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Signals on Alameda turn heads

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ALAMEDA REMAINS A WORK IN PROGRESS: Madison weighed in recently on the county’s new signal synchronization system that’s being test-driven on Alameda.

His take was that while things were much improved at Second and Fourth, “Alameda from Coors Road/Corrales Road to south Rio Grande Boulevard … (is) as bad as ever. Perhaps the syncing has not extended west?”

It hasn’t. Alameda’s adaptive signal corridor runs from Second to Loretta, just west of the river. The signals from Loretta up to Rio Rancho belong to the city of Albuquerque, which has said it will hold off on adding them to the system until after the Paseo del Norte interchange rebuild is complete.

LORETTA SIGNAL NEEDS SOME TWEAKING: Madison adds “inefficiencies appear to exist at (the) Loretta Drive and South Rio Grande intersections, just before and after passing over the bridge. Without these two signalized intersections this roadway would function rather well, given that once you pass South Rio Grande the heavy volumes of traffic flow well all the way down to and past Fourth Street and Second Street. The inefficiencies cause traffic to back up all the way into the Coors Road/Corrales Road intersection, rendering it dysfunctional and leading to lots of driver rage there every day.”

Madison says recently the Loretta signal seemed to be tripping for no traffic.

Robert Baker, Bernalillo County’s signs and signals expert, says it likely has less to do with signal timing and more to do with a stuck button.

“I noticed it (late last month) while I was monitoring it one morning from my office, so I immediately called the technician,” he says. “The pedestrian button for north and south at Loretta was stuck and serving every phase. A pedestrian phase has to serve the entire clearance time no matter what.”

But “it’s working fine now.”

SOUTH RIO GRANDE NEEDS MORE TURNS: Madison also says “at South Rio Grande the single-lane northbound to westbound turning movement adversely impacts the dominant eastbound flow. Why not convert the dedicated northbound-to-eastbound right-turn lane into an eastbound- and westbound-turning movement so there would essentially be two lanes turning left during the northbound green cycle?”

“Outright addition of an additional left-turn lane from northbound Rio Grande would also be a good alternative to consider for improving signal efficiency at the South Rio Grande/Alameda location. … Many intersections in the city have been converted from those having single left-turn lanes to those having dual left-turn lanes. Why can’t it happen here?”

It will.

Baker says “we converted the dedicated right turn bay on S. Rio Grande into a combination left/right” Nov. 6, he says. In addition, the county will also “stripe a lane line extension – ‘puppy tracks’ – to help provide better guidance for motorists making the dual left.”

STILL TIME TO SOUND OFF ON COMMUTER NEEDS: You have until Dec. 13 to weigh in on the Mid-Region Council of Governments 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan.

The 21 questions on the survey at http://tinyurl.com/2040MTP take around 12 minutes and cover how the system of roads, buses, trains, sidewalks, trails and bike lanes work for you now and how you want them to work for you in the future.

It’s your chance to be heard by the planners who will be guiding the region’s transit systems. Log on!

Assistant editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays and West Siders and Rio Ranchoans on Saturdays. Reach her at 823-3858; road@abqjournal.com; P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M. 87103; or go to ABQjournal.com/traffic to read previous columns and join in the conversation.

 

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