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On a warm October morning, 17 AARP and RSVP volunteers took to the streets around Las Cruces to see for themselves how safe the roads were and to help city officials identify problem areas and possible solutions.
About 17 intersections were surveyed Oct. 28 and 29th with the congested areas of Telshor Blvd., University, Main, and Valley Drive especially targeted.
“Most volunteers had pretty favorable comments,” said Bill Wozniak, AARP Executive Council Member and Las Cruces AARP Chapter president. “But there were a few concerns. Once we tally up the survey sheets, we’ll have a clearer picture of what areas might be problematic.”
One concern included that the button to push for the walk light was too far away from the actual street.
“In some cases, the button to push was about 40 yards from the street and if the light changes suddenly, someone who can’t move that fast or has a disability might be at a disadvantage trying to get across the street,” Wozniak said.
Some of the other concerns included the distance or speed of traffic tearing through an intersection.
“I was walking with one volunteer who uses a cane and she just flat out refused to cross a couple of the intersections. First of all the distance to cross the street was too long, secondly was the speed of the traffic and third was the unmarked crosswalk. She felt it was too dangerous,” Wozniak said.
Surveyors monitored the intersections to evaluate issues such as crosswalk markings, curb cuts, timing of traffic signals, traffic behavior, number of lanes to cross, walk/don’t walk signal lights, and possible obstructions to pedestrians both visually and physically.
“Now that the survey is completed and all the results have been turned in, we’ll compile the results into a preliminary report and present it to the Las Cruces city engineers and subsequently the final report will be presented to the full city council for further action,” Wozniak said.
He expects to have the report completed by the end of November or early December.
AARP volunteers in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque conducted similar surveys in those cities. The city of Santa Fe’s Public Works Department is already working on implementing some of the recommendations indicated by the survey’s findings.