High School Traffic Update

TCA Board member Helen Zagona attended the Las Cruces City Council meeting pn Monday February 22. At the council meeting, the annexation of the new high school and traffic improvements were discussed. Here is Helen’s report:

   Here is a brief update of changes in the situation involving the new high school traffic.  Yesterday the Las Cruces City Council did vote to annex the new high school area as reported in the Sun-News.  Many thanks to those who came to the Council Meeting.  Even those who did not speak helped our cause by being present.  The Council did notice our presence and listened to those of us who did speak about our concerns.  The Sun-News got some of the details of the plans for the roads, not all were correct. 
      Here are the facts: 

1.  The HS probably will not open until August, 2012 instead of 2011.  The current plan is for Freshmen and Sophomores to begin classes then.  Redistricting is ongoing and will determine which area’s students will attend. 

2.  The School District (LCPS) has agreed to construct ONE HALF the width of Sonoma Ranch (SR) Blvd from the school to the intersection with Dripping Springs (DS) Rd.  This means that the roadway will be two lanes wide instead of four lanes.  If development ever takes place on the other side of SR Blvd (to the east), that developer will be required to finish the other half of the width of the road.  SR Blvd to the north of the school will remain a dirt road.  This road is listed as a secondary access to the school and much discussion took place as to whether leaving this a dirt road could be a problem in the event of flooding, especially for emergency vehicles.

3.  LCPS agreed to re-construct the intersection of DS Road and SR Blvd.  Plans show the road with two lanes for traffic in the intersection going east and two going west on DS Road (traffic not turning) and one very long (440′)left turn lane to enter SR Blvd from east-bound DS Rd.  Bicycling lanes will remain on each side.  The intersection will be at right angles so traffic coming from the school will be able to see traffic coming from the A-Mountain curve.  Bohannon Houston, the engineering firm estimates that there will be an 800′ sight distance for drivers approaching the intersection from the A-Mountain curve—enough, they say to stop safely if necessary.  After much discussion it was agreed that a traffic light would be necessary when the school opens so LCPS is planning to put one in just prior to that time.

4.  The City agreed to contract with Dona Ana County to maintain DS Rd up to the SR Blvd intersection.  With various stipulations the annexation was passed without including DS Rd.

5.  Requests for funding have been made to the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), to the State Transportation Dept and to Congressman Teague’s office to complete roads leading to the high school from the north and west, thus easing traffic flow on DS Rd.

Some things we would like to see:
1.  A closed campus at lunch time.  For all grades, not just 9 and 10.  This is especially important because of the one-road access.  DS Rd traffic would be much less during the mid-day period.  Please make your opinions known to LCPS:  our School Board member is Maria Flores,maflores54@gmail.com, 644-9612.  You may attend a Board Meeting in person and speak during the public comment session at the beginning of the meeting.
2.   Funding for additional road access to the school.  This will make children much safer going to and from school.  Please address your comments to the MPO, to the State Transportation Dept and to Congressman Teague’s office.