ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Onboard surveillance video shows the moment a driver crashed into an Albuquerque Rapid Transit bus at one of the trickiest intersections that’s emerged from the ART project. The crash happened earlier this month at Central and Lomas, resulting in one person in an SUV being taken to the hospital.
Video shows a white SUV cut off an ART bus as both vehicles tried to continue eastbound on Central Avenue, past the intersection with San Pasquale. The ART bus ends up clipping the left side of the SUV, sending the SUV around the front of the bus with a torn back bumper.
The intersection of Central, Lomas and San Pasquale was revamped during ART construction. Eastbound Central Avenue drivers who want to continue along Central now have to take a deliberate right-turn at Central’s intersection with Lomas.
Since it was revamped more than two years ago, the intersection has been clearly marked with a “no turn on red” sign. In a video posted online in January, Mayor Tim Keller noted the intersection as, “definitely the craziest intersection based on the ART route,” urging drivers to “follow the signs” at the intersection.
The reason why eastbound Central Avenue traffic cannot turn right on red at the Lomas intersection is due to competing traffic from three different areas, all seeking to go through the same one-lane section of Central. With room for just one lane of eastbound traffic on Central, San Pasquale and Lomas, there is a possibility for a collision if two cars go at the same time.
That competing traffic includes drivers turning off of Lomas Boulevard who may get a green light for a controlled left turn on to eastbound Central. Northbound drivers on San Pasquale may also get a green light for controlled right-turn-only traffic, putting them on eastbound Central Avenue. There’s also possible competing traffic from ART buses as the buses depart the bus-only lane for the single, general traffic lane on eastbound Central.
Despite the warning sign posted for eastbound drivers, it’s clear that many either don’t see or choose to ignore the message. KRQE News 13 saw at least five drivers run the red right-turn light Monday morning. However, the intersection at Central and Lomas remains untouched from its final design for now.
A spokesman for the Albuquerque Transit Department said Monday afternoon the city’s Department of Municipal Development and City Councilor Isaac Benton is working on “improvements to the area.” However, those improvements are still in the “preliminary planning stages.”
“It’s just one of the many intersections that are always under evaluation,” said Rick DeReyes, a spokesman for Albuquerque’s Transit Department. “We are always, look at ways to better inform drivers about what the ART buses are.”
In the last six months, the city has added pin curbs along much of Central Avenue west of downtown to prevent drivers from making U-turns. The city also recently added large electronic “bus only” signs on Central between Rio Grande and 14th Street.
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