An astonishing communication kicks off D’Val Westphal’s latest Albuquerque Journal “Road Warrior” column:
HITTING THE PEDESTRIAN HAVEN: Michael Coe says in an early April email that “there is a slab of concrete to ‘protect’ pedestrians located on the west side of the intersection of Second and Alameda that impedes traffic.”
Michael says, “You can see it was put in within the last year at a location that many of us run over because it is in the way – (just) see black rubber marks on the side!”
He asks, “Can this be removed and put the pedestrian area somewhere else? I drive this intersection over 100 times a week – I counted! – and have NEVER seen a pedestrian in that area.”
There is much to digest and ponder from Mr. Coe here regarding everything from the profoundly sad thought of someone driving through an intersection, any intersection, “over 100 times a week – I counted!” to use of words like ‘protect’ in scare quotes, “impedes” and “many of us run over…”
Topping/ending the rant is that old chestnut of misplaced pedestrian correlation/causality intended to be a full-on QED “gotcha” of argumentative finality: “… and have NEVER seen a pedestrian in that area.”
Foregoing my grating tendency to write way too many words in defense of a certain counter-argument, let’s primarily just take a look or two at the “slab of concrete to ‘protect’ pedestrians…” and other current features at the intersection of Alameda and 2nd St.
In short, it appears that Mr. Coe’s motoring alarm centers on his belief that the turning radius of the further left/inside turn lane from 2nd doesn’t allow one to maintain one’s speed while making this turn, and, is thus, bad traffic engineering. That this engineering is evidently done to appease apparently nonexistent walkers across Alameda only furthers how much of Mr. Coe’s goat is got, so to speak.
And to keep the words low and my proselytizing even lower, I merely pass along Mr. Coe’s sentiments to illustrate the extent we must change the driving culture in this country to get anywhere close to a situation in which Mr. Coe would EVER see somebody walking across Alameda at 2nd Street in all his 100 weekly trips through this intersection.
Meanwhile, the walkers and cyclists are coming…
Perhaps to the chagrin of Mr. Coe and others leaving the “black rubber marks” to which he refers in his rant, the 2nd Street north-south corridor is central to the North Valley’s Alameda Drain Master Plan Project, which has just started construction. The Project is a complete game-changer in multimodal travel through the Valley, particularly along the 2nd Street corridor.
While intersection crossings like Alameda are one of the toughest engineering tasks in the Project, here’s an example of how busy crossings like 2nd at Alameda might be reconfigured looking north/south along 2nd Street on the westside of Alameda, current site of the “concrete slab”:
One is very, very tempted to ask: “How do you like them apples, Mr. Coe?” but that would be hubris, and hubris doesn’t get big multimodal projects done. So we’re most definitely NOT asking that question.
Ergo, it just so happens that the intersection in question here will be radically transformed by a Master Plan Project. Everybody is going to have to slow down, or quite a few people, kids included, are gonna be dead. More broadly, perhaps we could slow down all over town/country, as is not-so-implicitly requested by placement of that “concrete slab” at Alameda and 2nd Street.
Maybe if we’d slow down all over town/country, we’d all see folks walking and cycling across stroads like Alameda Blvd. at 2nd. Maybe every single time in the 100 times-a-week we passed through such an intersection. Maybe.