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Traversing U-turns and right turns and protected arrow turns

WHEN DOES A RIGHT TURN BEAT A U-TURN AND VICE VERSA? Donn emails, “At one time it was illegal to make a right turn on red in many states, and the ability to make a right turn on a red was called the ‘Western Rule.’ It is becoming more common for intersections to have signs indicating that a right turn on red is not allowed.

“On the other hand, it is legal to make a U-turn at an intersection when a driver has a green arrow unless it is posted that a U-turn is not allowed. Drivers making a U-turn have no way of knowing if the traffic coming from the left has a red light or a green right arrow.

“Given those facts, why are there some intersections around Albuquerque saying that drivers making right turns have the right-of-way over drivers making a U-turn?”

That would be when the right turn has a protected arrow signal.

Johnny Chandler, public information coordinator for the city of Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development, explains, “As a driver, you are allowed to turn right on red at any intersection unless there is a sign stating otherwise. Motorists may make U-turns at an intersection when the signal is green unless there is a sign stating no U-turns allowed.

“If there is not a protected right-hand turn arrow, the motorists making the U-turn has priority and the motorists attempting to turn right on red must yield to pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists. In that case, the right-turning vehicle has a red light and must yield to all oncoming traffic. A prime example of this is the Central Avenue ART Corridor. Central Avenue ART signals do not have right turn arrows, as the Central signals have a combination left turn and U-turn indications.”

A DUSTBOWL AT COORS AND MONTAÑO: That’s what Cindy emails has happened now that the pumpkin patch and Christmas tree setups have vanished.

“During the late summer or early fall of 2018 the natural vegetation on the 8-10 acre lot on the southeast corner of Coors and Montaño was razed to nothing but dirt,” she says. “A pumpkin patch utilized this lot in October and then a Xmas tree business used the lot in November and December. It appears that it has now been abandoned.

“Unfortunately every time the winds blow above 20 mph the traffic lanes on Montaño become obscured in blowing dirt and sand. This produces quite a traffic hazard for this busy intersection. Who is responsible for this neglected lot now that pumpkin and Xmas tree season is over, and are there any plans to develop this acreage in the near future? Certainly the responsible parties need to be held responsible for taking care of this issue.”

That would be the owner/permittee, and the city has been in touch.

Damon Reyes, enforcement and compliance division manager in the city’s Environmental Health Department, says regulations require property owners to control dust if it leaves their property, and they must get a permit for lots over three-fourths of an acre.

The now-empty pumpkin patch/Christmas tree lot does have a permit, he adds, and inspectors went out this month and discovered the required silt fencing had not been installed around the perimeter. In this case the owner is the permittee and has been contacted to install and then maintain, clean and re-stabilize the required silt fence as needed.

Reyes adds that if other residents have similar concerns, they should report them to 311.

WATER WORK DELAYS RIO GRANDE ROUNDABOUT: An update from City Councilor Isaac Benton’s office says, “We are experiencing a delay on the start of construction of the (Rio Grande/Candelaria) roundabout due to the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority’s need to replace infrastructure in the area prior to the start of roadway construction at the intersection. We will provide updates on the progress of the ABCWUA work as information becomes available.”

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