ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A road known for pedestrian crashes could be made safer.
A new road safety assessment for a stretch of Louisiana Boulevard shows how the city is working to cut down on potentially fatal accidents.
“We want to cut down on fatalities for all people: driving, walking, biking,” Vision Zero Coordinator Terra Reed stated. “This community has not seen a lot of investment in infrastructure and improvements to the roadways.”
It’s a big task the city of Albuquerque and local groups are tackling on Louisiana Blvd., in the International District – an area with heavy traffic flow to Kirtland Air Force Base, nearby schools, and where speeding and devastating crashes are all too common.
“This is Isaiah, who lost his life here on Louisiana,” said Bernadette Hardy with the International District Healthy Communities Coalition, as she pointed to a button with a picture of 8-year-old Isaiah Harper. “A little boy who got hit by two cars here, crossing the street to go to the store.”
Officials are reporting 52 pedestrian crashes over a four-year period along the corridor, stretching from Gibson by the base, to Lomas. Three of those incidents turned deadly, and officials say the intersections with the highest frequency of crashes happened at Kathryn, Southern, Trumbell, Bell, and Central.
It’s one major reason for a new Pedestrian Road Safety Assessment Report, identifying areas to make safer.
“We’re looking at some changes we might make to the signals in the next even couple of months, so adding some time for people to cross the street more safely,” Reed said.
“We wanted a speed table somewhere to slow down the traffic. We do want more bike lanes, larger sidewalks,” Hardy added.
It’s recommending a complete roadway redesign – called a road diet, still years away – that would reduce it from five to four lanes, and with better lighting.
“Doing things like expanding the sidewalks and reconstructing the street, that’s kind of more on that maybe five to eight-year timeline in terms of identifying funding,” Reed explained.
This is one of the first big projects under the city’s Vision Zero plan. The city still needs to find the funding for it.