Nearly a year later, unorthodox traffic light still a headache for many | KOB 4

Nearly a year later, unorthodox traffic light still a headache for many

Brittany Costello
October 22, 2017 05:18 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Though it’s been erected for about a year, an unorthodox traffic signal in southeast Albuquerque meant to make crossing the street easier for pedestrians is still confounding drivers, and potentially endangering those on foot in the process.


At first glance, it’s easy to think the traffic light at Lomas and Alvarado is non-operational. Most of the time, all three lights are dark.

That’s intentional. 

With the HAWK signal ("High intensity activated crosswalk") traffic can move along without stopping. That is, until a bicyclist or pedestrian wants to cross.

When they press the button to cross, the lights turn on and flash yellow, and then go to solid yellow. A red light then enters the fray, solid at first, and then it starts flashing.

“A lot of people wouldn’t even stop when they’d see it blinking, (or) whether it was solid,” said Joshua Deale, who works at the nearby Rehm’s Nursery. “So a lot of pedestrians were very cautious.”

Deale said there was major confusion when the light was first installed, and people still haven’t seemed to figure it out.

“You hear all kinds of honking, a lot of people getting really frustrated (and) yelling out of their vehicles. And pedestrians a lot of times will get stuck in the middle, not knowing what to do,” he said.

Here’s how the light works:

  • When it is flashing yellow, cars approaching the intersection should begin to slow down.
  • When the light is a solid yellow, cars should be preparing for a total stop.
  • When the double red lights pop up, motorists should be at a complete stop.
  • When the light is flashing red, vehicles are allowed to proceed through slowly, yielding to those who may be crossing.

“I think it’s the biggest waste of money that Albuquerque has ever put into anything,” said John Boynton, one of many frustrated by the light.

It’s proven to be not only a headache for motorists but also cyclists like Boynton, who said he rides 16 to 18 miles a day. When he arrives at the intersection, he said he doesn’t even bother pressing the button the cross.

“I do like the island in the middle (of the street),” he said. “It makes that a lot easier.”

Just a few months ago, city officials told KOB they believed everything at the intersection was “operating fairly successfully.”


Brittany Costello

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved


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