ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Parents are up in arms and worried about their children’s safety going to and from school. This comes after a city project on a road between two busy schools, that parents say turned the traffic problem there from bad to worse.
Traffic along Barstow just south of Alameda is causing quite a bit of a headache.
“Cars are just completely backed up here,” parent Kelly Harrell said. “We have students and cars all coming out. Everyone is trying to get to this narrow, single lane.”
Parents believe it’s due to the city re-configuring a bike lane and adding a buffer area right before school started, which eliminated the right turn lane into Desert Ridge Middle School.
“The parents don’t have any idea of what to do,” Harrell said.
Right now, there are no roadway symbols for the bike lane. KRQE News 13 spotted drivers swerving into the lane and even parking in it Wednesday morning during drop-off.
Parents like Harrell said they are confused as to why the city took out the turn lane when she says what they really need, are more crosswalks.
“My biggest concern is about children that could get hit right here crossing the Greenarbor entrance to the school,” Harrell said.
There is one crosswalk in front of the school, but parents want to see more. They say the existing crosswalk is out of the way and inconvenient for students.
Right now, students are darting in and out of traffic to get to and from Desert Ridge and La Cueva High School, which are a block apart.
“I saw a few kids got hit,” former student Catherine Nevera said. “I almost got hit. There are a lot of instances where that happened. The fact that the problem is still going on even though I haven’t been inside Desert Ridge since 2009 is saying a lot.”
The city told KRQE News 13 if parents want more crosswalks, they need to contact their city councilor to get a study done. As for the re-arranged bike lane and buffer zone, the city said it is permanent and was done to comply with the city’s Complete Streets Ordinance.
“This is a recipe for disaster, a recipe for increased traffic and more frustrations and more risks to the kids here,” Harrell said.
Parents said they would also like to see more signage in the area. Albuquerque Public Schools that Desert Ridge is working with Albuquerque police and the city to address traffic concerns.
The city said it will add street markings in the next two weeks. It is also working to install a flashing beacon at the existing crosswalk in front of the middle school.