Valle de Oro Project Cleans Up 2nd at Desert Rd. Really, Really Good

Over the last couple of years, BB has periodically mentioned/photographed the 2nd Street improvements planned and implemented in tandem with the development of the new Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge.

Well, the County and Feds are just about done, and here’s a Before and After of that wickedly dangerous intersection of 2nd Street and Desert Rd. SW:

2nd and desert 2015
Before from Google Street View 2015. Just your typical curve meets on-coming traffic, meets train, meets truck with trailer, all with no signalization or roadway lighting.


2nd and desert 2019
After 2019 (yesterday): Good example of road infrastructure changes being hell of a lot better than the photograph

As the latter photograph was not taken by our Official Staff Photographer, it does a very poor job of illustrating the improvements. Let’s take another look that at least annotates some of these changes:

2nd and desert 2019 annotated


  1. Curvy red line: Two-way multi-use path with parallel guard rail that appears capable of surviving a nuclear blast (really; you should visit and check out these out!) and very expensive fence the railroad mandated that looks straight out of a border wall fence.
  2. Red boxes: Signs that say something like “TRAIN!!!11!!1!!” between the red lights at the intersection. BB could not confirm this is what the signs in fact say, as we didn’t wait around long enough for a train to come by (that wind was still kinda cold yesterday), but we’re pretty sure.
  3. Red circles: State-of-the-art pedestrian (bike) crossings with voice, countdown and such on both sides of 2nd Street. In case you don’t already know, the multi-use path crosses from east to west side of 2nd Street here, hence the far-side crosswalk and notch in the nuclear-blast durable guard rail.
  4. Red triangles: Brand-new street lights in an area previously unlit and far enough away from the City that it was a factor in making this previously crazy dangerous curve/intersection even more dangerous.

There are even fancy 2019 road signs at the intersection that make homely, little ‘ol Desert Road signed like LA’s Rodeo Drive. Riding/walking a bike through this intersection yesterday, along the nuclear-resistant level guard-rail, was almost like walking onto the set of “The Jetsons,” if “The Jetsons” had a set and wasn’t a cartoon. 2nd and Desert has gone from Transportation circa-1952 to Transpo 3000. You almost want to wear a space suit.

It’s something else.

Go check it out and report back if you don’t immediately begin wishing that every multi-modal crossing in town looked like this one. Yeah, sure, in “keeping it real” there are little touches missing elsewhere along 2nd with the project, such as how it’s largely impossible to access the multi-use path in places from 2nd Street, and that there are no crosswalks from the path directly to Mountain View Elementary School.

Still, walking and ridership along 2nd to/near Valle de Oro will, and already has, skyrocket (like “The Jetsons”) with these improvements, particularly as extension of the extremely popular Chavez Loop from the Bosque Path. In fact, one can easily imagine establishment of some sort of General Store out here in what has been pretty much the middle of nowhere.

*A store that would even be open on a colder Sunday morning.

As I think has been mentioned before, but deserves further mention, big kudos to all who had anything to do with this project, including those extraordinarily patient County folks who facilitated the public meetings and such that forged the designs and preferences we see today. Much appreciated!



*Yes, for those “in the know” from riding down here, this is a reference to that little general store at 2nd Street and Chavez Loop, the one that wasn’t open yesterday morning. Maybe one of these Sundays…

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