RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – A Rio Rancho neighborhood is angry and confused. The city reportedly got rid of multiple crosswalks in their area, which could make it dangerous for kids to get to and from school.
“There’s no crosswalk there anymore,” said one protestor at Saturday’s Loma Colorado neighborhood protest.
Another young student mentioned, “How am I supposed to get to school?”
For years, the Homeowner’s Association (HOA) asked the City of Rio Rancho to add stop signs or flashing lights along Terraza Boulevard. According to neighbors, there have been a lot of crashes in the area caused by speeders that make turns too fast. The HOA said the city promised to improve the crosswalks by conducting a traffic study to find a solution.
“Recently the city did a study and said that we don’t have enough traffic across Terraza to warrant a crosswalk, and instead of helping us out to draw drivers’ attention, they came and removed our crosswalks and all the signs yesterday,” said Jonathan Thorpe, a homeowner.
According to the traffic study, the area only needs 4 of the 11 crosswalks installed by developers. Most of the crosswalks are ADA accessible.
“Does it really hurt the city somehow to have multiple crosswalks on a main road? No, it doesn’t,” said one resident, Dwayne Porter.
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Now, kids and other pedestrians have to walk a mile away to another crosswalk down the road.
“They’re still going to dart across this road without warning signs, without flashers, and someone is going to get hit,” said Thorpe.
The traffic study was conducted in May, before the school year. Now, concerned residents said it may not have been the most accurate because it failed to show how many people use the crosswalks when school is in session.
According to the city’s website, if there are 10 students using the crosswalk for 1 hour a day, a crosswalk is needed. Neighbors stated Rio Rancho Public Schools put all of the bus stops along Terraza Blvd. The same road where many crosswalks have now been removed.
“It’s dangerous for the kids who get off the bus to be walking home because there’s no crosswalk, and cars just start coming down when the kids are trying to get back home,” said Saylor, a young student.
In the letter sent to the HOA in August, the city mentioned there will be another study next year on the 4 remaining crosswalks to see if those are needed or if enhancements should be added. The city was out again on Saturday repainting some crosswalks, but neighbors said it wasn’t any of the ones that school buses use.