A chance to get Trinity right

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

I urge all citizens to consider the future of Trinity Drive, a major artery through our town whose function and use is currently being assessed. I wish to offer my thanks to the citizens’ committee, LA Walks and to the County of Los Alamos Traffic Engineering staff for hosting the two recent forums considering the future of Trinity Drive. I found them quite informative and I was pleased to see that over 100 citizens of Los Alamos County attended the last forum.

What became clear to me at these forums is that change on Trinity Drive is inevitable and that now is our chance to make Trinity a much more efficient and pleasant street than it currently is. Nearly the entire street is State Highway 502 and the Department of Transportation is seeking to transfer ownership and maintenance to the county. So now is the time for us to decide what we would like Trinity Drive to be. Because business and residential development on Trinity is going to alter how Trinity is used, “Complete Street” concepts must be considered.

Today’s traffic engineering design standards and regulations require that sidewalks conform to the “Americans with Disabilities” standards. Modern traffic controls and intersection treatments are required to accommodate, even encourage, multiple uses of roads and to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders as well as automobiles. It is no longer acceptable, or even allowed, to build streets that serve only cars. Modern streets must serve all users and regulations now enforce these new standards.

I was impressed to see how elegantly many of these new standards incorporate all users, including vehicle drivers. As for recommendation for continuous-flow treatments-or roundabouts, I can confirm from our experience living in England, where roundabouts are extensively used, that they are the most efficient method for moving automotive vehicles through intersections. At the same time, roundabouts create a more pleasant, welcoming and safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists. Likewise, traffic-calming and channeling methods reduce serious accidents for motorists while allowing safe pedestrian crossings-especially when aided by pedestrian-crossing devices that alert motorists of pedestrians in a cross walk.

Now is the best time to consider the future of Trinity Drive, when we can influence and shape the coming changes. Attend future workshops, forums and meetings concerning the Trinity Drive/NM502 changes and make your opinions heard!

Donald Machen

Los Alamos

Agree on one point only

I won't revisit my many other disagreements with this letter. I will record just one. The crossings at roundabouts present definite problems for those who have limited eyesight or mobility. NCHRP-672 states "Pedestrians who are blind or have low vision have several areas of difficulty when crossing a roundabout." I'm not sure how roundabout promoters, designers, and builders can get around the ADA, but they seem to.

The only point of agreement is this: I, too urge citizens to consider the NM502 Study. However, my recommendation is made because the Study is full of rosy dreams. If you haven't paid attention, or have been taking the MIG Study and roundabout P.R. at face value, please consider some of the downsides and problems associated with the proposed changes: visit www.wcmead.org and click on NM502 Study.

William Mead