FAQs

How will the projects impact development and preservation of character along the Rio Grande Boulevard corridor?

    A: The two projects have nothing to do with land development and are not associated with the corridor plan draft that was previously proposed. These projects are public right of way improvement projects. Councilor Benton strongly support preserving and protecting the agricultural character of the corridor, which was greatly compromised when the existing grossly-oversized roadway was built.

Won't a roundabout be problematic because of Valley High students?

    A: A video illustrating proper roundabout use has been produced by the City and widely disseminated. Councilor Benton will work with APS to ensure that Rio Grande High School students will be instructed in roundabout use. The City of Rio Rancho reports that a roundabout near their high school functions very well despite similar fears expressed prior to its construction. Aggressive recreational driving behavior at roundabouts occurs, as it does on other roadway facilities, but is rare. The nature of roundabouts is that even speeders have to slow down.

Will there be property assessments associated with the project?

    A: There will be no property assessments associated with the project.

Couldn't law enforcement address the issues at the intersection?

    A: There will always be scofflaws. Our police department is currently understaffed and does not have the capacity for continuous targeted traffic enforcement. Periodic enforcement will continue, but modern speed enforcement utilizes roadway geometry to calm traffic.

Is there sufficient emergency access and how will the roundabout operate during an evacuation?

    A: The roundabout is designed for emergency vehicle use. It will function in major emergencies when traffic signals would not have power.

What about the inconvenience of construction?

    A: Construction inconvenience is a fact of life. We're not going to stop improving our streets because the projects are a temporary aggravation.

The corridor is full of dead end streets. Will a roundabout affect the ability to get in and out of these streets?

    A: The roundabout will not reduce access and egress from the areas it serves, and at most hours will greatly improve them.

Access for Large Trailers and Emergency Vehicles

1. Will a school bus, fire truck, refuse truck, emergency ambulance, SUV, horse and hay trailer, RV, construction trailer, etc., be able to maneuver the roundabout safely and quickly?

    A: Yes. The roundabout features a tiered curb design with a mountable center apron so that both emergency vehicles and vehicles hauling large trailers will be able to navigate it safely.

2. Will the emergency vehicles be stuck in a slow traffic jam at the roundabout? How will they get to their destination fast?

    A: Emergency vehicles needing to access the intersection during busy times will drive up to the intersection using the center left turn lane, and then merge into traffic just before entering the intersection.

Alternatives

1. What alternatives were considered for this intersection other than a roundabout?

    A: The City did work with a consultant to study a number of alternatives:

  • Police enforcement - To have consistent enforcement would require patrolling the corridor for a number of hours every day at an hourly cost of $39 for wages and benefits for a police officer, not including the cost of the police vehicle. this would add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. In addition, officers would have to leave Rio Grande whenever a call for service was received and there is no guarantee this operating money would be available every year.
  • Radar signs - While these signs do remind drivers how fast they are going, they are not successful in slowing drivers who want to hurry through the corridor. The cost to install these signs is $50,000 and they are not successful in either slowing speeders or preventing crashes in the intersection.
  • Additional traffic signals - These would slow drivers but are not warranted under federal procedures and, as stated before, are very expensive - about $2.8 million per traffic signal over its life cycle.
  • Medians - Building medians one-half mile from the east, north and south approaches to the intersection would cost about $1.5 million. These would slow drivers who do not usually drive the corridor because they create the perception that the road is narrow. However medians do not reduce intersection crashes.

Commute Time and Access from Side Streets/Driveways

1. Will the roundabout slow my work/school commute during rush hours?

    A: One of the goals of the project is to decrease speeds along Rio Grande. A roundabout is a traffic calming measure and, as such, will slow down people's commute, on average, by less than one minute.

2. Will I be able to pull out of my driveway or side street on Rio Grande Boulevard near the intersection? How?

    A: The queues and flow of traffic will be constant during the rush hours in the morning and evening, just as they are now. However, the project will implement signage and "Do Not Block" pavement markings to allow residents to exit side streets and driveways.

3. Won't people start to use my street as a diversion to get around the roundabout traffic?

    A: Once the project is complete, the City will welcome feedback from residents on the subject of cut-through traffic via the City's 311 system. However, the City will wait 6-8 months for residents and commuters to get accustomed to the roundabout before considering an analysis.

Construction

1. How long will construction take?

    A: Construction is expected to take about five months.

2. How will traffic be diverted and what streets will be affected?

    A: We will work with the contractor to keep one lane of traffic open in each direction on Rio Grande as much time as possible and will use traffic control and other measures to discourage cut-through traffic on surrounding residential streets.

Miscellaneous

1. Will there be clear signage to the Rio Grande Nature Center?

    A: Yes.

Project Background

1. Was the public informed about this project?

    A: There have been a number of instances of public input and involvement. Specifically, public meetings in 2006, 2008, 2010 and two public meetings were scheduled this year. More detail on the public information process is included in the History section of this website.

2. When is the next information meeting for the public?

    A: September 27, 2012 from 5-8 p.m. at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th Street NW.

3. Who decided to start this project?

    A: It was started as a result of a public planning process (see History section of this website).

4. Why is a Roundabout being proposed at the intersection of Candelaria and Rio Grande?

    A: The roundabout is being proposed at this intersection to address concerns about speeding and the severity of accidents.

5. How do signalized intersections and roundabouts differ with interactions between autos, pedestrians, and bikes?

    A: There are fewer points of conflict in a roundabout (8 vehicle and 8 pedestrian or bicycle conflict points) versus a signalized intersection (32 vehicle and 24 pedestrian conflict points). As a result, the severity of crashes is decreased. The roundabout provides the motorist with a degree of driver expectancy when it comes to anticipating what other vehicles, motorists, and bicyclists will do when traversing the roundabout.

6. What is the overall effect of a roundabout on traffic flow?

    A: The roundabout will add, on average, about a 14-second delay to the commute along Rio Grande in the peak hours. However, the flow of traffic will be continuous.

Safety

1. What about the new drivers from Valley High School?

    A: We plan to distribute an educational video to Valley and other high schools that shows new drivers how to navigate a roundabout. Also, the City is currently working with Valley High School to install signage on San Lorenzo that limits use of that street to local traffic only.

2. Which are safer, signalized intersections or roundabouts? Which are better at calming traffic?

    A: Roundabouts are safer than signalized intersections. They reduce deaths from crashes by 90%; injuries from crashes by 76%; and pedestrian injuries by 35%. (Source: 2000 analysis of U.S. roundabout crash data by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Federal Highway Administration)

    Also, roundabout design creates a physical and visual point in the road that calms traffic. Speeds in the roundabout are reduced 15-25 miles per hour. This makes accidents between motorists and pedestrians/bicycles less severe. This equates to a 95% chance of survival for a pedestrian/bicyclist who may be involved in an accident, compared to only 15-45% chance of survival at signalized intersections (Source: Dover Kohl Charette Report, 2010)