Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Update on Albuquerque’s Vision Zero initiative

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) — In 2019, the city of Albuquerque launched an ambitious program called Vision Zero to end pedestrian deaths, but two years later, accident statistics show that the number of pedestrian deaths in the city remains constant and dozens are killed every year. It’s been a bleak year for Albuquerque’s pedestrians, punctuated by the tragic hit and run death of seven-year-old Pronoy Bhattacharya, who was struck outside the River of Lights.

City unveils Vision Zero ABQ action plan to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities

“We went out immediately after the accident. We wanted to make sure this intersection ticked all the boxes,” said Patrick Montoya, director of the Department of Municipal Development. He says traffic-wise it’s at the Central Ave intersection. and Tingley Dr. nothing wrong. “It’s an unfortunate, unfortunate situation, but the city has done everything it can to protect this intersection,” Montoya said.

Montoya acknowledges that other crossbreeds need work. “Well, I think there’s always room for improvement, and that’s one of the reasons Mayor Keller has committed to implementing Vision Zero in the city of Albuquerque,” he said.

Mayor Tim Keller launched the Vision Zero initiative in 2019 with the goal of reducing the number of pedestrian fatalities and injuries to zero by 2040. Looking back over the last three years, the number of pedestrian fatalities under Vision Zero has remained largely constant with 38 people killed in 2021; 17 of the 38 were killed in hit and runs. Montoya says work is underway to lower that number. “One of the things we’re really focused on is integrating Vision Zero into the future design of our roads,” he said.

Montoya says they are both re-evaluating current hotspot crossings and looking forward to major projects at the works along Paseo Del Norte, Unser, San Pedro, McMahon and Wyoming and say they could add more flashing crosswalk signals and raised crosswalks. “It’s really not a raised crosswalk itself…it’s reflective material built into the asphalt that warns the pedestrian and really makes them think before they cross, thinking they’re on a raised surface,” said Montoya.

The report ranks New Mexico #1 for pedestrian fatalities for 2020

He believes this work, which is taking place now, can help protect pedestrians, but says both pedestrians and drivers share this responsibility. “We can have the safest roads in the world, but if you have a driver who is disabled or has someone on the phone, they have to take some responsibility,” Montoya said.

As of Tuesday, a new director will take over the Vision Zero initiative. The city says it will have a $4 million budget to help design safer streets and intersections. Nationwide, pedestrian deaths are at their highest in at least a decade. New Mexico Department of Transportation data shows 99 pedestrians were killed on New Mexico roads in 2021; that’s a significant increase from 81 in 2020 and 83 in 2019.

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