New flashing yellow arrow signal installed in NW Albuquerque | KOB 4

New flashing yellow arrow signal installed in NW Albuquerque

Casey Torres
Updated: November 07, 2019 11:14 AM
Created: November 07, 2019 08:07 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A new flashing yellow arrow signal was installed at the intersection of Coors Boulevard and St. Joseph’s Drive last week. The signal has four left arrows placed vertically near the intersection

The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) and the City’s Department of Municipal Development are working together to make traffic flow at the busy intersection better.


City Councilor Ken Sanchez has backed up the project that has become the first signal of its kind in Albuquerque.

"The reason we need to do that is because of the amount of traffic that is in that intersection, as well as the amount of traffic that turns to and from St. Pius (High School) in the mornings and in the evenings,” said Johnny Chandler, the public information officer with the city’s Department of Municipal Development. 

However, they city wants to make sure any confused drivers learn the rules of the new light.

  • Green always means go.
  • A flashing yellow arrow is what most drivers seem to be confused with. When drivers see the yellow arrow flashing, it means they can turn left with caution since there is oncoming traffic. Drivers must yield to pedestrians and other cars who have the right of way.
  • A solid yellow arrow means drivers need to prepare to stop or complete their left turn before the red light comes on.
  • A red light, of course, means to stop.

The pattern will usually start from a green arrow, to a flashing yellow, then a solid yellow and finally a red.

The pattern does change to help with school traffic – usually from 7:20 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. Monday through Friday. The green light will stay on for about 30 seconds to act as a protected left turn signal for drivers to turn onto St. Pius High School without a problem. Because of the time allotted, there will be no flashing yellow arrow. Instead, the light will go from green to a solid yellow which stays on for about five seconds before turning red.

It can be confusing while seeing it for the first time, but the city and NMDOT hope it will make daily commutes faster and safer once drivers get it down.

"It’s to improve that intersection and improve the driving to help the traffic flow,” Chandler said .

Rio Rancho and Bernalillo County also have flashing yellow arrow signals.

The city said there aren’t any plans to install more yet. They want to see how drivers respond to the current one.

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