City tests HAWK signal for pedestrians at Alvarado and Lomas - Albuquerque Journal

City tests HAWK signal for pedestrians at Alvarado and Lomas

METRO AREA GETS MORE HAWK-ISH ON SIGNALS: Albuquerque has installed a HAWK (high-intensity activated crosswalk) signal at Alvarado and Lomas NE for cyclists and pedestrians as part of the 50-mile activity loop project.

Last year, Bernalillo County used a federal grant to install a HAWK signal mid-block on Isleta near McEwen to help students at Kit Carson Elementary and Ernie Pyle Middle schools cross that busy arterial safely.

And since the HAWK setup is relatively new to the metro area, city public information officer Melanie Martinez has this primer for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists:

  • When a pedestrian pushes the button, the vehicle signal will flash yellow for several seconds to alert drivers that a pedestrian or bicyclist is going to cross.
  • Next it will display a solid yellow to give motorists enough time to stop at the crosswalk.
  • Then the vehicle signal will go to solid red, and pedestrians will be given a walking person symbol.
  • After the WALK time expires, the vehicle signal will flash red in an alternating pattern while the pedestrians continue across the street with a flashing DON’T WALK signal. When the vehicle signal is flashing red, motorists may proceed after stopping if the pedestrians have crossed their half of the street.
  • After enough time has passed for pedestrians to complete their crossing, the vehicle signal will go dark and the pedestrian signal will revert to the solid raised-hand symbol until the pedestrian push button is pressed again.

Martinez says the city “will evaluate how this signal works and how the community responds” before installing additional HAWKs.

WHY CAN’T WE TEST-DRIVE THE RIO GRANDE ROUNDABOUT? Rich Glantz wants to know why, if the intersection at Candelaria is so dangerous, the city is waiting to install a full roundabout rather than doing interim traffic calming measures.

City Councilor Isaac Benton says Rich’s proposals, including a sandbag roundabout model and a flashing four-way stop, were deemed “not possible” and not a simulation, respectively, by the Department of Municipal Development. He says the city is focused on moving “forward with the roundabout construction … not spending DMD’s time and funds implementing his concept of a simulation.”

And DMD says “an ‘interim solution’ to simulate a roundabout via signs and striping would not be a prudent or efficient use of taxpayer dollars” and “performing an ‘interim solution’ to ‘diet’ the facility would jeopardize the city’s ability to use the capital outlay funds that have been appropriated for the purpose of conducting a feasibility study to determine whether or not narrowing the roadway from Griegos to … south of Candelaria causes traffic issues on other parallel facilities.”

“We are on schedule to be able to go to construction of the roundabout later this year.”

TRAMWAY/CENTRAL HAS DRIVERS GOING RIGHT TO GET LEFT: John Ward emails that “in turning left off Tramway at Central, the sign is backward – it says I-40 right lane, U.S. 66 left lane. I have seen more than my share of drivers frantically trying to get into the left lane, but having to drive on and try to turn around, or go all the way to Carnuel, to get back to I-40.”

Melissa Dosher of the New Mexico Department of Transportation explains “the intent of the sign is to alert motorists that there are two left-turn lanes (at southbound) Tramway” to head east “that give them access to both N.M. 333 and I-40. We can understand there may be some confusion, so we will review to determine the best fix.”

WHERE DOES “MENAUL” COME FROM? Roger Ffolkes asks via email “where the street name “Menaul” comes from. Reads to be of French derivation, but I hope there’s a good story behind it.”

Here it is, from the book “Atrisco to Zena Lona; A Snappy Survey of Albuquerque Street Names” by Judy Nickell:

“Menaul was originally Menaul School Road, named for the school. The school gets its name from the Irish-born (the Rev.) James A. Menaul who came to Albuquerque in 1881 when the population was 2,200. He organized First Presbyterian Church with eight charter members. He also organized a school for Spanish-speaking boys that was later renamed Menaul School. In 1889 he left First Presbyterian to become a missionary. He died in 1897 and is buried in Albuquerque.”

Assistant editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; road@abqjournal.com; or P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, NM 87103.

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