We have been talking about the speeding issue in Corrales for months.
The mayor, village administrator and some council members have given several reasons for taking no action on our proposals. Among them is that the speed limit can’t be changed because the ordinance says that paved village roads must be 25 mph and that a traffic study is required to change the speed limit.
The ordinance actually says, “No person shall drive a vehicle on any street at a speed greater than twenty-five miles per hour on paved streets not otherwise posted with a lower speed limit duly established by the village or other governing authority.”
It also says, “No person shall drive a vehicle on any street at a speed greater than the lawful posted speed limit, as determined by an engineering study and traffic investigation conducted by the village or the New Mexico Department of Transportation … or local ordinance as provided by state statutes.”
It’s not well written, but it does not say that paved roads must be 25 mph or that a traffic study is required to change the speed limit.
Village officials also say a traffic study or permission from NMDOT may be required because West La Entrada intersects with Corrales Road. A quick call to NMDOT engineering found that this is only ever the case if a change is to be made to the intersection. Corrales can do anything it likes on village roads, up to and including striping narrow roads with lanes less than the standard 11 feet.
Another argument people make is that if you lower the limit on West La Entrada, the traffic will just go elsewhere. No problem. We have been saying all along that the measures we want to see on West La Entrada need to be implemented on all the problem streets, starting with through streets like Meadowlark and West Ella, Camino Hermosa, and other westside streets.
The recent data from the traffic cams on West La Entrada show about 350 vehicles per day travel that road in one direction, of which 30% were speeding. It looks like there are a lot of people using the road as a route between Loma Larga and Corrales Road. Whether they live in the village limits or not, they need to learn that none of the roads that Corralenos live on are speedways for their convenience.
Others have argued that we couldn’t enforce the speed limits because of police manpower issues. According to the village, we make about $19,000 a month in interest on our investments. I found professional quality speed control cameras in a hurried search for $16,000 each. If people know they are going to get tickets for speeding every time, they will slow down.
West La Entrada takes 4.08 minutes to traverse from Corrales Road to Loma Larga at 25 mph. At 15 mph it takes 6.48 minutes. It surpasses my understanding that anyone could object to spending 2.4 extra minutes two or three times a day to keep the kids, dogs, horses and bicycles on our streets a little safer. It’s time to stop privileging cars and drivers over people.
So we are proposing once again to lower the speed limit, center stripe and delineate the roadways, improve and increase the signage and implement a swift, severe and consistent enforcement policy. There is no obstacle to fixing the speeding problem on West La Entrada and other problem streets in Corrales. You don’t need anybody’s permission; you just have to act.
Rick Thaler is a Corrales resident who advocates for slower speeds and safer streets in the village.
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