Residents upset over stop sign removal

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A Duke City neighborhood is not happy with the city for taking away some of its stop signs.

Neighbors say it’s an accident waiting to happen in an area close to an elementary school.

Cory Lee, a father of three, looks on at the mess of signs in front of his home in Ventana Ranch.

“That’s my biggest issue is safety,” Lee said.

Lee and other neighbors say the intersection at Universe and Ventana Road is where the city made a mistake.

“It limits sections of the road so people will be aware of pedestrians and things like that,” Lee said of the intersection before changes were made. Now, Lee says that isn’t the case.

What used to be a four- way stop is now just a two-way stop. Drivers on Universe can now go right on through.

Some are taking advantage of that.

“You’d hear people drag race down that area,” Lee said.

Others are doing the opposite, slowing down like they used to.

“People that are so used to it, don’t read the signs off the road,” one driver said.

We talked to one woman behind the wheel who says since the switch, she’s seen some close calls.

“So they almost collided and I thought, ‘Oh, accident waiting to happen,’ ” the driver said. “This isn’t the first time I’ve seen it since they have changed the stop signs.”

It has parents over at nearby Ventana Ranch Elementary a little nervous, too.

“There are a lot of kids that do walk,” Melanie Jimenez said. “There’s an apartments there where kids are walking.”

So why is the city making the change?

“Changes in traffic occur frequently out there,” said Michael Riordan with Municipal Development.

A new traffic light at Universe near Ventana Ranch Park is a big reason, too.

“Within the city of Albuquerque, you always have to balance progression, the traffic moving through, safety and access to neighborhoods,” Riordan said.

The city says the change is working, but they’ll continue to keep an eye on it, saying they have been hearing from people who are less than happy.

“We understand the concerns from the neighborhood so we’ll continue to evaluate it,” Riordan said.

The Ventana Ranch Neighborhood Association is asking their city councilor, Dan Lewis, to do something. Reached by phone, Lewis says he was concerned at how quickly the city removed the stop signs, not giving much warning to residents.

The city says they have talked to him about the issue.

Just north of that controversial intersection, there are plans to put in a traffic light. That’s at would be at Universe and Irving.