Another Starbucks jam; potholes on I-40 trashed my struts

AN ILLEGAL ‘TRENTA’ LINE IN A ‘SHORT’ SPACE? Donna O’Brien emails that’s the deal at Washington and Lomas.

“Folks traveling north on Washington that want to access the only entrance to this Starbucks located on the west side of Washington … turn left illegally across Washington. I say illegally as there is a double solid yellow line on Washington from Lomas past the Starbucks.”

“In waiting for traffic heading south on Washington to clear in order to cross, they are causing vehicles behind them to back up to a standstill in the middle of Lomas and remain stuck there even after the traffic light has changed, allowing for Lomas traffic heading west to potentially hit one or more vehicles that are sitting ducks in the middle of Lomas while the person is trying to turn left into Starbucks.”

And it’s not a new issue. Back in 2017, Margaret Keller emailed, “There is a mess going on at Washington and Lomas with the high volume of traffic going in and out of Starbucks on the northwest corner. Cars are backed up to get in off of Washington; those going north or south on Washington are either stopping to let cars into Starbucks, making it dicey for those behind, or we are dodging cars trying to cut across traffic — and of course no one uses a blinker; or we are stuck in the middle of Lomas when the lights are changing. It is an accident waiting to happen, and already it is happening.”

The city didn’t reply then.

But it has now.

Donna asks, “Would it be possible for the city to install some vertical traffic blockers in the double solid yellow lines at least the width of the Starbucks driveway, essentially blocking the entrance from the east side of Washington? This would prevent the backup in the Lomas/Washington intersection. With so many inattentive drivers these days it’s only a matter of time before someone heading west on Lomas plows into the unexpected vehicle(s) stuck out in the intersection.”

And Margaret suggested “make the entrance off of Lomas as the one-way Enter Only and then use Washington as Exit Only.”

No and no.

Johnny Chandler of Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development says, “The intersection of Washington and Lomas is slightly more congested, which is also leading to the slower speeds by drivers. There is enough green time on Washington Avenue for the queue to clear. The Starbucks at Lomas and Washington has been operating for nearly six years. From 2010-2014 that intersection saw an average of 9.6 crashes per year. From 2016-2019 the intersection saw an average of 8.5 crashes per year. This intersection does not warrant any changes of access at this time. As for the double yellow line on Washington, the department will eventually look into removing the lines when the road is due for rehab. Washington Avenue rates as “Fair” for roadway condition, so this change is quite a few years away. In the meantime we ask drivers to be respectful, understanding that Starbucks is a popular business, and work with each other for ease of access for everyone.”

RAINS MADE I-40 POTHOLES WORSE: Riley Nelson has two questions — first, on eastbound I-40, “There are numerous potholes in the two right lanes between Louisiana and Eubank. They are impossible to avoid. Staying left and getting over at the last minute to exit is not an option at rush hour.”

Kimberly Gallegos with the Albuquerque District 3 office of the New Mexico Department of Transportation says, “Our maintenance crews work hard to keep up with the potholes along the interstates and highways. Crews especially pay attention after rainstorms, because it’s common material is swept out of the pothole during heavy rains and causes the need for them to be filled again. As you know, we have had torrential rains over the summer, and this had caused potholes to worsen. Crews will continue to routinely schedule pothole repairs and keep up with preserving the pavement until re-construction of the roadway takes place.”

AND THE HIGHWAY RUINED MY STRUTS: Second, Riley emails, “I recently had to have my front struts and other structural parts replaced in my 2017 Subaru at 66,000 miles, a repair my mechanic said he had never had to do so early in the life of a vehicle, The cost was more than $1,000. Is there a claims program through DOT to reimburse such repairs due to pothole damage, or do I need to sue the DOT?”

 

Gallegos says “We do have a tort claim process for damage to vehicles.” The one-page form is sent to the state’s Risk Management Division in Santa Fe, which can be reached at 827-0442.

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, NM, 87109.

 

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