City installs new traffic lights along Lead and Coal

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Lead and Coal corridors are two of the busiest streets in Albuquerque. They are also known for being dangerous and even deadly stretches of road, but the city is trying to change that.

In the 18 years Lisa Hammitt and Sally Trefethen’s home has bordered Lead at Walter, they say they have seen more than their fair share of traffic crashes.

“You see those yellow barriers there?” Trefethen said while pointing out the posts to a KOB 4 crew. “That house got crashed into numerous times in the space of a year.”

The Lead and Coal Safety Brigade shared hundreds of photos with KOB, showing how crashes have impacted several homes over the years.

“Across bike lanes, on the sidewalks and into homes, putting bicycles, pedestrians and residents at risk of injury and death,” group organizer Joseph Aguirre said.

That is why the City of Albuquerque installed two new traffic lights at Walter and Lead and Walter at Coal, that will start working in the coming weeks.

“This is just another traffic-calming measure that we’ve implemented along those corridors to help bring down speeds and make the corridor safer,” said Scott Cilke, the Public Information Officer for the city’s Department of Municipal Development. “Between the automated speed enforcement program, ‘Rest in Red,’ and the new signals on Walter, we hope that those are really nice steps that we’re taking to make the corridor more safe.”

But residents like Hammit, Trefethen and Aguirre—who have lived next to these busy streets for decades—worry what the city has done and plans to do will not be enough.

“No, it’s not enough,” Aguirre told KOB 4. “There needs to be agreement on what the goal is as far as enforcement of speed.”

A third-party road safety audit for the city, released last year, recommended a speed limit of 25 miles per hour on Lead and Coal. The current speed limit is 30.

“It’s only 60 feet of right away,” Aguirre said. “Homes are 15 feet away from the asphalt from the curb. Logically, common sense to us as residents, 25 miles per hour is what’s going to make it safe.”

“So, when it comes to lowering the speed limit, that is something that we are considering and will consider in the future, and if there comes a time that we deem that’s the appropriate action to take, then that’s certainly something that we’ll consider,” Cilke said.