The NM502 Corridor Study will include the 4.2 mile stretch of New Mexico 502, also known as East Road / Trinity Drive, from the Los Alamos County line to Diamond Drive.
The Transportation Corridor Study and Plan (TCSP) will consider all modes of transportation as equal and provide for the safety and comfort of the most vulnerable such as children and the elderly within the public right of way. Working closely with various stakeholders as well as the Transportation Board, the proposed improvements resulting from the TCSP will result in an efficient transportation corridor that also supports social and economic vitality in Los Alamos.
A secondary component of this plan is analysis of how the eventually recommended NM502 changes would impact surrounding roadways, including Central Avenue, Diamond Drive, East Jemez Road, State Road 4, and NM502 east of the County line.
The study will result, in part, in a schematic design for the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) to use for the reconstruction of NM502 between Tewa Loop and Knecht Street, which is currently scheduled for construction in 2013.
One of the various multi-modal components to be considered includes the bicycling public. Review the Council-approved Los Alamos County 2005 Bicycle Transportation System Plan.
Please Note: The scope of this project has been changed by Council direction to focus on a shorter NM502 / Trinity Drive roadway segment, which is further explained under the below Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Update.
News and Updates as of February 8, 2012
In a 6-1 vote, County Council motion approved Motion Option 1.
Councilor Wismer moved, seconded by Councilor Berting, that Council direct staff to relay to the NM Department of Transportation the County's preference to move forward with the following design criteria, subject to such minor modifications as may be needed to implement best engineering practices that do not change the basic features of the design, for NM502/Trinity Drive section between DP Road and Airport Road:
Motion Option 1 - NM502 Hybrid Design with a Roundabout at Central described as follows: one lane in each direction with widened medians at the intersections of Airport Road and Tewa Loop that are designed for a travel speed of 35 miles per hour; west of Tewa Loop NM502 will be one lane each direction with a center median for landscaping, left turn bays, and pedestrian refuge; up to two pedestrian hybrid beacons (HAWKs) will be installed between the Tewa Loop and Canyon Road intersections; the Canyon Road intersections will be reconfigured to increase deflection to reduce vehicle speeds; between Canyon Road and Central Ave or where determined necessary by the NM Department of Transportation, two east bound lanes from Central will merge to one east bound lane; the center median will continue along with one west bound lane; the Central Ave and 4th Street intersections with NM502 will be combined into one intersection controlled by a roundabout; west of Central and 4th, NM502 will have two east bound lanes, a center median, and one west bound lane; the DP Road intersection will be reconfigured using existing right-of-way to be more of a 90 degree intersection with NM502; and west of the DP Road intersection, NM502 will connect to the existing road section of two lanes east bound, a center median, and two lanes west bound; sidewalks will be included on both sides of NM502 from Tewa Loop to DP Road. This option is to be modified to incorporate bicycle lanes or bicycle paths where it is physically viable and cost-effectively feasible to so do in the opinion of the NM Department of Transportation and Los Alamos County. The motion passed 6 – 1; Councilor Chiravalle opposed.
Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Update:
TAC Background: Based on Council direction provided at the September 6 Council meeting,County staff has resumed Technical Advisory Committee meetings with a broader membership. Committee members include representatives from citizen interest groups including LA Walks and LA Bikes, adjacent residential areas, businesses, citizen petitioners, NMDOT, LANL, the County's Transportation Board and Environmental Sustainability Board, and county staff. A facilitator has been hired to help the committee stay on task and focus on facts in order to meet Council's direction to return to Council at a future work session in December with specific design alternatives consistent with the goals identified in the Los Alamos Street Design Policy. Areas of focus will be the section of NM502/Trinity Drive between DP Road and Airport Road. Designs to be considered include, but are not limited to, the 2007 NMDOT design, two lane roundabouts with either two or four lane road, a four lane option with signalized control and pedestrian crossings. Information associated with each option will include associated pros and cons, right of way options, and potential use of hybrid pedestrian systems.
The first TAC meeting was held on October 11, where ground rules were established and the facilitator provided notes.
The second TAC meeting was held on October 25, and the facilitator has again provided meeting notes.
The third TAC meeting was held on November 8, where Parsons Brinckerhoff discussed signalized intersection options. A formal presentation was not generated; however, meeting notes and the slides shown are available for review.
The fourth TAC meeting was held on November 29, where Ourston Roundabout Engineering discussed roundabout options. Meeting notes and Ourston's presentation are available for review.
