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:
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?