Brennan Baiamonte said he walks along Camino de Salud near UNMH almost every day, but he has to be careful when crossing the small road because accidents happen there so often.
“You have to be on your toes, this stop sign here is difficult for people to understand,” he said. “I’ve seen some people get into car accidents all the time.”
According to UNMPD’s Police Blotter, more than 30 incidents have been listed as an “accident” on Camino de Salud since July of last year. UNMPD officials said an incident listed as an accident is usually a collision between multiple motor vehicles or pedestrians and motor vehicles.
UNMH patient Stephanie Vigil said she visits the hospital two to three times per week and has seen vehicles rush to make their way across and down the street as they enter parking areas.
“They’re not following the speed limit and they’re going faster. I see a lot of that in the younger kids where they’re smoking and not paying attention and just going,” she said. “Sometimes you gotta watch out.”
Vigil said a stop sign for the three-way intersection across from the New Mexico Scientific Laboratory fell down last winter and has never been replaced.
On a Tuesday around 2 p.m., the area is somewhat busy, and within 20 minutes, three people were almost struck by motor vehicles.
Posted stop signs are ignored by hurried motorists who make rolling stops through the intersection in front of the laboratory. Pedestrians cross with caution and seem to pay more attention even when cars have stopped where they are supposed to.
UNM student Brian Fejer said the faded street lines mean drivers are unsure where bicyclists and pedestrians will cross and where bikers will ride.
University Planning Officer Mary Kenney said the University doesn’t have an official system for pedestrians or drivers to report safety issues. She said institutional support services, including Safety and Risk Services, Physical Plant, Planning and Development, Capital Projects and Real Estate, are all involved in the upkeep of the University’s campus.
“Generally speaking, people find a way to raise their concerns,” she said. “If it’s a safety issue it goes to our Safety and Risk Services.”
Kenney said the University doesn’t have scheduled maintenance for University roads and that the ISS entities work together to identify and fix problems. She said campus maintenance is a continual project and that issues are usually handled as they occur.
“It’s more of as it occurs, we’ll address it,” she said. “We don’t have a ‘gee, today at 3 o’clock I’m going to go look at all the roads,’ we don’t really do that part.”
UNM student Pamela Barraza, one of the three pedestrians who was almost hit, said safety on the road could be improved with more adequate signage and fewer careless drivers.
“It could help having better signaling like a stoplight,” she said. “But not a stop sign because they (drivers) usually ignore those things, maybe a stoplight could help and then we can cross when we have a green light.”
Kenney said repairing the road depends on the availability of funding. She said an assessment phase would determine how severe the problem is, which would be followed by securing funding so the Physical Plant can make the necessary repairs.
“It is going to be a function of assessing, making sure that we’re providing the right mitigation strategy, determining what the cost is and then going in and actually doing the work, so that could take a couple of weeks,” she said. “Assuming we were receiving approval to move forward.”