ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city of Albuquerque is looking at ways to help ease traffic in an area booming with new housing developments and with streets already congested with commuters traveling to Sandia National Labs and Kirtland Air Force Base.
The goal of the Juan Tabo Boulevard Connectivity Study is to find a more direct east-to-west connection between the Juan Tabo Hills Neighborhood and Eubank. People say speeders are cutting through the neighborhoods and they worry the problem will get worse as the area grows.
“I think it’s just important that the whole neighborhood is filled with families and young children and people out walking their dogs and there really needs to be something done to help reduce the speeding and the amount of traffic that goes through,” Andrea Wilkes of Volterra Village explained.
There are no major streets connecting Juan Tabo and Eubank south of Southern. Many employees of Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Labs and others live in this corridor and need access to the Eubank gate.
The area south of the Tijeras Arroyo bridge sees just about 12,000 vehicles a day, according to city records. That number jumps slightly to more than 13,000 north of the bridge.
MRCOG crash data over a five-year period shows nearly 300 crashes in the area. The connectivity study finds that the problems will likely get worse when more homes are built in the Juan Tabo Hills West development, plus the expansion of the National Nuclear Safety Administration facility.
The study found potential alternatives involving various roadway connections. One would run along the base. Others connect Juan Tabo to Innovation Parkway, and another connects Juan Tabo to Gibson. “There just really needs to be another way out of and into our neighborhood and to deal with all that traffic,” Wilkes added.
City Councilor Don Harris said a big help on the way to alleviate traffic problems in his district is that the city council recently approved blocking off the street at the Juan Tabo entrance to the Willow Wood neighborhood, just north of Gibson. He said that will help cut down on the traffic going to the base.
The mayor’s office provided the following emailed statement: “The recently completed study and resolution introduced to the City Council shows a need for traffic relief for the people who live in and near these communities. This project is in the very early stages and we will work closely with community members to ensure the project serves our community’s needs.”
City council is set to vote on whether to adopt the study on April 5. The project would still need a funding source.