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Neighbors still upset with loop plan at mid school

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APS will do a traffic study on proposal for Jefferson Mid School

Albuquerque Public Schools is slowing down progress on a loop road at Jefferson Middle School, but not enough to satisfy some concerned neighbors.

APS Chief Operations Officer Brad Winter said the district still expects to break ground on the project this summer, but will first do a traffic study to examine what impact it would have, particularly on Lomas Boulevard. As planned, the loop would route cars off Girard, behind the school and onto Lomas NE.

The plan is particularly unpopular with residents who live on Frontier Avenue and Lafayette Drive. Their properties back up to the school campus, but will back up to the loop after it is built.

Winter said the loop is needed, because the current drop-off situation at Jefferson is dangerous.

“It’s a safety issue that we need to address,” Winter said. “It’s the worst drop-off we have in this whole district.”

Winter said the traffic study will look at issues like whether the loop should have right and left turn lanes onto Lomas, or allow drivers to turn only right.

He said district officials have made concessions to the neighbors. For example, they will decrease the speed limit on the loop from 15 mph to 5 mph and plant trees as buffers between neighbors and the loop.

But Jake Buehler, who opposes the project, said those concessions were not enough to bring most neighbors around.

“As a neighborhood we’ve been very clear, we understand there’s a traffic issue,” Buehler said. “It is unsafe for the individuals who drop their kids off on Girard, and in the neighborhoods. But it’s important to note: the current plan they want to put in, there’s been no safety studies done.”

Buehler said he and other neighbors want the district to halt the project and start from scratch, with neighbors at the table during the planning process.

The loop will be on APS property, so the only city approval required is a permit to cut the curbs on Girard and Lomas.

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