One of the city’s biggest, busiest and oldest intersections is now in for some major changes.
While the city hopes it can help drivers and pedestrians at Wyoming and Menaul boulevards in northeast Albuquerque, some neighbors worry the city’s plans will cause new problems.
Neighbors near the busy intersection know it as one of the city’s most unique.
“This is the only intersection in Albuquerque like this,” said nearby business owner Sein Bynum, speaking of the intersection of Wyoming and Menaul.
The more than 60-year old Hoffmantown Shopping Center sits at the corner of the intersection, along with a swooping curved road known as “Victor Circle.”
Some neighbors call Victor Circle a “relief road,” allowing eastbound Menaul drivers to make a “free right” turn on to southbound Wyoming without stopping.
But the city is now looking to close the cut-thorough Victor Circle street to allow changes at the intersection of Menaul and Wyoming.
“Adding a third lane for just about 36,000 cars that go through (Wyoming & Menaul) a day is very important for motorists,” said Johnny Chandler, public information officer for the city’s Department of Municipal Development.
Chandler is speaking of the project now under city engineering design that would add a third through-traffic lane for southbound Wyoming drivers. Today, southbound drivers in the far-right lane on Wyoming are forced to turn right because of traffic coming off of Victor Circle.
“That very small section of Wyoming is the only place where there’s only two lanes,” said Chandler.
The city is now drafting engineering plans to close Victor Circle to traffic. With that road closed, the city would be able to open the third traffic lane up on southbound Wyoming, south of Menaul.
“(Wyoming) is also a main feeder for workers going into Kirtland Air Force Base going to and from everyday,” said Chandler.
Not everyone likes the idea though.
“We feel this intersection is functioning,” said Evelyn Feltner, president of the Inez Neighborhood Association.
Feltner says she’s against closing the “Victor Circle” road from Menaul to Wyoming. She believes closing that road will harm business access into the Hoffmantown Shopping Center.
“There would be less access in, and by the way, it would be harder to get out,” said Feltner. “Admittedly, neighborhoods would not die without Victor Circle. Would Hoffmantown Shopping Center? It might.”
Felter also questions why the city is working on a plan for the road’s closure.
“We feel Victor Circle is functioning as designed,” said Feltner. “I feel that the government is not understanding who’s effected here.”
The city says closing Victor Circle will make the road safer for drivers and pedestrians. Today, pedestrians who are walking eastbound on Menaul must cross the entryway to Victor Circle, before crossing Wyoming. The “free right” turn on to Victor Circle doesn’t have a crosswalk or a controlled stop for traffic.
At least one nearby business owner at Hoffmantown, Sein Bynum of Etten Games and Hobbies says he’s not worried about the city’s proposed changes.
“Folks are going to find our place one way or the other,” said Bynum. “There’s the huge Hoffmantown sign, you can’t really miss it, so I’m not too terribly concerned with it.”
Another part of the project would also replace the “span wire” that the intersection’s traffic signals are hanging on. The signals would be remounted on steel mast arms seen at nearly every other city intersection.
The city will hold a public meeting on the project on April 25, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Mesa Verde Community Center, located at 7900 Marquette NE.