City Councilor: Problem streets, speed plague city

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Residents in one northeast Albuquerque neighborhood are tired of cars crashing into yards and homes. It happened again early Thursday morning at Chelwood Park and Indian School. They went to the city to express their concerns but say nothing’s been done.

At around 2:30 a.m. Thursday morning, two cars crashed into each other. Police say they might have been racing and alcohol could have been a factor. Yet, residents say this happens all too often and they want it to stop.

“We’ve been after the city to come and do an evaluation of this intersection on Chelwood and Indian School Road, and they just keep giving us the run around,” resident Larry Moya said.

Moya and his neighbors say their pleas for help have been left unanswered. Yet the city councilor for their district, Don Harris, says he recognizes the problem.

A traffic study revealed speed and driving under the influence were the main contributors to the crashes.

The city could add more stop signs. They’re also looking into other solutions, like a raised median, a new median or a roundabout.

Yet, they’re all costly fixes, especially the roundabout and that’s what some neighbors want most.

“A roundabout, as it turns out, would cost about $1.3 million dollars. It would take a long time to build. We don’t have that money right now,” said City Councilor Don Harris.

We found a raised median would set the city back $65,000. A new median would cost $91,000.

Yet residents in the Chelwood Park neighborhood aren’t the only ones in the metro seeing the dangerous consequences of reckless drivers.

“There are certain areas of town that are more vulnerable than others but I mean it’s a problem throughout the city and it’s been a problem for many years,” City Council President Ken Sanchez said.

City Council President Sanchez is focused on a westside street – Atrisco.

“I think the biggest problem here on the westside is this area continues to grow and we don’t have the adequate roads, we don’t have the adequate river crossings so when the interstate gets backed up, many people want to tend to use Atrisco as an alternate route to get to their work or coming home from work,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez says the road has been an issue for years and says speed is often a factor. He said the neighborhood has seen a number of crashes, including a crash that killed two of his close friends.

Sanchez says there have been two community meetings and they have ideas- like reducing the number of lanes from two to one. The issue there? It could back up traffic. Speed tables are another proposed solution, but Sanchez says engineers have told him they’re not effective. Rescue and police have already warned about speed humps because of the number of vehicles that travel the road.

So what is the solution? Sanchez says they may have to wait until other road projects are complete to figure it out.

“I’d hate to rush into a project and get something done when it’s going to create a bigger problem down the road, so we’re still working with residents. We’re still working with the traffic engineers and the emergency response teams to make sure that what we do is the right thing for this community,” said Sanchez.

City leaders says they hope to have solutions for these two neighborhoods soon.

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