ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque’s Nob Hill is known for being bike and pedestrian friendly, but some neighbors feel the city is ignoring one particular area that needs help. Recently, they took matters into their own hands, taking a brazen, highly visible step to point it out.
It all has to do with a crosswalk that the city erased years ago at the intersection of Carlisle Boulevard and Silver Avenue SE. A lot of neighbors want to see it come back and in response to the city’s inaction, they recently painted a big bold message to make a statement.
“Highly dangerous,” are the words Rose McCaslin use to describe the intersection near the Terra Firma Shoe Boutique she works at in Nob Hill.
Many neighbors say it’s one of Nob Hill’s most notorious areas where people cross the street.
“I’ve seen little kids and old ladies and you know just run of the mill age people almost get hit, I can’t even tell you how many times,” said McCaslin.
The intersection of Carlisle and Silver has a history as well. Four years ago it was a fully painted, city-approved crosswalk.
However, when a neighbor asked the city to put a fresh coat of paint on the intersection, they got a response they weren’t expecting.
“The decision at that time was made to remove it,” said Wilferd Gallegos, Deputy Director of the City of Albuquerque’s Municipal Development Department.
The city chose to cover up the crosswalk. Today there are no markings for the crosswalk, however the city has left sidewalk ramps in place, bus stops nearby and the crossing remains the link between the city’s designated bicycle boulevard, Silver Ave.
Department heads say the crosswalk is too close to Central Ave.
“It made it kind of dangerous to have a crosswalk in that particular location,” said Gallegos.
Instead of getting people to cross Carlisle at Silver where all the businesses are, the city wants people to walk several hundred feet down to the intersection of Central just to get across the street.
Some say that doesn’t make sense.
“We should be adding more crosswalks rather than taking them away,” said Zach Gensen, an Albuquerque resident who frequently bikes Nob Hill.
“I cross there all the time,” said David Cameron, a nearby resident.
“Some sort of improvement makes sense here,” said Dan Majewski, an Albuquerque urban planning consultant who works on bike and pedestrian projects.
So, recently, neighbors decided to take matter into their own hands.
“So I went to work,” chuckled Cameron.
Cameron is the pastor at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, which is right on one of the ends of the former Carlisle & Silver crosswalk.
The Reverend admits he painted a new crosswalk across Carlisle, where the old crosswalk used to be. Cameron says he didn’t intended for it to be a replacement, but a message. The crosswalk had several bars and read “Walk Nob Hil.”
Cameron says he did it to make a statement after the city turned down several of his ideas to improve the crosswalk. He hopes the message will get the city to wake up.
“Streets are for people, and bicycles and cars as we come together and particularly in Nob Hill,” said Cameron.
But, the city isn’t laughing at the stunt.
“We believe that there’s better ways to have conversations about walk-ability in Nob Hill,” said Gallegos.
City crews erased the message Tuesday after News 13 called Municipal Development to ask for a comment.
However, Cameron hopes the message is still loud and clear.
“A tiny little thing but maybe it will encourage people to think,” said Cameron.
Reverend Cameron also told News 13 that he didn’t mean for the marking to be a replacement crosswalk, but just a message. The city says it erased it because they were concerned that someone would think it’s an actual crosswalk.
The city also says it’s a misdemeanor to paint unapproved roadway markings. No word on whether or not they’ll go after Reverend Cameron.