Proposal would change one-way streets to two-way in downtown Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Albuquerque city council has the potential to make parts of downtown more pedestrian-friendly, whether it’s business, work, or pleasure.

“We walk or bike to the farmers market. We walk or bike here to the library, to Wells Park, all around,” said Muni Kulasinghe, a nearby resident. 

There’s always someone biking, or walking around Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza.

“I walk around, and I take my grandson to the park over here. But the traffic has been pretty rough over here in this area,” said Garcia. 

Between Fourth and Sixth Street, Tijeras and Marquette are one-way roads. Some pedestrians will agree, at least somewhat, traffic on those stretches can get dicey.

“I grew up in Albuquerque, so I know how to navigate Albuquerque. My wife is Québécois, and she’s like ‘What is wrong?'” said Kulasinghe. 

With recommendations from a 2014 Downtown Walkability Study, City Councilor Isaac Benton is hoping to make those streets safer by getting rid of that one-way stretch – making Tijeras and Marquette into two-way roads.

“I’d love to see it. I’d like to see Albuquerque, or downtown to be a lot more walkable, it would be really great,” said George Athens, a nearby resident. 

He says it’s a concept that has slowed traffic in other areas before.

“Unless they are planning on creating barriers and or changing traffic patterns in such a way that is going to drastically, inherently slow it down. No, it’s a terrible idea,” said Athens. 

Others aren’t so sure it’s enough to change driving habits.

“I’m also a New Mexican driver which we know what that means, and I take these kids to school, and I’m not punctual,” said Kulasinghe.

The two-way change is just part of a bill up for final action during Wednesday’s city council meeting. 

The legislation calls for a design analysis report and cost estimates by November.