City seeks input for changes along Central

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The city wants to revamp a busy, congested intersection and it’s looking for input. It’s put up signs and a new website to show drivers the plan, plans that aren’t sitting well with some.

“It’s a traffic pile up morning, noon and night,” Cliff McIntyre said.

The woes of West Central.

“If we can kind of eliminate that congestion, it’ll make a significant difference,” Margarita Sanchez said.

Drivers are hoping that can soon happen.

It’s something City Councilor Isaac Benton has been trying to do for the last 8 years.

“I think it’s upwards of 18,000 cars a day through that whole facility there,” Benton said.

He’s talking about Central from Rio Grande east to Lomas, San Pasquale.

“It’s not particularly pedestrian friendly,” Benton said. “It’s not particularly safe.”

If you’ve been in the area, you may have seen a sign the city put it up last week, directing you to check out the West Central Project website.

“Everyone agrees that it’s a critical area,” Benton said. “The question is what are the answers and there are no easy answers.”

That’s the issue now, finding something everyone agrees on.

On the website, you’ll also notice a couple of sketches showing possible changes. At Central and Rio Grande, there would be a small island in the middle and drivers would have to turn on Central from Rio Grande, as they couldn’t go all the way through.

And just up the ways at Central and Lomas, the design would take away the medians and planters in the roadway opening it up a little more.

“None of its planned to get underway any minute now,” Benton said.

That plan doesn’t sit very well with one local business owner.

“I’m not sure it’s going to accomplish anything but make it hard on business in the area,” Bee Healthy owner Eileen Mitchell said.

But Benton stresses these are just ideas and they want to hear from the public before a plan is in place.

“My hope is that we’ll come up with a final configuration within the next year,” he said.

Another big problem in the area is where Lomas meets Central. Benton says they’re looking to relieve the congestion here because drivers and buses often get backed up during peak driving hours.

Benton says the city does have some federal money to use in the planning stages.

They’re looking for input from not just drivers, but bikers and walkers as well.

You can view the sketches and give your comments to the city at West Central Project website.

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