Column: Trinity Drive and the Entrance to Town … What are Your Thoughts?

Los Alamos County Councilor

Trinity Drive and the entrance to town … what are your thoughts?

This process has been going on for years – but is coming to a conclusion now and your input is needed.

The short (ish) of it is, Trinity Drive is really, as we know, N.M. 502 – a state highway. We are on the schedule to get funding for the stretch just before the pool into town to Knecht Street – just past where all the dirt is torn up for Trinity Site.

Funding is available essentially now and the road could be re-done in the next year.

Because it would be federal funds and remain a state highway, it has to meet certain flow and cross street requirements. In short, the plan the prior Council adopted last year (one lane each way with a turn lane in the middle) was not acceptable to the state and the federal money people.

So! It still is going to be a state highway, but cleaned up, and there would be a signaled crosswalk by the East Park Pool, and one a little further down, where kids and others run across the highway. (If we don’t want the federal requirements, we can take the road over, pay the $5 million now for that stretch, plus much more over time, and make it a County road. We do not have any of that money now; we would have to raise it.)

Here is the question – as you get in to town at the Y for either Central Avenue or Trinity Site … it can no longer be a Y. So EITHER it has to be a stop light – or a roundabout.

The current plan calls for a relatively wide roundabout with a green space in the middle. As opposed to the Y now, the land in the middle would not be up high, but at ground level, and we would have a piece of Art in Public Places art there.

I am in favor of the roundabout there. It would be an attractive entrance to town. It would allow for flow through traffic – so we would not be stopped at a light on our way in to town – nor would all the traffic from the various employees coming in to town (and we can be in as well), and which is why it is a state Highway to begin with.

And yes, the federal and state highway people are all good with a roundabout. New Mexico just put one in on the bypass.

To me, it would be a progressive, thoughtful evolution of that intersection (excuse the pun) and one that looks to the future. (Other communities have had these for centuries, of course, and locally in the western states (Boulder, Golden, tons of places on the West Coast) have put them in in the last 10-20 years. They work great.)

Yes, for some people it will be a big adjustment. I think for the overall community it is a good thing.

What are your thoughts?

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Editor’s note: This opinion piece was originally written as a post on the Los Alamos Vision 2020 Facebook page and reprinted here with permission from Kristin Henderson.

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