Atrisco lane reduction hoped to end ‘problem going on for decades’

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A city councilor hopes he’s found the solution to a years-long issue of speeders on Atrisco between Central and Iliff.

“This has been a problem going on for decades,” Ken Sanchez, city councilor for District 1, said. “Two of my young friends were even killed, the Lopez brothers, along Atrisco and we needed to get something done.”

Turn onto Atrisco and you’ll notice something much different. The road has gone from two lanes each way to one lane with a new bicycle lane.

“I think it’s great that they narrowed it down to one lane,” teen bicyclist Chief Nelson, who lives in the area, said.

The restriping was completed about a week and a half ago and took about a week to do. It’s a roughly $50,000 pilot program to get speeders to slow down along the residential street.

“A bike lane helps ‘cause it makes it a lot safer when I’m riding to the bus stop,” Nelson said.

Sanchez says the change was one year in the making after years of complaints about speeders. Many people use the road as a shortcut to and from Coors.

“It’s been very contentious, a lot of neighbors did not want this, a lot of the neighbors along Atrisco did want it because they could not get out of their driveways,” Sanchez said.

Dori Sanchez, who lives along Atrisco in the area, has mixed feelings about the change, saying it’s great for bicyclists, but not for drivers if you end up behind someone going under the speed limit.

“I’m going to be angry, I’m going to be upset,” she said.

“’Cause you want to pass them?” KRQE News 13 asked in response. “Exactly,” she replied.

But Sanchez says it’s for the best, and that it appears to be working.

“Looking at what I’m seeing now, it looks like the speeds have been reduced,” he said.

The restriping will be reevaluated in six months to see how well it’s working. Other options that city traffic engineers considered were speed bumps and roundabouts.

It’s not the first time the city has reduced lanes to slow down speeders.

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