Drivers make dangerous move to get around traffic barrier

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Changes to Albuquerque’s Bicycle Boulevard are supposed to slow traffic and make it safer, but some people worry it’s created a new hazard with drivers going right around barriers or over them.

Signs on Silver Avenue at Girard say, “right turn only except bikes”, but some drivers seem to see that as more of a suggestion.

KRQE News 13 cameras caught drivers turning right, only to make an illegal U-turn to get around a barrier and continue on through Silver. KRQE News 13 watched car after car make the maneuver, in one case nearly backing into oncoming traffic. One Nob Hill resident was so concerned about the illegal U-turns that she had reported it to the city by calling 311.

“I’m a pedestrian. I have a baby. I walk with my baby frequently, and I don’t want to get hit,” said Judith Segall.

“I know people are making the illegal U-turns over there, which I don’t know, I feel like that’s more hazardous than helpful,” said driver Aly Montgomery.

The barrier at Girard, along with traffic circles and new back-in parking spots are all changes on Silver the city’s made over the last few months to slow down drivers on what’s supposed to be a bike-friendly road with an 18-mile-an-hour speed limit.

“I think because the project is relatively new, we just need to give people a little bit of time to get used to it,” said Melissa Lozoya, the acting director for Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development.

Drivers are still getting used to the traffic circle at Silver and Cornell and one down the road at Silver and Princeton. Passersby can already see tire marks where people seem to be having trouble getting around them.

“Anytime we introduce traffic circles or even our roundabouts, you find that people run over the curb,” Lozoya said.

In order to stop those illegal U-turns at Girard, the city will be adding another deterrent.

“We’re going to put some signage up just indicating you shouldn’t be making U-turns at those locations,” Lozoya said.

The city said drivers can expect to see those signs up in the next few weeks.

The city said, if after a few more months those illegal U-turns are still a problem, they’ll consider extra traffic enforcement in the area.

The slowdown of traffic on Silver comes as more drivers are staying away from Central a block over because of the construction for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project.

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