City to narrow driving lanes, add bike lanes on downtown Lead & Coal stretch

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city has different plan for how it will restripe two major roads in and out of downtown that could ultimately help slow down drivers.

The city recently finished repaving Lead and Coal Avenues between Second and Eighth Streets downtown. Soon, crews will add bikes lanes and extra parking spaces.

The new plans also calls for the city to noticeably narrow the driving lanes on Lead and Coal.

“When you have a wide-open area, motorists have a tenancy to go faster,” said Johnny Chandler, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Municipal Development.

While Lead and Coal are part of the city’s 20-mph “Downtown Safety Zone,” it’s uncommon to find most drivers following by the speed limit. The city says the driving lanes have been wide on Lead and Coal for many years, which may contribute to the speed.

“We have very wide lanes on these roads, from when they were originally designed, we’re redesigning them under the Complete Streets Ordinance to go ahead and accommodate multi-modal transportation,” said Chandler.

Under the new restriping plan for Lead and Coal, the city will add a westbound bike lane on Lead Avenue, and an eastbound bike lane on Coal Avenue. Those new bike lanes will also have a striped-off, separated space between cars and bicyclists.

“We’re going to have a five-foot bicycle lane and a three-foot buffer lane between the vehicle traffic to kind of give those bicyclists a little more comfort while they’re riding,” said Chander.

The city will also add new parking spaces on Coal Avenue and eliminate left-turn lanes at the intersections of Third and Fourth Streets.

Along with bike lanes and new parking spaces, drivers will notice the through-traffic lanes will be narrowed from 14-feet wide to about 10.5-feet wide.

“It will feel like a narrower lane, but it was a legal-sized lane and you will have no problem maneuvering that,” said Chandler.

The city’s hoping narrow lanes will slow drivers down as they’ll be riding far closer to the lines.

“There’s a lot of people and we want to make sure that everybody’s safe, regardless of the form of transportation that they’re using,” said Chandler.

The executive director of the Christina Kent Early Childhood Center on Coal, Allison Hendricks-Smith says she welcomes the changes.

“Just the effect that it would slow people down, you know, super important along with the additional parking, again, we’re really grateful,” said Hendricks-Smith.

Crews are expected to complete the striping in the coming weeks.

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