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Part of road widening project awaits bond funding

WIDENING WEST OF THE RIVER IN THE WORKS: Richard, who lives in the Anasazi Ridge subdivision, asks in an email, “When will work begin to make McMahon four lanes? It’s two lanes from the top of the hill to Universe. The four-lane bridge was completed, but not the other two lanes.”

Johnny Chandler, who handles information for Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development, says the city “is making significant investment into alleviating and helping transportation on Albuquerque’s West Side. We are investing now in widening Paseo del Norte and are scheduled to start construction on the widening of Westside Boulevard NW this month.”

To be clear, the $11 million Westside project, making it four lanes from Golf Course to N.M. 528, has its detractors. Marco Cervantes emails this work, funded with federal and local dollars, “has not considered the structural damage … to the houses on the Albuquerque side of the road and the sound pollution that is generating to the residents of that area.”

No word yet on whether any mitigation of those concerns is planned.

As for McMahon, Chandler says Richard is referring to “the section of roadway over the Calabacillas Arroyo. We are asking for $3 million this coming November as part of the $140 million 2021 General Obligation Bond Program. If voters approve the bonds, DMD will start the process of making improvements along McMahon from just west of Ratcliff to the CNM Campus at the intersection of McMahon and Universe. The improvements will include widening the roadway, adding and improving ADA compliance as well as making the roadway suitable for all modes of transportation. Voting yes on the 2021 GO Bond Program this November will not raise your taxes.”

BIKE BOULEVARD UPDATE: JS emails “18-mph was cute. Now CABQ is removing the non-compliant speed limit signs along our Bicycle Boulevard.”

According to Journal coverage, “the initial Bicycle Boulevard route ran from the Paseo Del Bosque Trail connection on Mountain Road to San Mateo SE, connecting the Paseo Del Bosque Trail, Old Town, BioPark, Downtown, CNM, UNM, Nob Hill and the Highland area.”

So is it no more?

Chandler says the city’s “Traffic Engineering Division is taking a look at all street signs in the city of Albuquerque in order to make sure that our signs follow the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. In order to be in compliance with the federal sign mandate, we are eventually going to change the 18-mph speed limit signs on the bicycle boulevards. Municipal Development will work with the neighborhood, the city councilor as well as the Greater Albuquerque Bicycle Advisory Committee before making any changes. This change is not imminent, and our department is looking to make this change sometime within the next (six) to 10 years. Unless otherwise posted, residential speed limits are 25 mph.”

MORE ON THOSE MVD EYE EXAMS: Last week’s column got a few readers asking if they need an eye exam to renew their driver’s license online. (Renewals are online because of the pandemic; there are limited in-person appointments at www.mvd.newmexico.gov for new licenses, first-time Real IDs and vehicle title transfers.)

To recap, MVD said in a news release: “Drivers 79 and older who need an eye exam or medical report to renew their licenses will be able to conduct their annual renewal online in a two-step process. First, the driver will submit their eye exam or medical report online at mvdonline.com. Once the report has been accepted by MVD staff, the driver will go to mvdonline.com to renew their license.”

Per the website, this only applies to drivers who need a doctor’s exam to renew. Regarding an eye exam, it’s required only for those who failed a vision test in an MVD office and need to have their ophthalmologist or optometrist fill out the MVD-10125 Vision Report to tell whether they are safe to drive. More details are at www.mvd.newmexico.gov/chapter-9-medicals.

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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