ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — They’re some of the busiest pedestrian crossings in one of the most highly-walked parts of Albuquerque, but some say they are downright dangerous.
The crossings throughout Nob Hill on Central beckon pedestrians to use them: reminding walkers to “LOOK LEFT” and “LOOK RIGHT.” They include pedestrian access ramps and islands in the median, but using one of those kinds crossings can still be like a real-life game of Frogger.
“Well, in general, you always just have to take your life into your own hands, because Albuquerque drivers are crazy,” said Rhea Ienni.
“You basically do what you need to do,” said Scotty Forward, who said the crossings are especially dangerous at night. “Look left, look right, and just kind of go.”
They’re not crosswalks, and cars aren’t required to stop. Most of the time, they don’t slow down, either.
“Here a pedestrian might have sort of the illusion of safety, whereas the car or motorist has no indication that the motorist is coming,” said Bruce Thompson, an Albuquerque attorney who has handled pedestrian accident litigation.
The city admits there aren’t any signs to warn drivers of these kinds of intersections.
It says the non-crosswalk crossings were the city’s way of helping out pedestrians who otherwise would jaywalk.
“We would rather them use this location than somewhere in the corridor, but at all times pedestrians need to be aware,” Melissa Lozoya, deputy director of the Department of Municipal Development.
Albuquerque has the third highest pedestrian fatality rate in the nation, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Nob Hill is one of the worst places in the city, although Lozoya said it wasn’t an area the city of Albuquerque is focused on.
“I’m not aware that this is a high area of pedestrian accidents,” she said. “To my knowledge, it’s not.”
A July 2014 report put out by MRCOG, of which the city of Albuquerque is a member, says otherwise. It shows Central still has the most pedestrian accidents overall.
“It’s encouraging pedestrians to walk freely, back and forth along Central,” Thompson said. “However, I don’t think the city is doing enough to make it pedestrian friendly.”
In New Mexico, pedestrians must yield to cars outside of a crosswalk, so it’s usually up to the walker to make sure they’re safe.