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Readers raise questions about HAWK signal


After the city installed a High-Intensity Activated CrossWalk signal at Lomas and Alvarado for cyclists and pedestrians, reader feedback on the new system has been marching in.

Ike Eastvold emails he “tried to walk with my dog across Lomas from Alvarado using the new HAWK crossing.

“A cyclist ahead of me pressed the button and zoomed across, not looking to right or left. He felt safe. I was more cautious, having been struck by a hit-and-run driver on my bicycle five years ago. Two oncoming lanes of traffic did stop, but the third did not. A large landscaper truck with trailer zoomed through, followed by a passenger car, despite the red light. If I had plowed ahead as did the cyclist, I would have been creamed. If he had been following me, he would have been creamed. The HAWK crossing is unsafe because it creates the illusion of safety but is just as unsafe as crossing the old way.”

In addition, “the HAWK crossing also forces eastbound delivery semis for Rehms Nursery to detour through the neighborhood, entering on Cardenas or La Veta, and then driving through residential neighborhoods on Alice. … Residents … will be surprised next spring to see a stream of semis on their streets.”

Anne Burtnett adds “I think this is terrible – it confuses drivers who start to slow no matter if there is a light on or not. The red light is way too long and traffic gets backed up. Why not a regular street light like other corners?”

And Judy Ducharme emails she has “been wondering why Lomas and Alvarado for HAWK? I drive Lomas daily, different times. I have never seen anyone cross there – on foot, bike or baby carriage. I see pedestrians and bikes at other places, but never there. Have I been missing them, or why did the-powers-that-be choose that location to test a high-intensity activated crosswalk? Just wondering.”

So we turn to Melanie Martinez, program manager and public information officer for the city’s Department of Municipal Development.

1. What about driver confusion? “The yellow and red lights used by the HAWK signal follow the same convention as standard traffic control.”

2. What about cut-through traffic? “We would like to note that there are a number of alternative routes within the city’s roadway network that can be utilized by motorists to navigate in and around the area of the 50-mile activity loop.”

2. Why a HAWK signal? “The intersection of Lomas and Alvarado does not qualify for a traffic light.”

3. Why Lomas and Alvarado? She says “the HAWK signal is located at Lomas and Alvarado as part of the 50-mile activity loop … the city of Albuquerque’s proposed 50-mile, multiuse trail and bikeway facility that aims to fill the gaps in our existing trails and bikeways facilities to create a bicycling, running and walking loop around the city.”

Martinez adds that “if readers would like more info or to download the Trifold on the HAWK signal, (they can go to) located under Featured Projects.”

LOVING THE UNM-AREA ROAD WORK: That comes from Judy Jennings, who emails “the city recently finished re-surfacing streets in the university area, between Stanford and Vassar, between Lomas and Constitution. They also did concrete work, repairing driveways, etc. It was great. We live one block east of Girard, north of Lomas. Is there any plan for the city to continue this wonderful effort east of Girard?

Martinez says “we are happy to hear the positive feedback on the city’s rehab project. The area around Girard north of Lomas is on the five-year plan to undergo rehab.”

WHO WAS JUAN TABO? Steve Hermann emails “when my uncle came for a visit, he asked, as we drove around town, ‘who was Juan Tabo?’ I have Googled and asked others, but no one seems to know – do you?”

Author Judy Nickell takes a shot. In her “Atrisco to Zena Lona, A Snappy Survey of Albuquerque Street Names,” she writes “there are many legends, but nothing has turned up in black and white.” And she says a former University of New Mexico English professor researched the name and “his theory is that Juan Tabo was not a person, but possibly a group of people – probably the Taboso Indians of north Texas. They are akin to the Lipan Indians, also of Texas. It is conceivable, he wrote, that ‘Lipan Taboso’ could have evolved into Juan Tabo.”

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


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