Parents at Helen Cordero Elementary concerned about drivers at pickup area

Traffic and Roads

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Parents are battling it out in the school pick-up line. While that may not be surprising, the problem is especially bad at one Albuquerque elementary school and they blame the way the street is set up. People are making illegal left-hand turns in and out of Helen Cordero Elementary blocking traffic and even causing other cars to drive on the wrong side of the road to get through. 

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One parent is so frustrated with the situation, he started getting video of it. “It’s come to the point where I’ve seen parents argue and fight over this, I’ve seen kids crossing the street where they’ve almost been hit, I’ve seen almost head-on collisions with this,” he says. “I really feel it’s something we need to do as a safety protocol, make sure that our kids have a safe place to go to school.”

There’s one right-hand turn that goes into the school to pick up kids from the line but people are cutting in front of that line to make illegal left-hand turns. There are signs but parents ignore them frustrated with the long lines and how hard it is to get in and out.

A parent says he’s called the city and Albuquerque Public Schools over and over. He recently went to the city’s Neighborhood Traffic Management Program and in an email, he was told they have not had the chance to schedule a field visit in response to these concerns. 

However, APS parents say this is something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. “Putting a crossing guard here because this is a very popular place to cross and there is no guard, as well as putting barriers up you know cones in the middle of the street just to keep them from turning left or maybe just making that no left hand sign a little bit bigger,” said one parent.

A spokesperson with the Department of Municipal Development says this is a traffic enforcement issue. APS officials say there’s increased traffic because more parents are dropping off their kids due to COVID-19 or the bus driver shortage.  

Additionally, the spokesperson says because of staffing shortages APS employees are dedicated to classroom learning and not traffic patterns. Instead, officials with the school district are asking people picking up and dropping off students to pay closer attention to the signage and follow all traffic laws. 

The Department of Municipal Development says this is on their radar so they are encouraging concerned parents to make calls to 311 and their city councilor so that requests can be made to make improvements. The more requests, the more pressure there is to get something done.

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