Public invited to design changes for NM 502

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By Kirsten Laskey

The NM 502 Transportation Corridor Study wants the public to have a hand in this project – literally,
During a community workshop from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Fuller Lodge, participants will be broken into groups and asked to develop their own design for the corridor.
Besides offering the community a hands-on activity for this project, the workshop will also feature a presentation regarding existing conditions and members of the audience will be able to offer their own goals and visions for the corridor.
Betsy Lucido, engineering project manager, said commuters, residents and visitors use the corridor, which is a 4.2-mile stretch of road that runs from the county line to Diamond Drive.
The corridor runs through a variety of landscapes from open space and residences to urban development and downtown areas.
The study is a capital improvement project that Los Alamos County Council approved and a contract was awarded to MIG, Inc., which is based out of Portland, in July.
They will ultimately come up with three plans for the corridor. The three plans will receive review from the community before one plan is chosen. The study will result in a schematic design for the New Mexico Department of Transportation to use for reconstructing NM502 between Tewa Loop and Knecht Street, according to the county Web site. NMDOT is expected to begin its project in 2012.
Additionally, the project will provide an analysis of how the eventually recommended NM 502 changes would impact surrounding roadways, the county Web site reports.  
To successfully complete this project, Lucido said the public’s help is needed.
“What we want is a plan people can build to as the project comes up,” she said.
In addition to the NMDOT’s project, there is a lot of future activity being planned along the corridor. Lucido identified the Trinity redevelopment project and the work at Entrada Business Park as a few of the projects on this stretch of road.
“There’s a lot going on,” she said.
 While everyone has a stake in this project, some of the significant stakeholders are business owners.
“I think businesses have a big stake in how Trinity Drive operates,” Kevin Holsapple, executive director of the Los Alamos Commerce Development Corporation, said.
He added business owners have concerns regarding access to and from their properties along Trinity Drive as well as the ability to cross the street safely.
Safety and convenience also come up with issues concerning connecting Trinity to Central Avenue and other locations, Holsapple said.
Another issue is Trinity’s overall appearance. “I think a lot of people do not think it’s an attractive street,” he said.
There have been several opportunities for different stakeholders to voice their opinions on the project. Listening sessions were held in September.
Public input is important, Lucido said. By allowing them to make their own designs during the upcoming workshop, she said, “I think it will help residents and users (of the corridor) to see what’s possible in the corridor.”