Whoa on green-lighting Lead/Coal 'rest-in-red' signals - Albuquerque Journal

Whoa on green-lighting Lead/Coal ‘rest-in-red’ signals

‘Rest-in-red’ NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME? That’s what the Lead Coal Safety Brigade believes.

The group, made up primarily of folks who live on Lead or Coal between Washington and Yale, says that while it has been asking for action to stop the speeders and resultant fatal crashes on its streets, it does not support the city’s plan to install signals that remain red if an approaching vehicle is detected speeding.

At least not until some questions have been addressed.

And considering that vehicles have been clocked at 141 on those 30-mph stretches, that’s saying something.

Dr. Joseph Aguirre, the brigade’s spokesman, says the group emailed state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and Rep. Gail Chasey, both D-Albuquerque, asking for a comprehensive road safety study on Lead/Coal between Washington and Yale, that the findings support “rest-in-red” signals and that the program be endorsed by a third-party engineer.

The group say it has learned that rest-in-red signals need driver education so folks know speeding keeps the signal red, they work best on single-lane roads so multiple drivers are not penalized for a speeder’s behavior, as well as on roads with a maximum of 5,000 vehicles a day to limit congestion. (Lead and Coal each move 14,000 daily). That the signals on the two streets are also coordinated means rest-in-red could also trigger gridlock.

NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION AGREES: Meanwhile, Don Hancock and the University Heights Association email, “The admitted lack of data on the impacts of rest-in-red in other communities and the lack of clear criteria to evaluate whether use of the technology is successful on Lead and Coal could result in another ineffective program.” They suggest a pilot rest-in-red program as well as use of the speed vans just approved by the City Council and mayor.

WILL THEY GO ALL-RED? And Raymond A Brandwein says, “One thing that was not indicated in your article was the color of the lights on the cross street where the Lead/Coal light is triggered to turn red. If it turns green at the same time, this may be inviting even more accidents, since speeders are much more likely to run red lights than those obeying the speed limit. But if all lights stay red for a period of time, this will result in frustration for all drivers.

“A better solution may be to abandon Coal and Lead as ‘through’ thoroughfares because of their being embedded in a residential neighborhood. Return both streets to two-way traffic, and let the signals randomly change from red to green without any synchronization as they do in many other areas of Albuquerque. Most traffic will just have to endure a longer traverse of that area, and speeders will probably look for another route to their destination. Residents in that area will breathe easier.”

MORE SLOW-DOWN SUGGESTIONS: Ronald offers a few suggestions beyond signal timing for slowing folks down and getting them to stop on Lead and Coal avenues:

  •  ”Cut tree branches that are blocking stop signs.
  •  ”Repaint stop lines.
  •  ”Install solar-lighted stop signs.
  •  ”Paint neon, directional arrows at each intersection to prevent wrong-way drivers, which are really common.
  •  ”Install speed tables 100 feet prior to every intersection to limit speed. … Drivers must be doing the speed limit before entering the speed table or suffer the very uncomfortable result of going too fast. Speeders may experience large repair bills. … They work. No if, ands or buts. …

WILL ANYTHING WORK? Finally, the rest-in-red plan hit Nancy’s “incredulity chord.” She asks, “What makes anyone think ‘adjusting signal timing, additional signage, and significant media publicity’ will do anything to reduce speeds and crashes on Lead and Coal? Those poor people that live on such streets! Why not just put up a few Drive Courteously signs?”


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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