ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The busiest courthouse in the state thinks it has the solution to traffic problems right outside its doors.
Metro Court officials put a sign on Slate Avenue north of the courthouse, telling drivers not to turn right from Fifth Street but now they want a more permanent solution to stop the congestion.
Metro Court Executive Officer Robert Padilla said there is often backup on surrounding streets in downtown, in part, because of the visitors to the three courthouses. Metro Court alone sees as many as 3,500 visitors per day.
“It is a high traffic area. A lot of people come down these streets to go to the courthouses. A lot of people use Fifth street to access the freeway,” the owner of nearby Slate Street Cafe, Myra Ghattas, said.
Additionally, finding the parking garage can get confusing for visitors.
“When individuals come and they get confused on where to park, they go to employee parking instead of public parking and it causes a backup and it’s a delay of 10 to 15 minutes every morning,” Padilla said.
Court officials have a plan to help ease that congestion impacting their judges and other staff, proposing a redesign of the north side entrance on Slate between Fourth and Fifth Street.
“What we’re looking at is closing off Slate Street and just making it a bit more secure, as well,” Padilla explained, “We do have a problem with pedestrians sometimes.”
He met with a city planning committee this week to address acquiring the street owned by the city. It’s a plan raising questions for a nearby business.
“I certainly would ask the questions and wonder about what type of barrier would be put up, if it’s aesthetically nice and if it’s going to cause any type of increased traffic,” Ghattas added.
Courthouse officials need to address questions about who has access to drainage and water lines before going back to the city’s Development Review Board in the coming weeks.
If they can acquire the land and the redesign gets approved, they hope to start construction in July with state money.
Metro court also bought all the property along that stretch of Slate that they’d like to close off. No word yet what the court wants to build there.
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