ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Speeding drivers on Central Avenue may soon have to come to a screeching halt to let people safely cross one of the busiest stretches of the street.
Bernalillo County is in the process of study the feasibility of installing a HAWK signal with a crosswalk at the intersection of Central and Texas, east of Louisiana.
With more than 30,000 cars a day traveling through that stretch of Central, many on foot say the vehicular traffic in the area is “hectic.”
“With something like this, it’s just an accident waiting to happen,” said J.R. Hernandez, a nearby resident speaking of the intersection Tuesday.
The area has seen a significant increase in pedestrian foot traffic over the last decade with the growth of UNM’s southeast medical clinic and the addition of a senior living facility on the corner.
Historical images from Google’s Street View Cameras show multiple photos of people using walkers to cross the street’s six lanes of traffic.
“It’s always difficult and they have to hold-up traffic obviously because they’re seniors and it takes them awhile to get across,” said Hernandez.
Bernalillo County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins says the continued hazards for people crossing Central need to be addressed.
“What we want is something that pedestrians can activate when they need to cross the street,” said Hart Stebbins.
Using county bond funds, the county is looking into installing a HAWK signal at the intersection, which currently has no traffic control mechanism.
While the intersection is owned and controlled by the city, Hart Stebbins says she’s using county funds to invest in the project, as the county district she represents lies entirely within the city of Albuquerque.
“We all pay county tax, my constituents are county residents and so I feel it’s really appropriate for county dollars to fill some of these needs,” said Hart Stebbins.
Hart Stebbins says the need for safer routes across Central is a long time coming.
“I’ve been on the commission ten years now, and this was one of the first issues that the community brought to attention,” said Hart Stebbins.
She’s hoping the potential project can help make a difference.
“There are a lot of pedestrian vehicle accidents in the International District and a lot of fatalities and particular this intersection, something needs to be done,” said Hart Stebbins.
While funding exists for the potential HAWK signal, the project isn’t entirely a done deal yet. The county first has to finish a study of the intersection, then figure out a final design and cost.
A past HAWK signal project on Isleta Boulevard in the South Valley cost the county around $90,000.