Is help with congestion on its way?


David emails he’s “curious if the New Mexico Department of Transportation or city of Albuquerque has looked at HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes for I-40/I-25 through town in the mornings and evenings, as well as for Montaño, Paseo del Norte and Alameda, as a way to help facilitate river crossings and moving people through town?

NMDOT has, and the volume just isn’t there – yet.

Kimberly Gallegos, who handles public information for the District 3 Albuquerque office, says “there is just not enough sustained congestion in Albuquerque to justify HOV lanes. Most of our studies have identified capacity improvements. For example, the recent widening of Interstate 25 from San Antonio to Jefferson and the future Montgomery/I-25 project. We are looking at congestion management ideas along I-40 and PDN, which could include more Intelligent Transportation System-type projects, such as shoulder usage and ramp metering rather than capacity projects, such as adding lanes.”

WHERE’S THE AIRPORT? Linda Worcester emails that “the overhead sign northbound on I-25 for the Sunport exit has been defaced and is very hard to read. We locals know this is the exit for the airport, but travelers may not be able to read this. Surprised this hasn’t been reported. Thank you.”

Don’t thank me yet.

Gallegos says “the sign will be removed, but will not be replaced. There is still the sign at ½ a mile – on the sign bridge – and the exit sign at the exit. Both are in good shape.”

WHAT’S WITH THE TOW TRUCK LIGHTS? Laura Horton asks in an email “why do tow trucks continue to use their flashing lights while driving with loaded vehicles? It’s very distracting.”

It’s also allowed by state law.

Statute 66-3-835 Section D says “tow cars standing on highways for the purpose of removing, and actually engaged in removing, disabled vehicles, and while engaged in towing any disabled vehicle, may display flashing lights.”

DEFENDING DRIVERS WHO OBEY THE SPEED LIMIT: And in a recent column, a driver expressed frustration at pokey drivers who don’t keep up with the flow of traffic.

And that got Bill Demint’s engine revving.

“Re: the guy that was trying to justify his road rage. How dare someone drive down his private racing lane at a speed slower than he wants to go? I looked in vain in the driver’s manual and traffic laws stuff, and nowhere does it say one can ignore speed limits to keep up with the traffic flow. What is it about limits that these clowns don’t seem understand? A limit is defined a line or point beyond which someone can’t go. That is pretty clear.

“I guess I am of the old school where a yellow signal means slow down and prep for a stop. In ABQ, it’s (automatic) for drivers to speed up with a yellow and turn left on a red arrow. What can be done, if anything, to re-educate drivers nowadays?”

Great question. In fact, N.M. statute 66-7-301 states:

“A. No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than:

(1) 15 mph on all highways when passing a school while children are going to or leaving school and when the school zone is properly posted;

(2) 30 mph in a business or residence district;

(3) 55 mph on a county road … without a posted speed limit;

(4) 75 mph; and

(5) the posted speed limit in construction zones posted as double fine zones or other safety zones posted as double fine zones as designated by the department of transportation.”

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858;; or P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M. 87103.

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