ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An ART bus lane by UNM at Central and Columbia has several people jaywalking nonstop. On Wednesday, a pedestrian was hit after not looking both ways. Several people who walk the area say they don’t realize the buses travel both east and westbound on the same lane from each direction. In a one-hour period, more than 10 people were recorded avoiding the nearby crosswalks and crossing the art lane illegally. Many of them were UNM students. “It makes crossing the street a little more dangerous, you know,” said one UNM student.
Some pedestrians who frequent the area say they follow the rules of the road and walk a few feet towards the nearby crosswalks. “I didn’t know that it was an issue, I thought people just jaywalk, I mean I personally don’t but I guess it’s kind of normal here but it’s not a good idea.”
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Other pedestrians say they’d rather avoid the crosswalks altogether out of “convenience.” “It’s just convenient. I guess it is pretty quick compared to the crosswalk. Sometimes the crosswalk takes two to three minutes and people are on tight schedules, you know.”
Those who risk crossing illegally could do so with some serious consequences. A little over two years ago a pedestrian was hit just down the road from Wednesday’s crash near Yale and Central, crossing the ART lane where a median was present and the bus headed in the opposite direction of traffic. “It’s weird, especially with driving too, it is weird that the bus is right next to you and it goes pretty fast so yeah it is a bit confusing.”
Some pedestrians say with several businesses along the Central corridor they hope the city does more to make the area safer for both pedestrians and drivers. “That might be a good idea to put a light here but I mean, I usually just use the crosswalk. I would say yeah like maybe right there between Freddy’s and Chipotle I think that would be like an optimal place.”
A spokesperson for the city’s Transit Department says safety is a priority and they encourage people to follow the rules of the road, including using crosswalks, signals, and signs posted in and around ART bus lanes.
The person struck Monday is expected to recover from their injuries. Almost three years ago, the Albuquerque Police Department cited jaywalkers in the UNM area crossing illegally. News13 asked them if they are considering doing it again. A spokesperson for the police department says they encourage people to use crosswalks.