Albuquerque police crack down on pedestrians standing on medians

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque Police Department is enforcing the city’s new median safety ordinance that applies to narrow medians at busy intersections.

Pedestrian deaths have doubled since last year. There have been 14 deaths so far this year.

Officers started giving warnings about the new ordinance on May 15, and began enforcing with citations this week. 12 citations were issued Monday.

The ordinance states it is unlawful for any person to stand in any travel lane of a street, highway, or controlled access roadway or any travel lane of the exit or entrance ramps. There are 15 priority locations that APD is monitoring as enforcement begins.

“We know there are individuals across the city who frequent our medians for a multitude of reasons, but this presents safety concerns for them and drivers,” Chief Harold Medina said. “We decided to begin enforcement of this ordinance slowly, with warnings to educate the public that this is a citable offense, but also to spread word of the dangers.”

“We don’t want to see one more person struck by a vehicle in Albuquerque, and ramping up enforcement efforts is the right thing to do to keep pedestrians and drivers safe,” Mayor Tim Keller said. “We will continue to invest in solutions that make folks safer as they travel throughout our city.”

Once the warning period is over, officers will begin issuing citations.

Just over a year ago, a federal court ruled the city’s efforts to block panhandling on medians was unconstitutional and violated rights to freedom of speech.

“This third law, which passed in January, is only about safety on four-foot medians regardless, and our legal team at least believes that will stand up in court,” Keller said.

A rep from the ACLU of New Mexico called the move a cover up:

“It is no secret that the city’s goal is to sweep under the rug individuals seeking assistance from their neighbors on Albuquerque’s streets. Despite the city’s use of language like “pedestrian safety” and “median enforcement,” we all know that these are anti-panhandling measures dressed up in public safety clothes. The intent is and has always been to drive the most vulnerable and desperate in our community out of public spaces where they are most visible. The solution to homelessness is not to attack and criminalize our unhoused community members but to provide quality housing to all who need it, something that the city has consistently failed to do. Residents of Albuquerque need to be open to the prospect of construction of quality affordable housing in all neighborhoods in our city and to get away from the Not In My Backyard mentality that creates barriers to solving our housing crisis.”

However, Keller said this is about saving lives.

“We’ve all been there at night in Albuquerque, driving, scared about pedestrians jumping in front of us — this happens all over town,” Keller said. “In these particularly dangerous intersections, we do need to enforce these laws.”

Below is a list of the 15 locations where signs have been placed alerting pedestrians not to stand on medians:

  • Montano and 4th Street
  • Indian School and Carlisle
  • Carlisle and Lomas
  • Louisiana and Menaul
  • Avenida Cesar Chavez and Broadway
  • Copper and Eubank
  • Montgomery and Louisiana
  • Menaul and San Mateo
  • Menaul and San Pedro
  • University and Gibson
  • Yale and Gibson
  • Montano and Coors
  • Ellison and Coors
  • Coors and Irving
  • Alameda and Corrales