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More flashing yellow arrows may turn up, and study up on ART signs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Today’s column is a chance to catch up on some issues readers have brought up in recent months, including:

CAN WE GET MORE FLASHING ARROWS?

Jim says in an email, “It seems that there are many left-turn signals that turn red/off after X amount of time. Sometimes this occurs before everyone has made their left turn, and at other times prevents people from turning left when there is no oncoming traffic. Why not have these left turn signals flash yellow so that people needing to turn left can do so when it is safe to do? This would greatly help to keep traffic moving.”

To recap, the flashing yellow gives turning drivers the option to do so when it’s clear, as opposed to having to wait for a green arrow. In a column this summer, Johnny Chandler, the public information coordinator for the city of Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development, said the city worked with the state Department of Transportation on installing the city’s inaugural flashing yellow arrow at Coors and St. Josephs on the West Side.

“NMDOT, Rio Rancho, Bernalillo County and the city of Albuquerque are all starting to adopt this new traffic technology,” he said, “and the public should expect to see more.”

And he adds that “The Department of Municipal Development does not have any immediate plans for more but is encouraged by the operation of this signal and how we may be able to improve traffic movements with this technology around the city in the future.”

AND RIO RANCHO ALREADY HAS 14: Speaking of flashing yellow arrows and the City of Vision, Annemarie L. GarcĂ­a, communications and community engagement officer for Rio Rancho, says “there are 14 locations/intersections where these signals are located in the city.”

HOW DO I TURN FROM CENTRAL TO GET TO I-25? Maria Kompare emails, “I live in Farmington, so I don’t often have to deal with access to the interstate. (But when I did recently I was) confused.

“I was going east on Central and wanted to turn north onto Interstate 25, a left turn. I may have been in the wrong lane crossing Locust. My lane had a U-turn symbol on it and I wanted to go straight, so I did. Then, when I thought I was in the right place for a left turn onto the approach, my lane said ‘bus lane.’ Too late; I was in it. I turned left on the green light but was feeling anxious like I’d done it all wrong. There was a car on my right, also turning onto the approach. Please help me figure out how to negotiate it before I have to try it again.”

It’s an ART thing.

Chandler says the Albuquerque Rapid Transit bus lane “traffic patterns on Central Avenue from Coors to Louisiana have been in place for (more than) two years. While new drivers to the city may find this new traffic configuration confusing, the signs educating traffic are not.

“Going eastbound, there is a ‘bus only’ lane, a U-turn lane and two through lanes. Drivers who are paying attention to roadway signs and markings should have no problems navigating this intersection. We would like to remind motorists to pay attention to the educational signage provided. If that is done, everyone should get to where they are going in a safe and timely manner.”

WHY DOES TRAMWAY HAVE A WEIGHT LIMIT? Douglas Rodgers asks that in an email, saying, “On the 22 of August I was returning from Santa Fe and my Garmin RV GPS gave me an alert about the 3-ton weight limit on Tramway. I was in my Jeep at the time. Why is there a limit? I bet a lot of large pickups will be weighing more than 6,000 lbs.”

Kimberly Gallegos, who handles information for NMDOT’s District 3 office in Albuquerque, says NMDOT is researching this. “There is a long background to this question. We have been trying to research this item for years, but mostly the information related to that truck restriction has been provided via verbal discussions and memory. We have been trying to find any documentation but none yet.”

Stay tuned.

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; dwestphal@abqjournal.com; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, N.M., 87109.

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