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Difficult access to Paradise Boulevard

STUCK TRYING TO GET ON PARADISE: Margie emails ” I live in Paradise Hills, and it is very difficult to access Paradise Boulevard (from the north) during rush hour. Why can’t we get a stop sign somewhere on Paradise – maybe at Justin – to help residents get onto Paradise Boulevard?”

Margie has “noticed that it is 1.2 miles from Golf Course to Unser on Paradise – a much traveled road – with no stop sign, while Irving – (which is 1.4 miles and much less traveled) has a stop sign. How can we get some relief from the rush-hour traffic?”

Go halfway across and wait for a break in traffic, or go the back way via Irving.

Robert Baker, Bernalillo County’s signs and signals expert, says Paradise does have a “two-stage gap acceptance where (drivers) use the median/center turn lane as a refuge and wait for a second gap. The refuge allows the minor street driver to cross the two major streams coming from both directions independently.”

David Mitchell, director of the county’s Operations and Maintenance Department, says that while “there are no rules preventing the maneuver,” it may be easier to skip Paradise at rush hours.

“There are seven alternative exits onto less congested roads available within 1,800 feet of almost any point of Paradise Hills north of Paradise Boulevard. The difficulty is exactly in the volume of traffic that has been consistently carried by Paradise Boulevard despite the construction of Paseo del Norte through the petroglyphs. Signal and stop sign warrants required to install such features on Paradise Boulevard will never be met because of the relatively small side street volumes relative to the main line of Paradise Boulevard. The agencies can’t just put them in at their discretion; an official Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices warrant is required.”

Mitchell says “Justin has been specifically evaluated before, and it doesn’t warrant. None of the other side-road connections would be appropriate for the same reason.”

“Your writer can pick from amongst the other lower-volume roads around her, or engage in two-stage gap acceptance on Paradise, which has the wide center lane that enables it.”

THIRD-GRADERS GET BUS SHELTER IN GEAR: Students at Tierra Antigua Elementary School spent last spring studying how to participate in government. In May, they wrote to the city and asked it to improve the lone bus stop on the No. 162-Ventura Commuter route.

And just over a year later, they got to see their participation pay off.

Thursday, the now-fourth-graders joined city Transit and Department of Municipal Development officials to dedicate the new stop – complete with shelter, bench, solar lighting and a concrete pad connected to the sidewalk – on Rainbow across from Volcano Vista High School.

DMD Director Michael Riordan says “these students identified an issue that could improve our community and took action as concerned citizens to bring it to our attention. Now, what was once just a bus stop sign on the shoulder of the road is now a fully-accessible ADA shelter with shade.”

IMPATIENT TO GET OUT OF THE MOVIE PARKING LOT: Sgs1 emails “I recently encountered a bad problem at the intersection of Premiere and Southern (in Rio Rancho). I was leaving Wal-Mart’s parking lot, about to go straight across Southern into the Premiere Cinema’s parking lot. I was in the “straight-ahead” lane, facing south.

“There were several cars opposite me, waiting to leave PC’s parking lot and wanting to turn left (they would end up heading west on Southern). My light turned green, and I began to move forward. I had to put on the brakes – I was very surprised when all the ‘left-turn’ cars began to turn right in front of me! Evidently they had gotten a green left-arrow light. … Thank goodness my car is a little slow off the mark – if I had hit the gas on getting the green light there could have been a bad fender-bender here.”

And there still might be if sgs1’s update reveals a standard post-movie driving practice.

“Over the weekend I checked out the Premiere side – there is no green arrow, though maybe there should be,” the email says. “So the cars that turned left in front of me were just careless drivers!”

Assistant editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays and West Siders and Rio Ranchoans on Saturdays. Reach her at 823-3858;; P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M. 87103; or go to to read previous columns and join in the conversation.