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Traffic calming successful

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PAINT, BUTTONS AND POSTS NOW GUIDE JAIL/DUMP TRAFFIC: Since before 2004, when there was a fatal wreck at the intersection of Speedway and Shelly SW, there has been concern about out-of-control speeding and stop-sign running at the site.

Now Bernalillo County has stepped up with some traffic calming in place of those oft-ignored red octagons.

David Mitchell, director of Operations and Maintenance, explains that under federal standards Shelly was actually ineligible for stop signs. So the county got permission from the city of Albuquerque to instead use $40,000 worth of design, paint, buttons and posts “to at least slow the changing of the guards and allow the trash trucks better swing.”

Mitchell explains that before the calming measures were installed, “the statistical speed on the straightaways was mid- to high-50-mph range.” After it all went in, “the 85th percentile through this device was exactly the posted speed of 45 mph, which was the design speed for the intersection.”

And the setup could help improve safety at other, more urban, intersections. Mitchell says, “The concept could be expanded to four-way multi-lane signalized intersections that have chronic light running or speeding issues. … While this prototype is done in paint and tubes, a real one could be curbed.”

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; or P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M. 87103.

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