The future of Lead and Coal avenues in and out of downtown Albuquerque could soon bring two-way traffic to the one-way stretches.
The city says it’s now formally studying the idea of reinstating two-way traffic on Lead and Coal between I-25 and the First Street bridge over the railroad tracks.
While most drivers use the Lead/Coal stretch as the quick way between the downtown core and the freeway, many neighbors have long felt that drivers go too fast on the stretch.
“The speed that people come down on this street is incredible,” said Dennis Maietta, who’s lived in the Huning Highlands neighborhood for 35 years. “We’ve had multiple accidents (that were) very serious.”
Neighbors have long asked for the city to address speeding problems on Lead and Coal. In 2016, Councilor Isaac Benton first proposed the idea of adding a traffic signal where Lead and Coal intersect Walter, to slow traffic to the post 30 mph speed limit.
While the traffic signal has not been installed, the city is now studying the idea of converting all traffic in the east downtown portion of Lead and Coal to two-way traffic.
“I’m very excited that they’re investigating this again,” said Maietta.
The potential project is currently listed on the city of Albuquerque’s Municipal Development Project Map website.
As outlined, the city is studying the idea to make lead and coal open for two-way traffic between the First Street bridge and I-25.
“Those streets (Lead and Coal) were constructed to really create sort of a freeway into and out of downtown, and this is in a different era,” said Albuquerque City Councilor Isaac Benton of the roadway.
As KRQE News 13 has learned, the “two-way” traffic option could be a possible alternative to the proposed new traffic signal at Lead/Coal and Walter.
“I support the study, let me put it that way, and if proves to have merit, then I would support the project,” said Benton.
Neighbors like Maietta say they support the study.
“It makes me feel very good because again, they did that downtown already,” said Maietta. “I think it works.”
Under the city’s current outline, if this project gets a green-light, drivers could see a change as early as May 2019, but the city still says the project is in the “study” phase with no guarantees that it will happen.