More on Traffic Counts and A.R.T.: Lead/Coal/Zuni

On Monday, we began what will probably be a series of reports and tentative analysis based on traffic count data supplied to BB by the Mid-Region Council of Governments. “MRCOG” conducts counts once every three years, and as pointed out in our look at the numbers for Central Avenue, that three-year window serendipitously happens to fit well on either side of construction for Albuquerque Rapid Transit A.R.T.

Noting the rather dramatic drop in traffic on Central illustrated in the data, a reader brought up Lead/Coal/Zuni as a likely “victim” in that it would see increased traffic. Nevertheless, a look at data for this parallel east/west corridor largely doesn’t seem to indicate that an sizable increase in traffic has occurred.

The word “seem” is very important in considering the charts below, as the counts range between 2014 to 2016 in the “prior” period and 2018 to 2019 in the “during/after” period, keeping in mind not only the dates of A.R.T. construction (~October 2016 to ~May 2018), but also the traffic disruption/count changes in the restriping of Zuni in 2016 resulting “road diet,” i.e., driving lane reduction and gloriously wide (although unprotected physically) bike lanes.

So much change in these important east-west corridors to/from Downtown, as well as the overall complexity of other east/west traffic patterns on I-40, Lomas, Gibson, etc., make for an analytical conundrum, which is either problematic or fun, depending on one’s view on analytical conundrums.

Okay, caveats and disclaimers aside, here are two charts beginning with Lead/Zuni and moving to Coal/Zuni:

Lead Zuni

coal zuni

We see a mix of generally small rises/drops between the two periods, with the notable exception of a 21% rise along Lead and 12% jump along Coal between Yale Blvd. and roughly Carlisle.

These particular numbers conform to the sentiment of those living in that immediate area: more drivers are using Lead and Coal in Nob Hill; however, the increases on Lead/Coal (~2,600 per day on Lead and ~1,600 on Coal) are only an arguably small fraction of the ~12,000 daily drop shown on Central in its parallel stretch. Keeping caveats and disclaimers very much in mind, it would appear many of those driving Central before A.R.T. construction are choosing routes/methods other than Lead/Coal.

Also interesting are the numbers for Zuni, shown in duplicate above for flow purposes. It appears in this small sample/range that the road diet has had a meaningful downward effect on driving usage east of San Mateo and beyond (from ~3,500 to ~6,500 per day). This interest is compounded by even greater count drops on Central east of San Mateo (over 10,000 per day!)? Where are all these drivers? What new routes/methods, if any, are they using to get east/west? Or have they stopped trying/don’t have reason to drive anymore?

With all these and other questions in mind, we’ll take a look at another east-west corridor in an upcoming post to, again tentatively, answer that question you’re already asking:

What about Lomas Boulevard?




6 thoughts on “More on Traffic Counts and A.R.T.: Lead/Coal/Zuni

  1. These changes in Lead-Coal may “seem” statistically less than dramatic, but for those of us living along Lead-Coal, our quality of life has significantly worsened. Both Lead and Coal continue to have serious crashes threatening life, limb, and property. These crashes have increased since A.R.T., and make life as a pedestrian or cyclist even more dangerous. As a pedestrian myself – a senior who can no longer drive – crossing or walking along Lead-Coal has become frightening in the extreme. Several months ago the shrapnel from a crash one block east hit my bedroom window at two-o-clock in the morning. The car itself landed just a few feet from my neighbor’s house and plowed up her front yard. This was the second time for this neighbor in just a few months. Our group, the Lead-Coal Safety Brigade, has documented crashes like these and those even more horrific. We have dealt with city and state officials and agencies for years, and recently the mayor reneged on a hard-won, well documented agreement for a federal traffic study. For more info on what life is really like for those of us trying to live safely along these streets visit our Facebook page:, or view our crash photos: Thank you for your time and attention.


    1. Mera: I’ve had the chance to check out your group’s work and it’s impressive. The proximity of homes to the road itself certainly makes for some harrowing photos. Good luck to you in addressing this danger. As for the federal traffic study, keeping in mind that the City would not necessarily be obligated to enact any of the changes recommended, I’m not personally a big believer in such studies. Thanks much for your comments and readership. – Scot


      1. Drag racing at all hours. Gunshots. Property damage, injuries and deaths, both human and animal. Much worse since A.R.T., unrelenting since the virus. Help from APD – Thank you so very much! – dismissal, denial, and reneging on the promise of a Road Safety Audit from the mayor.

        If you have been affected, we ask that you email the mayor directly and state your concerns: or

        If you have photos, so much the better. If not, please feel free to use those relevant to your concerns from our site:


    2. I live on the corridor, and to me it doesn’t seem *too* different. However, there are far too many fast drivers and that is the problem. I wouldn’t place the blame on this on ART, which has made Central much safer, but would argue that Coal/Lead have lanes that were designed far too wide. In Downtown, Coal and Lead were recently restriped with narrower lanes and protected bike lanes. This stretch now feels much calmer and safer, and is much more pleasant to walk and cycle on. I hope the city considers narrowing the auto lanes east of I-25 as well as implementing a separated bike lane. I cycle on Coal/Lead daily, and it can definitely feel scary once you pass I-25 (not to mention how many people leave their trash and recycling cans in the bike lane!). I can’t see your group page as it’s private and I don’t use Facebook, but I do hope narrowing the lanes and widening the bike lanes has support in your group! Living on the corridor myself, this is one of several solutions I support (as well as adding a light at Walter and/or Edith, and near Cornell/Sycamore, etc). The downtown restripe (in my eyes) has been a fabulous success that I’d love to see implemented all along the corridor.


  2. Thanks for your comments and readership, JBM. Just a +1 on your widening of bike lane/narrowing of driving lanes on Lead/Coal. It’s actually a candidate for some bike lane buffer with physical protections in the numerous spots, particularly Coal, with no driveways (e.g., Roosevelt Park). The big project on Lead/Coal happened just prior to the changing mindset on what constitutes adequate bike/driving lane width. The new Development Process Manual (City guidance on such things) would not allow the widths currently in place there. – Scot


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