ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The city spent millions sprucing it up and even put up barriers to keep cars out of people’s yards, but speeders continue to play demolition derby on Coal Avenue.
Over the weekend, two different crashes on Coal took out a neighborhood sign, a light post, trees and concrete pillars. In one of the crashes, witnesses say the driver plowed on to the sidewalk. Now neighbors are pushing the city to make a change.
“Well, I don’t know what the answer is, this corner is dangerous!” said Jesse Mendoza, a property owner along Coal Avenue.
The crash scenes are something Mendoza hates to see. Several times over the last year, Mendoza says cars have taken out multiple trees, concrete pillars and shrubs along Coal Avenue just west of the big curve near University Boulevard.
“You can see this car… drove all the way up the sidewalk, I mean it’s insane!” said Mendoza while describing the most recent crash.
Further up Coal Avenue at the curve just after Yale, another driver plowed through the sign welcoming drivers to the University Heights neighborhood. The sign is now rubble and likely damaged beyond repair.
“It’s bad again, it’s not surprising,” said Mendoza.
Mendoza owns an apartment complex that sits right behind the Coal curve before University. He says he’s tired of seeing speeders crash on Coal’s curves.
“We need to keep the cars off the sidewalk, that’s the bottom line,” said Mendoza.
KRQE News 13’s radar gun caught plenty of drivers ignoring the 30 miles-per-hour speed limit on Coal Monday, some drivers pushing 39 to 40 mph around the curves. Neighbors say they’re worried a car will kill someone on the sidewalk soon.
“Eventually something bad is going to happen I think the city has gotten fortunate,” said Charles Joslin, who lives along Coal Avenue.
“And I don’t think the city should wait until it does happen,” said Christina Weeks, another Coal Avenue resident.
Neighbors want the city to add more safeguards along the Coal curves to keep cars from running on to sidewalks.
“I would like to see some sort of a deflective barrier put up here,” said Mendoza.
But so far, the city isn’t convinced it can help.
“Follow the rules of the road, they’re there for a reason,” said Mark Motsko, a spokesman for Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development.
The city reminds drivers speeding is pointless on Coal because the signals are timed.
“Really it comes down to if you go 30 mph you’re going to hit every green light,” said Motsko.
However, neighbors say the city needs to step it up with a different solution.
“What if you had a group of people walking through here,” said Mendoza.
The city is still trying to total up the cost of the damage. At the crash site near University, neighbors saw the driver take off from the scene, however, that car left its license plate behind. The city says it’s now going to work on tracking down that driver.
Speed enforcement has been a problem for APD city wide. The department is writing fewer tickets than it used to. The police union says that’s because of the officer shortage and a shift in priorities.