In designing (which unfortunately might be too grand a term for how its actually unfolded) our bicycle network, the intention has been for bike riders to use Prospect Rd. just south of Menaul as a short east-west connector between the Bike Route on Edith and the Bike Lane on Broadway.
There are only two problems with this recommendation. Okay, actually there are more than two, but let’s go with these big two:
- Menaul School. Yes, one can get to Menaul School from the south by riding the bike lane on Broadway. But that’s the other problem…
- Broadway. Sure, Broadway/NM-47 has a bike lane. It also had an Average Weekday Traffic Count of 14,615 in 2016 and a speedway feel uncomfortable for almost all cyclists. It also has one of these bastards:
Yes, that dreaded “bike lane unconscionably ends just before the really busy intersection” son-of-a-bitch of bike “infrastructure.” Instead of some form of “mixing zone” striping with tons of green paint, dashed lines, anything, the intrepid cyclist is basically told, “You’re completely on your own here. Good Luck!”
Of course, such piss-poor (I’m really trying to expand my variety of swear words these days) attempts at intersection striping can be found all over town. What’s “funny” about this particular attempt is that the restriping happened only two years ago in 2016:
And the most fall-down “funny” part of it all: The 2016 Broadway restriping was done AFTER Albuquerque enacted its Complete Streets Ordinance in January, 2015.
Naturally, all of Broadway in this stretch, ************* Menaul intersection included, is shown as having a bike lane on the interactive bike map above. So yeah, kids are encouraged to ride their bikes north to Menaul School by using Prospect as a connector from Edith to Broadway. </sarcasm>
Meanwhile, let’s zoom in to see how tempting going directly up Edith to Menaul School is:
There’s the school with its terra-cotta colored red-roofed buildings, just over there! We just have to cross Menaul after a pleasant ride up Edith. Heck, as many cyclists know, Edith Boulevard is one of the most pleasant rides in town, all the way down past Coal Avenue from here.
We’ve had a lovely time (except for that light at Lomas). And now all we have to do is cross Menaul. That’s another way of saying “all we have to do is make it through this game of Russian Roulette with four bullets in the chamber.”
Safe Routes to School, my ass.
So what’s the solution here? Because we’re really about solutions here at BB, even if it might seem otherwise. Well, we could dramatically improve the intersection of Broadway & Menaul, but any mixing zone has shortcomings unless we can physically separate cyclists from motorists. That could happen, and it would be very much precedent setting here, but this intersection, bad as it is, doesn’t seem likely as precedent-setter.
Better would be to dramatically change the current Wild West with two-ton metal horses intersection at Menaul & Edith. Having followed City traffic engineering a bit in recent years, it is very possible that any attempt to put a red light or other signal at Menaul/Edith has been thwarted by a Traffic Engineering Department hell-bent on putting the kibosh on any red lights within 1,500 or so feet from one another.
The distance between Edith and Broadway is just under 1,000 feet. But the distance between the City’s Traffic Engineering Department we knew under Mayor Berry is growing every day with the Keller Administration. To use some non-words, what was kiboshed then has a better chance of dekiboshifying itself now. That includes fixing Menaul & Edith, and fixing the bicycle network there and throughout the area.