Another Walking Death Along the “High Fatal and Injury Network”

A person was killed trying to walk across/near Coors Blvd. Bypass and Ellison Rd. NW last night. The intersection adjacent to Cibola High School and ABQ Ride’s Northwest Transit Center, also just down the street from Cottonwood Mall, is identified on the Mid-Region Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MRMPO) “High Fatal and Injury Network (HFIN).” This important measure is explained by MRMPO thus:

The High Fatal and Injury Network (HFIN)

MRMPO was able to identify recurring patterns in specific locations to target problem areas and responsibly invest limited funding. For example, the High Fatal and Injury network (HFIN) includes all fatal and injury crashes – it focuses on the most dangerous streets and intersections. Specifically, those corridors and intersections that are over, or 2 times, the mean for large urban, small urban, and rural areas. Pedestrian crashes per mile over the mean are also included.

This information is not meant to comment on what has not been done, but rather be a guide for future decision making so that we can make the greatest impact. Another analysis done through this planning effort looked at roadways that may be candidates for potential Road Diets which is also provided in an interactive map below.

This targeted approach (the HFIN) is particularly important since 64% of the total fatalities and injuries occur on only 7% of the Major Roads (Collectors and Arterials) network.

Stretches of Coors Blvd. very much “help” in constituting 7% of our major roads and 64% of our deaths/injury crashes, particularly all of Coors between Ladera and Central on either side of I-40, and at/near Coors and Blake in the deep South Valley. Just as at Coors/Ellison, a plethora of reasons to drive/bike/bus/walk combine with inadequate roadway infrastructure to keep everyone safe while trying to do so.

MRMPO and its sister organization Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG) have an online map denoting HFIN stretches (in red) along with 2011-2015 crash data one can access through clicks. Here’s how that looks at Ellison and Coors Bypass:

hfin ellison and coors bypass

There’s always a bit of lag in data collection, but one can now also find 2016 crash data available via a similar map. Such data collection and analysis from it looks to become increasingly crucial as the multiple governmental entities (City, County, State) adopt and refine Vision Zero and Complete Streets pledges/measures.

Transforming Coors Blvd from transportation death trap will not be cheap, initially popular with those who just like to zoom along it, or jurisdictionally easy (State road, much of it in County interwoven with City stretches). If we are to ever truly address these issues, data illustrations of just how dangerous stroads like Coors are will play an absolutely essential role in overcoming these implementation obstacles.

Anecdotally, I don’t make it up to Coors Bypass and Ellison much, but on a lark rode a bike up through the area back in January, catching the Blue Line Rapid Ride back into town. Even on a Saturday, I can report waiting, unprotected by a big metal box with wheels, for the light to change at Coors/Ellison was uncomfortable. Much roadway safety improvement might be accomplished if every area resident had the “opportunity” to bike or walk through this intersection. Same goes with every intersection in town identified as HFIN.

But such community-wide personal experience won’t happen. In lieu of that we have ongoing data collection, statistics that will now very unfortunately include what happened last night at Coors Bypass and Ellison NW.


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