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No ART buses in sight, and turn arrows are hard to find, too

ART HAS LEFT-TURN DRIVERS STUCK: Mike Osborn reports via email that “often while traveling northbound on Carlisle (I) need to turn left onto Central. I find that the left-turn arrow sometimes does not function or, if it does, only for a very brief time.

“This situation is even worse driving westbound on Central and trying to turn left (south) onto Carlisle. When the left-turn light there does work, it usually stays on just long enough for one car to make it through the intersection, most often turning yellow before even that one car completes its full turn. This is frustrating because I then have to sit through another cycle of lights, hoping all the while that the turn light will function the next time. It is especially maddening because I know that these often malfunctioning changes were made to accommodate the ART buses, which of course are delayed yet again. In days past, I could always make both of these turns in one green light cycle, but now … well, see above.

“Anything you can do to check on and help would be appreciated.”

Johnny Chandler, public information coordinator for Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development, explains that “the traffic signals along the Albuquerque Rapid Transit corridor are currently set at the recommended intervals per the ART consultant to accommodate traffic, pedestrians and the buses. The Department of Municipal Development was then going to study how traffic flowed on Central Avenue once the buses were running and make changes as necessary. Now that buses along the ART corridor will not be running for some time, DMD is going out to each signal and changing the timing along the entire corridor to maximize efficiency for vehicles and pedestrians. As part of the upcoming signal timing changes, we will be making an effort to increase left-turn arrow times. This should be completed by Christmas.”

WHERE ARE THE REST OF THE ADAPTIVE SIGNALS ON ALAMEDA? That question came up after traffic delays the first day of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Signals were reportedly flashing red on Alameda, the main road into and out of the park, as lanes of confused drivers missed the morning mass ascension.

Adaptive signalization reacts in real time to traffic patterns, mitigating traffic jams by clearing backed up lanes as they are happening. Bernalillo County has installed adaptive signals on Alameda from Coors to Second in two phases. The city was supposed to continue it to Interstate 25, but put its stretch of Alameda on hold until the Paseo del Norte interchange was rebuilt.

That was finished in 2014 – four balloon fiestas ago.

Chandler says DMD “has a project underway along Alameda Boulevard from Second Street to Interstate 25 that will work similarly to the adaptive signalized system Bernalillo County currently has. The system that DMD will use is called the Advanced Traffic Signal Performance Measures (ATSPMs). ATSPMs is a data collection and data analysis system designed to improve the safety, mobility and efficiency of signalized intersections for all users. While this is not the exact same system as Bernalillo County’s, it is similar and will allow us to adjust traffic and pedestrian flow along Alameda based on real-time data.”

Stay tuned to see if the two systems interface.

Chandler adds, “This system is currently being utilized on Coors Boulevard in Northwest Albuquerque with plans to expand to Alameda, East Central and Zuni Road in Southeast Albuquerque. This system should be up and running on Alameda Boulevard in about a year.”

Fingers crossed, in time for fiesta 2019.

COORS AT RIO BRAVO GETS SOME TLC: A caller reported around Election Day that Coors south to Pajarito is in bad shape, especially at the Rio Bravo intersection, and asked if re-paving is planned.

Kimberly Gallegos of the New Mexico Department of transportation says, “Our in-house paving crew was doing a project at the intersection of Coors just south of Rio Bravo (last week). Work was completed” just before the holiday, on Nov. 20.

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.