The December 13 meeting was canceled due to weather and rescheduled to January 4. During this meeting, TAC members listed pro's and con's for the various options. After the meeting, each TAC member was asked to individually assess each pro and con and indicate agreement with which pro's and con's they support as a valid pro or con. Agreeing with a pro or con does not necessarily indicate support of a specific option. The pros and cons and the TAC member responses are included in the final TAC Report. Staff prepared a matrix showing what modifications could fit in the existing right of way.
At the January 12 Special Transportation Board meeting, staff provided a presentation and the TAC's pros and cons were explained for each of the options (see TAC Report above). During the meeting, the Board was informed that another graphic had been developed by staff depicting the various intersection treatment options. The graphic, which included widened medians at Airport Road and Tewa Loop as well as potential pedestrian crossing locations, included two overlays for the intersection at Central -- either a roundabout OR signal. A written description has been prepared. View the stitched together pictures by clicking on roundabout or signal above (you will need to zoom in and out to view). The various options will be discussed in detail at the January 19 Special Transportation Board meeting, 5:30 p.m., at the Pajarito Cliffs Site Conference Room.
At the January 19 Transportation Board meeting, staff formally presented a combination of intersection treatments based on various desired goals discussed as part of the TAC deliberations (see roundabout, signal, or written description link above).
After the staff presentation and a discussion about the County adopted Policy for the Design of Streets and Rights-of-Way in Los Alamos County and what are the most important objectives, criteria, and values important in making a decision about the NM502 design, the Transportation Board made the following motion (DRAFT until approved as part of the formal minutes): Whereas Traffic calming would be achieved to a vehicular speed target of 35 mph at intersections with Airport and Tewa, and sound levels between Airport and Tewa would be lowered by reduced and stabilized vehicle speeds, and sound levels would be further reduced via low-noise asphalt and a new sound wall, and pedestrian accommodation and safety would be enhanced between the Central intersection and Tewa with the addition of two HAWK crossings, and the option of bicycle lanes remains at the discretion of County staff, and through traffic would not incur additional periodic stoplight delays, and traffic calming would be achieved at the intersection with Central, and traffic safety would be improved at the DP road intersection, the Transportation Board motions to Council a recommendation to approve the hybrid 502-segment design with a roundabout at Central, as presented by Kyle Zimmerman. The motion passed 5-1 with the Chair abstaining.
Council is scheduled to discuss this issue at their February 7 Council meeting at 7 p.m. in the Community Building Council Chambers.
Background (prior to Sept 6, 2011):
Budgeted in FY10 at $200,000 for the TCSP, staff issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) Planning and Engineering Services for the NM502 TCSP; two proposals were received and rejected due to the high cost, which significantly exceeded the budget allocation.
A revised RFP with reduced scope was issued. The scope reductions included eliminating the environmental clearance and public involvement components; the environmental clearance would be performed by the State prior to construction, and County staff would manage the public involvement in-house. In order to further control project costs, the revised scope built upon the significant public involvement and design work already completed by County staff as part of the Downtown Street Standards by including the seven proposed conceptual Trinity Drive cross sections developed by the Committee. These concepts were previously presented to the public at a workshop in January 2009, and again at a forum held in March 2009.
The study will incorporate public information, education, and involvement as the consultant works to reduce the seven provided concepts to three, and the development of a final recommendation for Council consideration.
On July 27, Council awarded this project to MIG, Inc., in the amount of $318,629. The consultant attended the September 2 Transportation Board meeting to gather input from various stakeholders as well as the Transportation Board.
The first NM 502 Transportation Corridor Study Community Workshop was held on Wednesday, October 6, with 54 members of the public attending.
The consultant presented an Analysis of Existing Conditions that showed current assets, issues, and oportunities for improved transportation circulation. The second part of the presentaton focused on Case Studies and Best Practices with potential streetscape examples from other communities and "tools in the toolbox." After the presentation, those in attendance split into three groups to identify issues and potential solutions throughout the corridor.
Public comment gathered at the workshop was reviewed and applied where possible to generate solutions and create alternatives for public review at the next meeting.
Close to 100 people attended the second NM502 Transportation Corridor Study Community Workshop which was held on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 to review the presentation of the four alternatives. Before the presentation, attendees were able to review the different alternatives on large display boards and speak with Project Team representatives. Following the presentation, a Q&A session was held. Thanks to those who took time out of their busy schedule to attend!
On Wednesday, November 17 the Project Team representatives presented a detailed overview of the developed four alternatives to the Environmental Sustainability Board. Click here to view the Environmental Sustainability Board's recommendation.
