Parents to hear solutions for Atrisco Heritage Academy traffic

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Tuesday night, parents and students at one of the state’s largest high schools will finally get some answers. Since school started, they’ve been asking a lot of questions about why traffic is so bad at Atrisco Heritage Academy. They’re even saying it’s a major safety concern.

The issue is the intersection of Dennis Chavez and 118th Street. Those are the cross streets students and parents have to travel to get to the the only paved entrance and exit out of the school’s parking lot.

The high-traffic area has created major congestion and safety concerns. Parents and students are sometimes stuck in traffic for up to half an hour.

Now, the district says it’s working on some big improvements. They’ll come in two phases.

Priority one plans are things they’ve either already put into place or will start working on next week, like adding a fence separating pedestrians and cars on the west side, reducing speed limits on Dennis Chavez from 55 mph to 45 mph, adding signs warning of traffic congestion and putting in a second turn lane. They’ll start striping for that turn lane next week.

The priority two phase will cost a lot more but the district says it’s necessary.

“Priority two would include an access in from Dennis Chavez – a right turn in and a right turn out only that would create another student drop-off point and so, that also would help alleviate some of the congestion we’re seeing now,” says APS Chief Operating Officer Ruben Hendrickson.

Construction for priority two plans are between six months and a year away.

APS says it planned everything correctly when the school went up but had no way of knowing just how popular Atrisco Heritage would be.

Yet, when KRQE News 13 asked if there were plans to cap enrollment, Hendrickson says not at this time.

The meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday night in the Performing Arts Center.

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