city says they are still determining which intersections will use the technology. The city expects the rest-on-red signals to be activated this spring.