ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s a key route for downtown, but for a long time, the Lead and Coal corridor has been a big runaway for speeding drivers.
Now neighbors say they’ve had enough, and they have the city’s attention.
With a radar gun in hand, KRQE News 13 found a lot of drivers speeding between 10 and 15 miles over the speed limit on Lead and Coal east of downtown Wednesday. The speed has city officials looking at slowing things down a lot.
While the Lead and Coal corridor is an important way to get in and out of downtown, the road is also right in the middle of a lot of people’s neighborhoods.
“Oh yes I walk here every day, we have our community garden over here,” said Kathy Grassel, an east downtown (EDO) or Huning Highlands Historic District resident.
Grassel is one of the longtime east downtown neighbors who’s tired of all the speeding drivers.
“I don’t think there’s anybody who will vote for more speed here,” said Grassel in an interview with KRQE News 13 on Wednesday.
It’s not just drivers going downhill either. KRQE News 13 clocked a few drivers going 40 to 42 miles an hour uphill on Coal Avenue as well.
“They don’t bother thinking about the neighborhood when they’re speeding through,” said Grassel. “It would be nice to have slower traffic.”
In response to the speeding, the east downtown or Huning Highlands Neighborhood Association is asking for change.
“People tend to speed, no doubt about it,” said Councilor Isaac Benton, who represents the area.
Councilor Benton is now working with the neighborhood to slow traffic on Lead and Coal between Broadway and I-25.
“This is a tough segment,” said Benton.
The councilor has asked the city’s Municipal Development Department to look into three ideas. The first idea is to install radar speed measuring signs along the corridor. A similar sign can be seen on westbound Central Avenue just past Elm Street, near the Holy Cow restaurant and the Days Inn hotel. The sign flashes “SLOW DOWN” to any driver who speeds past it, while displaying how fast they’re going.
Second, the neighborhood association has asked Councilor Benton to look into reducing the speed limit from 30 to 25 miles an hour through their neighborhood.
The third idea could change the striping of the roadway.
“We’ve got this big wide parking lane right here, why don’t we just take some of that and do a buffered bike lane,” said Benton.
The idea is that cars would be squeezed closer together to on-street parking, slowing them down in the process.
Some neighbors like Kathy Grassel are hoping for just some sort of relief.
“Anything to slow it down,” said Grassel.
The city is now in the process of analyzing the proposed ideas. They don’t have a timeline yet on when anything could be tried or even implemented. However, all three ideas according to Councilor Benton are fairly cheap and viable options.
The city recently put temporary speed measuring signs on the EDO Lead and Coal corridor. Neighbors say that helped a lot, however, the mobile signs have since been moved.