ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque has been trying to slow down drivers along Lead Ave. and Coal Ave. for years. Now, they have a new idea a first-of-its-kind “smart” stoplight. City Councilor Pat Davis said the Lead Ave. and Coal Ave. corridor sees far too many crashes that could’ve been prevented if people were driving the speed limit.

Story continues below

Davis is optimistic these new smart lights will work. “It would be a first for New Mexico,” said Davis. “It’s called “Rest on Red.” So instead of the light being green when you’re approaching the light is red on every approach. If you’re going the speed limit or under it turns green and lets you go. If you’re speeding you stop.”   

After three years, the city has finally finished its feasibility report for implementing those “Rest on Red” traffic lights. The 55-page report shows that there have been dozens of crashes along Lead Ave. and Coal Ave. corridor over the past five years and that drivers are taking advantage of the corridor’s two lanes and straightaways to speed.

The city implemented timed traffic lights a few years ago to coincide with the 30 miles an hour speed limit throughout the corridor. Davis believes that’s just encouraging some drivers to speed even more to beat the light. Davis said the “Rest on Red” traffic lights will essentially force people to drive the speed limit.

Neighbors want a change to be made but said they don’t know if the new lights will be effective. “I would support it simply because it’s an easy thing to do and it’s definitely going to have some impact but I think further action definitely needs to be taken,” said Weston Harby. 

“It was bad before, it’s worse now and this is Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was born here,” said Paul Cohen. “If people want to race up and down these streets, they’re going to race up and down these streets.”     

Davis said he secured $300,000 for the project from state and city funds. That will allow them to install the lights in six intersections along Lead Ave. and Coal Ave. corridor. Daivs says they hope to get the lights up and running in the next couple of months.