The same presentation was then provided to the Transportation Board when the Board Chair made the following motion (draft): Mr. Spencer moved that the Transportation Board advise Council to direct staff to concentrate on A1 and A2 and direct staff to further engage the public and businesses, and to provide cost estimates to the Board and public. Seconded by Mr. Moses. Approved 6-0; one member absent.
Close to 55 people attended the NM502 Transportation Corridor Study meeting which was held on Tuesday, January 11, 2011. The consultant reviewed the design alternatives that were developed based on input from the September meetings as well as meeting with the general public in October. Click here to view the design alternatives presented.
At the January 25 Council meeting, MIG staff presented the NM 502 Transportation Corridor Study. Councilor Hall moved, seconded by Councilor Wismer that Council direct staff to move forward with NM 502 Comprehensive Transportation Corridor Study and Plan alternates A2 and A3 for further study. The motion passed 5-2, Councilors Chiravalle and Selvage opposed.
Click here to view the presentation.
Close to 25 people attended the Oppenheimer/Central Public Meeting that was held on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at the Reel Deal Theater. The Consultant's presentation included existing conditions, issues, constraints, assets, potential solutions, and community input. Following the presentation, a Q&A session was held. Thanks to those who took time out of their busy schedule to attend!
Close to 20 people attended the Noise Mitigation Public Meeting that was held on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at the Fire Administration Training Room. The Consultant's presentation included the purpose of the study, and current noise levels. Thanks to those who took time out of their busy schedule to attend!
Close to 80 people attended the NM 502 Community / Transportation Board Meeting that was held on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at Fuller Lodge. The Consultant's presentation included a Refined Preferred Concepts Review. Thanks to those who took time out of their busy schedule to attend!
Close to 20 people attended the Central / Oppenheimer Public Meeting that was held on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at the Mesa Public Library. The Consultant's presentation included an overview of the project and preliminary alternatives. Thanks to those who took time out of their busy schedule to attend!
Close to 20 people attended the Noise Mitigation Public Meeting that was held on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at the Fire Administration Building. The Consultant's presentation included potential noise reduction measures, an overview of the project, and preliminary alternatives. Thanks to those who took time out of their busy schedule to attend!
At the May 3 Council meeting, a resident presented a petition to the County Council requesting that:
“We the undersigned, request the Los Alamos County Council, not to change Trinity Drive in any way that would result in less than four through traffic lanes. We request the County Council change their vote of Jan. 25, 2011 so that the MIG contractor will pursue implementing plan C as an alternative to Plan A that the transportation board recommended to Council.”
On May 12, Councilors hosted a walking tour of a section of NM502 / Trinity Drive. Approximately 40 members of the public participated in the half hour tour between Oppenheimer and 20th Street. Copies of Frequently Asked Questions were available and comments have been captured in a Meeting Summary.
On May 24, Council formally acknowledged receipt of two citizen petitions against roundabouts, with a third presented at the meeting supporting roundabouts during public comment. After discussion, Councilor Rodgers moved, seconded by Councilor Berting, that Council acknowledge receipt of the various petitions and that this item return to Council at the first regular meeting of Council subsequent to the Transportation Board meeting at which the Transportation Board receives the Final Draft Report from MIG regarding Plan A2 and A3. I further move that staff prepare and that the County Administartor is authorized to execute an amendment to the MIG contract in an amount not to exceed $5,000 for the purpose of fostering public input relative to the Final Draft Report. I further move that the County Administrator cause the appropriate budget amendment to be brought before Council in a timely manner. This motion is without prejudice to Plan A2, A3 or C.
Councilor Chiravalle offered a substitute motion that Council acknowledge the petition, thank the petitioners for the recommendation and direct the contractor MIG to pursue implementing Plan C which retains four driving lanes and excludes the use of any roundabouts as an alternative to Plan A in the NM502 Corridor Study. This motion failed due to lack of a second. The first motion passed 6-1; Councilor Chiravalle opposed.
The Draft Final NM502 Corridor Study Report (2.23MB) and the Appendices (12.5MB) have been posted as separate items. Reference copies will be placed at the 311 Customer Care Center as well as the library reference desks in Los Alamos and White Rock.
The answers to residents' questions (620KB) are also available.
The SIDRA input date file for the intersection analysis was received by the County Friday morning, June 10, 2011. This file has not been reviewed by County Staff, but due to the public interest in the file, it is being placed on the web site and made available to the public click here to view the file.
