- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Dear Los Alamos County Council,
I am writing as a member of the LA County Transportation Board, and in support of the so-called Zimmerman option for the improvement of N.M. 502 between Knecht St. and Airport Rd.
As a member of the T Board, I was not satisfied with any of the individual recommendations presented to us by the TAC.
Some did not do enough to improve safety and traffic flow at the intersection of Trinity and Central. One had unnecessary roundabouts at Tewa and Airport, while others had severe over capacity and cost with 4 or 5 lanes through Eastern Area out to Airport Rd.
Had it not been for Mr. Zimmerman’s presentation, I was already prepared as an individual board member to put forward such an option.
The Zimmerman option provides significant improvements to this section of road as follows:
1) A well-designed roundabout at Trinity and Central appears to improve traffic flow and safety. If professional traffic engineers contracted to the County can demonstrate that a signalized intersection here is superior in all aspects of performance, then I can accept their judgement.
2) The introduction of two HAWK pedestrian crossings will greatly enhance pedestrian safety in the Eastern Area. Most pedestrian crossing will occur to the pool and churches midday and have minimal impact on rush hour traffic.
3) The retention of single-lane primary roadways with well-designed turning bays and bus pullouts will improve traffic flow over the present arrangement. It maintains natural traffic calming and lower speed limits to lessen road noise in the Eastern Area.
4) The Zimmerman option does not alter the “choke point” for N.M. 502, which is the roadway descending the mountain to the east of Los Alamos.
I am deeply opposed to the four- and five- lane options through Eastern Area. They cause the following detrimental effects.
1) A few blocks of additional four- or five-lane highway provides no real improvement to traffic flow due to the existing choke points already on the mountain.
2) The HAWK system is less effective on a 4 or 5 lane road in providing for pedestrian safety, although it is better than nothing.
3) A four- or five-lane roadway will likely require land acquisition and considerable extra cost.
4) A four- or five-lane roadway will encourage speeding in Eastern Area, greatly increasing the noise problem.
5) No intersection east of Central is warranted for traffic lights, forcing residents of Eastern Area to deal with a faster more dangerous highway when entering or exiting a four- or five-lane road.