Downtown neighborhood pushing for traffic light to curb speeding

Traffic and Roads

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Neighbors in a historic Albuquerque district say they’ve had enough of speeders. Now, they’re hoping to get traffic signals to slow people down.

Lead and Coal run through the Huning Highland neighborhood between I-25 and Broadway. Even though it’s only 30 miles per hour through there, most drivers seem to blow that, causing crashes and putting pedestrians at risk.

Evenings in the Huning Highland community garden are peaceful for Bonnie Anderson. That is until speeding cars race through the quiet downtown neighborhood.

“Because of the design of the road, people drive so dang fast,” said Anderson, who serves as president of the Huning Highland Historic District Association and has lived in the community for years. “It’s just how the road was built. So far, we’ve had it narrowed from three lanes to two lanes, we’ve added some bump-outs, a parking lane, some landscaping.”

However, nothing seems to stop people from flying through. With speed bumps not an option because of city zoning rules, neighbors want to see the next best solution: a stoplight at Walter on both streets, which is about halfway between the freeway and Broadway.

“This is a request from the neighborhood to try to slow down the traffic,” said Councilor Isaac Benton, who serves District 2 of the City of Albuquerque, which includes Huning Highland. “Basically, with these two signals in place, they can time the signalization that encourages the 30 mile an hour speed uphill from here.”

The city agreed with the solution and approved it for the budget. But years later, nothing has happened just yet.

“It’s taken a lot longer than I would have hoped,” said Benton. “We funded this, I think it was completely funded a couple years ago, the design has been funded for a long time.”

Now, after years of waiting, it appears the signals at Walter are finally happening. Residents like Anderson say they couldn’t be more relieved.

“We’re happy that it finally looks like they’ll be constructed and it’ll be installed,” said Anderson. “We hope that it’ll have the intended effect which is to slow traffic and interrupt it at a certain point.”

Neighbors also hope the signals will make it safer for pedestrians in the area. Though there is a marked crosswalk at Edith, residents say drivers never stop and make it dangerous to cross.

“We struggle with drivers who don’t respect crosswalks, even if they’re marked,” said Anderson. “For pedestrians who either have small children or they’re elderly and have some mobility issues or they’re in wheelchairs, for them, it’s really, really critical that they have a safe place to cross and we feel that Walter would be a safe place to cross with the light.”

As for the timeline, Anderson says the neighborhood association was given notice that the signals should be up by this winter. Councilor Benton says the cost for the two signals and marked crosswalks will be around $700,000.

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