- Special Sections
- Public Notices
At the request of a previous writer and the county engineering department, I would like to express my view of the current options being presented for improving Trinity Drive. I completely agree that Trinity is an eyesore and dangerous to pedestrians and bicyclists and some intersections are quite dangerous for vehicles as well. It is a good idea to fix it.
However, any fix based on reducing lanes on Trinity is doomed to failure. Anyone who was downtown between 5-7 p.m., Dec. 16 during the major snowfall can tell you that the current number of lanes on Trinity is insufficient. Downtown and truck bypass traffic was stopped and/or crawling for hours. Anyone who works at the lab can tell you that on snow days, it can take hours to get home, even living in Los Alamos, due to traffic back up from N.M. 502. The real need is for the front hill road and the truck route to be widened to four lanes rather than reducing lanes on Trinity Drive.
I totally support widening Trinity Drive, and I realize some property would have to be acquired in order to do so. Nevertheless, I think it is time for planning and engineering to bite the bullet and insist on a system that really works despite political obstacles. There is a great deal of political support for more bike lanes, trees and pedestrian walkways and there are creative ways to add all of the above, but they would require acquiring more land.
I do not know what to say about traffic circles as solutions to the intersection problems. I think the one at Diamond Drive and San Ildefonso works very well, but the traffic there is much lighter. I am not sure putting in traffic circles that handle four lanes of traffic would work here, and I certainly would not start with eight or 10. Try one four-lane traffic circle and see if it works.
Trinity has long needed a stop light at 20th Street. In spite of multiple requests and accidents, this light has not been installed because the county doesn’t have even the small amount of land necessary for it. There are times when public safety should trump private ownership. This is one.
And though snow storms at quitting time should be enough to dissuade council from narrowing Trinity, an important event to consider is the need for evacuation in an emergency. It was difficult to do so during the Cerro Grande Fire and it would be even more difficult with a narrower Trinity Drive and 10 traffic circles. I believe we should always provide for orderly evacuation of Los Alamos.
Betty Ann Gunther