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Straight arrows are not recommended for straight-only lane markings

ALAMEDA DOESN’T GET A STRAIGHT ARROW: Sondra Diepen emails that “at Alameda and Interstate 25 heading east at the stop light, there are three lanes. An arrow painted in the right lane shows right-turn only.

On that frontage road there are a couple of lanes, but one needs to get to the far left one to access the freeway. Some drivers think they can turn right from the middle lane on Alameda, which can cause a collision with two drivers heading for the same lane. I have come close to an accident several times.

“What would solve this is an arrow in the center lane of Alameda pointing straight ahead with the word ‘ONLY.’ ”

But it turns out that would be against traffic control standards.

Melanie Martinez, program manager and public information officer for the city’s Department of Municipal Development, explains “turn arrows are placed when lanes drop, as in the case for Alameda eastbound at I-25. According to the standard for signs, signals and pavement markings outlined in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, straight arrows can be placed in locations where a lane serves as a combination through and right turn. Straight arrows are not recommended for through traffic only.”

TIRED OF BLOCKED SIDEWALKS: Dolphx emails a photo of an overgrown sidewalk in his neighborhood and writes “I was hoping you could do a piece about plants and vehicles blocking sidewalks around Albuquerque.”

The sidewalk on Pioneer NE, near Paseo del Norte and Barstow, is routinely blocked with overgrown bushes and illegally parked vehicles, according to a resident.

The sidewalk on Pioneer NE, near Paseo del Norte and Barstow, is routinely blocked with overgrown bushes and illegally parked vehicles, according to a resident.

“Our neighborhood at Paseo del Norte and Barstow has dozens of points where the sidewalk is unsafe or impossible to cross – just past these plants is an 18-inch dropoff that would hurt any pedestrian. I’ve often wondered if the Albuquerque Police Department could swing through the neighborhood to just hit up the sidewalk-blocking cars around 7 p.m.; we’d clear up a lot more of our sidewalk. I’d say less than 75 percent the miles of sidewalk in our neighborhood is passable on a given evening.”

Regarding overgrowth, the city Planning and Zoning Department advises “it’s best to contact 311 regarding these types of concerns. They can ensure that the service request is assigned to the correct city agency depending upon the type of reported obstruction.”

Regarding vehicles, it is illegal to block a sidewalk – N.M. State Statute 66-7-351 A1 reads “No person shall stop, stand or park a vehicle, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or traffic-control device, in any of the following places: (1) on a sidewalk.”

APD, which is tasked with many things regarding public safety, has asked in the past for neighbors to actually talk with each other. Barring that, clipping this column and posting it on a windshield might get the message across.

AND BUSTED-DOWN CARS: CL emails “Have you noticed the many vehicles in Albuquerque that have tail and brakes out? In Texas they check brakes, lights and emissions. Let’s add checking lights to our emissions check.”

We’ve tried.

Earlier this year, a column looked at the inspections and found back in the ’70s, state law set the cost of a vehicle inspection at $1. Shops said they couldn’t afford to do comprehensive inspections – including pulling wheels off to inspect brakes – for that paltry fee. And so the Legislature, unwilling to change the fee structure, phased them out in 1976.

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.