U.S. 550 plans too important to ignore - Albuquerque Journal

U.S. 550 plans too important to ignore

I am a resident of Bernalillo and followed an announcement in the Journal inviting the public to an open meeting regarding proposed U.S. 550 improvements. I attended along with a full house of other interested folks. The section of U.S. 550 under study extends from our Main Street through Bernalillo and continues west to N.M. 528.

Three options were presented. Two included the construction of a three-lane bridge on the north side of the existing bridge, continuing west with plans for extensive road lane construction and “acquired” right of way, plus at least one access road realignment and stop light. Plus, plus, plus …

There was a colorful slide that pegged local Bernalillo vehicle movement at roughly one-third of total traffic flow. Time savings for other folks commuting from/to N.M. 528 could be reduced by 10 minutes or so with proposed improvements.

These numbers suggested to one astute observer in the audience that improvements to U.S. 550 would be an accommodation for the many drivers who rush through our town twice a day with little benefit to Bernalillo. Just more noise from stop-and-go traffic patterns at the lights.

Where was a Journal reporter? Many fine folks in the affected corridor thought this meeting was pretty darn important and showed up! Questions from the audience tackled the presenters, “Had they factored in the impact of future Paseo del Volcan traffic spilling onto U.S. 550?” They had not! We were told “It’s too far out!” Not for Mayor Torres, Santa Ana Pueblo representatives and other concerned long-time members of the community!

This is one opinion and perspective; had a Journal reporter been in attendance, perhaps better and finer details would have been presented more clearly and on your pages.

I believe this is a very important issue that affects the Rio Grande Valley, the culture and historical communities it holds and nurtures. I hope to see coverage on your pages of any and all U.S. 550 improvements or expansions as they develop.

An important traffic artery such as this must not end up as a quickly made, short-term safer speedway for single-occupant-daily-drivers! I favor the first option presented at this meeting, the “Do Nothing Option,” at least until we figure out a way to build a sensible future for us all!

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