Reversible driving lane suggested for slim stretch of Paseo del Norte


A city councilor is suggesting a new traffic flow idea to help alleviate rush hour congestion on a narrow stretch of a busy east-west route.

Albuquerque Councilor Cynthia Borrego says she’s asked Mayor Tim Keller’s administration look at what it would take to build a “reversible traffic lane” for west side commuters on Paseo del Norte, west of Kimmick.

The technique has been tried for years in larger cities like San Francisco and Boston, where crews will take a traffic lane and shift it from one direction to another to help morning or evening commutes.

A new city councilor representing district five, Borrego says she’s interested in seeing one on the narrow two-lane stretch of Paseo, west of Kimmick out toward Ventana Ranch.

“The traffic has increased substantially,” said Borrego, of the area. “We have Ventana Ranch, we have Volcano Vista High School now, the increase is just phenomenal.”

West of Eagle Ranch Road, developers have continued to build more homes in the district, putting more cars on Paseo del Norte. Meanwhile, the city controlled portion of Paseo has remained one lane in each direction from Kimmick out further west to Universe Street and beyond.

Borrego wants that addressed, saying she’s seeing more congestion in the area.

“Let’s maybe look at some low hanging fruit, possibly reversible lane on Paseo,” said Borrego.

The councilor is now asking the city to look at turning the dirt median on Paseo into a driving lane. The median begins just west of Kimmick and continues for than a mile and a half.

On Paseo, a suggested reversible driving lane could mean an extra lane of traffic eastbound for morning drivers, then shifting that lane to westbound traffic for use in the evening rush hour commute.

Borrego says the city is now “exploring” her idea, after a recent conversation she had with Mayor Keller.

“Lot of people spending hours at a time in traffic when they could be spending time with their families,” said Borrego.

Some drivers had mixed feelings on the idea.

“That’s a good idea, however, it really does need the four lanes,” said Kathy, who drives between Kimmick and Universe Street each day.

“I don’t like that idea, it’s too confusing!” said Marilyn Baca, who also lives on the west side.

“That’s great because it’s already there, you don’t have to spend money or the time constructing it,” said Ramon, who frequently visits his family on the west side.

The city still needs to study the idea, so they’re not sure if it’s feasible or how much a reversible driving lane could cost yet. Borrego says a reversible lane would likely be millions of dollars cheaper than adding new ones, though.

Borrego says she’s hoping to hear if the idea is feasible by fall 2018. She’s also asking the city about the idea of revamping the Paseo and Eagle Ranch intersection.

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