Silver Hill residents and other community members including representatives from the University Heights Association met on Tuesday November 10th at the Heights Community Center, to discuss a proposal put forward by City Councilor Ike Benton for a bicycle crossing where the Silver Avenue Bicycle Boulevard meets University Blvd.

Although this area is not within the UHA boundaries, representatives from the UHA and other nearby neighborhood associations were also invited to attend, as the Silver Bike Boulevard crosses through multiple neighborhoods in Albuquerque. UHA President Ben Roberts attended.

City Councilor Ike Benton has said the Bike Boulevard on Silver is intended to supplement the existing bicycle lanes along Lead and Coal which are more suited for those bike commuters who are comfortable riding in heavy traffic or at a higher rate of speed. Instead, the Silver Bike Boulevard providing a safer, less trafficked route for cyclists who prefer more leisurely riding. For example families with children who want to ride together, or other riders who prefer to avoid Lead and Coal for whatever reason. As such the 6 lanes of University Boulevard currently present a challenge for these riders crossing University, and the goal of the proposed crossing is to improve safety at that intersection.

Ted Korbin of the City Traffic Engineering department ran the meeting, and explained the initial proposal was to extend the median on University Blvd to block left turns from University onto Silver in both directions, and also block cross-traffic across University on Silver, except for cyclists  who would have a refuge in the middle of University.  Pedestrians would also benefit from this crossing, according to Korbin.

You can download a PDF document of the original proposal here and zoom in to view the details. (Uploaded November 13, 2009)

Korbin reminded residents present that this initial meeting was intended to discuss the initial proposal for the crossing, and get feedback from the community and no final decision has been made yet, with residents and board members from Silver Hill asking for more time to discuss the matter.

Concerns about possible problems with the effectiveness of the crossing, and possible problems for emergency vehicles accessing Silver Avenue were raised by residents who live along Silver Avenue. However Korbin responded that the City always notified police and fire services of any new changes to roads and that access would not be a problem.

Residents of Silver Hill who have concerns or want to be notified about any future meetings may want to contact the Silver Hill board. University Heights residents can contact the UHA board.