With the news that the city council approved the funds to start work on Lead and Coal avenues, I decided to focus the next few weeks to those two thoroughfares. In case you haven't heard, Lead and Coal will be re-striped to hold two traffic lanes, a dedicated bike lane (yay!) and a parking lane. They will both stay one way streets, but hopefully with one less travel lane, cars will travel a bit slower. I also think they could use a stoplight at Edith and a few more crosswalks. Lead and Coal might transform into pedestrian friendly streets and could begin to support a few local businesses. With that in mind, I redesigned the old gas station at Walter and Coal. I think this place has the potential to become a friendly neighborhood coffee shop. Or a neighborhood nursery with crosswalks and a bike lane. Let me know what you think.


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Views: 10

Comment by Kelly on March 14, 2008 at 1:30pm
Interesting news. WIll the restriping go all the way from Downtown to Zuni?
Comment by Dave on March 14, 2008 at 1:38pm
I sometimes ride my bike to work at CNM's main campus...having dedicated bike lanes on Coal and Lead will make the ride here much safer.

The idea to change 3 lane roads in downtown areas to 2 lanes is fantastic. I hope changing University between Cesar Chavez and Central will happen. Crossing 3 lanes of road each direction, 6 lanes total...is challenging; I usually can just barely make it before the pedestrian signal changes. I wonder how older people do it?

I am not anti-car, as I do own one and use it occasionally, but do believe the days of favoring cars over everything else have to end. Walking, biking and buses shouldn't be considered 'alternative transportation' to cars; they should all be equal and given appropriate priority.
Comment by brendisimo on March 14, 2008 at 1:43pm
Dave,
I completely agree with you. The "alternative" modes (including trains and streetcars) of transportation you mention are actually much better long term solutions to transportation than simply building more and bigger roads for cars.
Kelly,
I think the re-striping will only take place from Washington to Broadway.
Comment by Pat O. on March 14, 2008 at 5:18pm
If someone needs to drive from west of Downtown to work on the base every day (and I have as recently as a year ago), Lead and Coal are much better ways to get over there. Speed limits are reasonable (not too high not too low), and there's not that much traffic.
Comment by Dave on March 14, 2008 at 6:42pm
Pat, in case you know anyone who is driving that route, they may not be aware that ABQRide added a new commuter route within the past year...317 goes from ATC down Lead then south on University and east on Gibson to the base. Afternoons, going back to ATC via Coal, it is packed with base people catching the RailRunner.
Comment by Phil_0 on March 14, 2008 at 6:42pm
The other reason Lead and Coal work so well is because their signals are coordinated...drive 30 mph and you'll make almost every light. Which is another reason why speeding there is so dumb.

Brendisimo, another great idea. Does anyone know what this building is at the present? It's got a sign up about its status as a historic Horn Oil Company station, but no other signs of life. (I think Caffe Michelangelo on Mountain Rd. in Wells Park was originally a Horn station as well).
Comment by hettie on March 14, 2008 at 6:45pm
between yale and I-25, lead is only two lanes and coal is only two lanes between I-25 and university. I wonder what they'll do on those sections? one lane, bike lane and parking? (that'd be my fav) or will they forgo the parking to keep two lanes? anybody know?

I live on lead and I imagine I share some of the same sentiments as folks who live on carlisle south of constitution or on girard between indian school and gibson. you just acknowledge that you live on a busy street and be really, really cautious when pulling out of your drive. I get really pissed off, though, by people who fly down lead at 40+ mph. the lights are timed people! and there are pedestrians, bikes, and even some kids who live a few houses down lead. grrr

to return to the topic, I think what you've done with the gas station space is great. I've always liked that little building. would there be any issues with old gas tanks or something that might keep a restaurant or cafe out of the space? that'd be cool, although I also love the idea of a small local nursery.

I really like these posts, brendisimo. always enjoyable.
Comment by Pat O. on March 14, 2008 at 9:02pm
Hettie--I always thought the little filling station would be a good coffee stand. I really don't think the concrete out front would be all that great as a hangout, but then I never thought the concrete in front of Kelly's would be that great as a hangout either. Shows what I know...
Comment by Camian on March 15, 2008 at 10:14am
Hi Brendy! Cute renderings, the one thing that is missing is some kind of visual fence that separates the outside dining/shopping area from the sidewalk and street. It doesn't have to be high, maybe only a few feet. It could be bushes, dwarf clumping bamboo (good CO2 absorption), a cute splitrail wood fence or even a nice metal fence with crawling vines. Just something to define the area so it doesn't feel like you are sitting on the street, more cozy and much more appealing to the consumer. Great work, keep it up!
Comment by Richard Malcolm on March 15, 2008 at 1:35pm
Brendisimo--cool idea about the coffee shop, and I agree with Camian about the barrier to give a sense of separation from the street . . . maybe cut down the traffic noise, too.

Truth is, I hate to lose the convenience of the stop-free cruise up Coal and down Lead. My concern is that squeezing the traffic into two lanes will slow it down to where you can't maintain the 30mph speed necessary to make all the lights. It boggles my mind that people still race from signal to signal, then stop and wait for the 30 mph traffic to catch up with them.

Here's my diatribe:
Timed signals save energy, reduce pollution, provide for more efficient transportation, and encourage safe driving. If you live near a stop sign or signal, you are painfully aware of the air and noise pollution when traffic stops, idles (at zero mpg), and then starts up again, roaring as it pumps extra pollution into your breathing space (acceleration is the most-polluting phase of internal-combustion operation, and did you know that every time you use your brakes, you are emitting a cloud of tiny particulates?). So, timed signals are an elegant solution, except for the clueless who ignore the timing.

A little thing and a big thing, then: first, flashing signals could be employed at intersections between the current lights on Lead/Coal. They'd be in synch with the overall timing scheme, and would further enforce the speed limit. (Flashing reds would keep vehicles from gaining temporary illusory advantage by speeding; they could switch to flashing yellow at the appropriate times. That would also allow for cross traffic to cross on a flashing yellow instead of a stop sign, reducing air and noise pollution.)

Second, using traffic studies and computer analysis, we could find other cross-town routes where traffic flow could be maximized by timing of signals, especially at peak-use times of day. The result: less air and noise pollution, reduced commute times, less-stressful travel, and contribution toward a culture of sane driving habits. (Well, that last may be a stretch.)

I agree with bluejays47 about encouraging alternative modes vs. punishing those who have little choice but to use the most effective system we've got. A simple 15-minute drive can take an hour or more on the bus--each way. Add the complications of children's schedules, groceries or other stuff to carry, weather, etc., and it's no wonder the buses run mostly empty. We need viable, attractive alternatives . . . if we build them, we will use them.

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