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A meeting of the Traffic Calming Committee with the City Traffic Engineer took place on Monday, Dec. 12, 2011. Neighborhood attendees included: Connie Moore, Curtis Hunt, Linda Rodgers, David Taylor, Rick Miera, and Jerry Ortiz y Pino. Public officials attending were: John Kolessar (traffic engineer), Kelly Sanchez-Pare and Tom Menicucci.

The meeting took place at Connie Moore’s home at 3:30 PM.  We began by emphasizing that the 4th Ward is recognized by both the state and the city as an historic neighborhood that needs to be protected and that the volume and speed of cut-through traffic in the neighborhood is detrimental to this goal.  Previous efforts at traffic calming were summarized and it was noted that traffic volumes in the neighborhood have increased over the last decade despite those efforts.

Kelly Sanchez-Pare, who works with City Councilor Debbie O’Malley, attended the meeting as did Tom Menicucci of the Council staff.  Tom stated that he can start the process of a traffic study for the neighborhood but he needs a firm idea of what the DNA/Traffic Committee wants to accomplish before he can set about finding a contractor to complete the study.  He also stated that the process can take several years before any work on the ground may be completed. [In a phone conversation subsequent to the meeting, Tom Menicucci said that it may be possible to contract out the traffic study as early as next February]

 

John Kolessar, traffic engineer for the city, was very helpful in explaining that he can only do so much on his own authority. He can take care of such things as signs for weight restrictions on trucks and striping of streets, but otherwise he is pretty much dependent on City Planners to implement more significant changes. He was adamant that adding stop signs was not an appropriate method for traffic calming and suggested that parking cars on the street and preserving the tree-lined streets would be more effective at slowing traffic. He also did not support adding pedestrian crosswalks at the intersections as they would increase the risk of pedestrian-vehicle accidents.  He was not a supporter of speed humps, but acknowledged that they have a limited effectiveness at slowing down traffic and are widely used throughout Albuquerque and other communities as traffic calming devices.  Other issues that were briefly discussed were the road diet on Central Avenue, the large number of signaled entrances into the neighborhood, and the recent efforts of traffic calming in the Reynolds neighborhood south of Central.  Finally, he said that the projected population growth in Albuquerque and surrounding communities will result in increased traffic through the neighborhood if no changes are made.

Overall, the meeting was positive and productive. The Committee plans to pursue more effective placement of existing truck weight restriction signs on 12th street and adding signs at other entrances into the neighborhood.  Meanwhile, we are seeking participation from other residents within the 4th Ward and from all other neighborhoods in the DNA with traffic problems that need to be addressed.

DNA Traffic Safety Committee (ad hoc)