Plans to change traffic flow in downtown Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – One traffic study after the other, and people living in downtown Albuquerque are wondering when they’ll actually see change. Residents are worried about intersections, they say, are not safe for pedestrians.

City Councilor Isaac Benton started looking at downtown traffic two years ago, hiring out-of-state Urban Designer Jeff Speck. The recommendation: Instead of traffic signals, use all-way stops.

“Because there’s a stop in all directions, inherently it’s better for pedestrians,” Councilor Benton said.

He believes that will then encourage more people to walk downtown.Read the report here>>

However, Benton said Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development (DMD) called for a study to take a closer look at the recommendations from the first one that Speck did.

“So, that took a year,” Benton said.

Now that report is out, and downtown residents are underwhelmed.

“Very disappointed,” Ron Casias said.

Neighbors like Casias have been fighting to slow traffic on Second and Silver for people trying to cross the street, especially with the Silver Street Market opening next month.

“The city needs to do it. Forward thinking,” Casias said.

However, the latest report recommended to wait until after the market opens before doing another traffic study.

“Yeah, I don’t support continuing to study,” Benton said.

Councilor Benton said he is talking with DMD about just putting up stop signs to make it an all-way stop in the next month or two.

For the other studied intersections that already have traffic signals, he wants to switch them to flashing red lights to test the theory that it will attract pedestrians and improve downtown. That, he pointed out, would cost very little to test because the systems are already in place to do it.

A DMD spokesperson said the latest study cost about $16,500.

It was paid for using bond money, which was set aside to fund downtown walkability and improvements.

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