Approximately 20 members of the public attended the July 7, MIG-CDM-Public special meeting where MIG/CDM presented the SIDRA analysis and participated in a technical discussion. Interested public may watch a video of the meeting at the PAC-8 Video on Demand Video Library website. Go to the website: http://www.pac8.org/ and scroll down; you'll see Los Alamos County Council, Community Fire Meetings, and then Community Affairs. The July 7 meeting is listed here and is called NM502 Special County Meeting 07-07-2011.
At 5:30 p.m. on July 7, the same information was presented to the Transportation Board. After significant discussion, the Transportation Board made the following draft motion: The Transportation Board advises County Council that more advanced simulations be done on the preferred A3 options for the Transportation Board to agree there is sufficient information with which to make a fully informed judgment. Insofar as the advantages of roundabouts towards meeting Council's goals of serving multi-modal transportation and providing synergy with surrounding land use planning is compelling, the Transportation Board recommends that Council invest in a more comprehensive simulation analysis, since such an analysis is key to the success of the project. The Transportation Board further advises Council to ensure that an evacuation lessons-learned is performed and included. The motion passed 6-0.
At the September 6 Council Meeting, MIG/CDM as well as Ourston Roundabout Engineering representatives were present. MIG provided a presentation and extensive discussion ensued regarding the professional opinions expressed in the MIG/CDM report and Ourston's Peer Review. A local citizen also gave a presentation regarding a group of local traffic modelers' opinions. Hours of discussion ensued including public comments for and against roundabouts as well as a suggestion to leave Trinity Drive as is and to install HAWK pedestrian safety crossings. After the lengthy discussion, Council made the following DRAFT motion:
Councilor Wismer moved, seconded by Councilor Berting, that Council acknowledge the MIG Report and only consider the conclusions stated in the report. I further move that Council direct staff to return to Council at a future work session, no later than December 2011, with specific design alternatives that are consistent with the goals identified in the Los Alamos Street Design Policy and include the following options along with pro’s and con’s: the design considered and approved in 2007; options with two lane roundabouts with either two or four lane roads, that include right-of-way options; an option that includes four lanes and signalized intersection with the pedestrian crossings at appropriate locations; consideration of the Hawk option and other options that may develop during discussions and widening the Technical Advisory Committee.
The motion passed 5 – 1, Councilor Chiravalle opposed and Councilor Rodgers was absent.
Councilor Wismer moved, seconded by Councilor Chiravalle, that Council direct staff to return to Council with a proposal for construction of an eight foot high barrier in Eastern Area.
The motion passed 6 – 0, Councilor Rodgers was absent.
Also discussed at the September 6 Council meeting were the two citizen petitions opposing roundabouts.
First Petition: Citizen Petition Requesting That The Council Not Change Trinity Drive In Any Way That Would Result In Less Than Four Through Traffic Lanes And Requesting That Council Change Their January 25, 2011 Vote So That The MIG Contractor Will Pursue Implementing Plan C As An Alternative To Plan A Which The Transportation Board Recommended To Council.
Councilor Chiravalle moved that Council acknowledge the petition, thank the petitioners for their recommendations and take the requested action in both petitions.
The motion failed for lack of second.
Councilor Berting moved, seconded by Councilor Selvage, that Council acknowledge the petition, thank the petitioners for their recommendations and incorporate their recommendations for discussion at a work session.
The motion passed 6 – 0, Councilor Rodgers was absent.
Second Petition: Citizen Petition Requesting That The Council Reject Modifications To Trinity Drive And/Or East Road (And Other Arterial Streets) That Would (1) Decrease The Number Of Thru-Traffic Lanes And/Or (2) Install Roundabouts.
Councilor Chiravalle moved that Council acknowledge the petition, thank the petitioners for their recommendations and further move, that Council direct staff to reject modifications to Trinity Drive and/or East Road that will increase the number of traffic lanes and install roundabouts.
The motion failed for lack of second.
Councilor Berting moved, seconded by Councilor Selvage, that Council acknowledge the petition, thank the petitioners for their recommendations and include their recommendations for discussion at a work session.
The motion passed 6 – 0, Councilor Rodgers was absent.
The Ourston Peer Review Report dated August 30, 2011.
MIG has submitted the Final Draft NM 502 Corridor Study. The appendices have not been changed; however, a few changes are anticipated:
- Add turning movements to LAMC to the traffic counts used for 35th/36th Streets; and,
- Modify 8th Street counts to account for anticipated Trinity Site traffic.
Please click here to view the revised Noise Mitigation Report dated May 2011.