Welcome to Your Relative Nightmare: Lead Avenue Cones v. Senate Judiciary Committee

It was a nightmare for drivers.

That’s the lead sentence in a KRQE report on the supposed Conradian horrors created by CABQ’s Department of Municipal Development (DMD) putting up some cones to temporarily make Coal and Lead Avenue one lane instead of two. While it’s very, very, very true that outreach and implementation are not DMD strengths, perhaps the use of the word “nightmare” for the resultant traffic slowdowns caused is exaggerating a wee bit.

the horror of lead one lane
“The horror…..the horror…”

As nightmares go, waiting in traffic a few minutes is not quite up there with current national events, “Heart of Darkness,” or even that annual nightmare K-12 teachers have right before the school year starts in which they are totally unprepared and forget to put on clothes.

In addition to the typical local “slow news day” for anything other than the near daily gun violence and traffic deaths, it is worth noting that the stopped/slowed traffic on Lead is only newsworthy here because drivers in our car-centric city are almost never forced to slow down in any way. This week’s “nightmare” would never be news in countless American cities where congestion is the norm and zooming unimpeded not considered quite such a Constitutionally-protected right.

Burque’s “Give me driving convenience or give me the number of my City Councilor” mentality has historically resulted in an interesting array of public policy decisions that drivers take for granted. For instance, intersection signal timing has overwhelmingly been centered on moving drivers through intersections as efficiently as possible, with very underwhelming regard for the safety and convenience of those walking or cycling through intersections.

You wonder why just about nobody walks or cycles Albuquerque streets? Oh, there are reasons for that, and the reaction of both drivers and news outlets about this week’s “nightmare” are prime illustration of those reasons.

Have a great weekend, everybody. As nightmare-free as possible given the veritable conscious nightmares we’re currently experiencing.


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