City officials hope traffic light will ease downtown congestion

Jared Tucker

A downtown business owner says he is fed up with the traffic congestion caused by a stop sign at Main and Second Streets, so his building is for sale and he’s moving out of the square.

City officials said help for the traffic problem could be on its way.

Buzz Goodson, owner of Bar G Western Wear, said he is frustrated because he wants his customers to be able to drive by his store and remember to shop there, not be turned away by traffic congestion.

“I’m very disgusted with the whole (Main Street) plan,” Goodson said. “They (customers) can’t park on this side of the street because they can’t get out.”

Goodson’s wife, Fern, said many customers complain about the congestion, and say it’s bad for business.

Portales Mayor Sharon King said she is disappointed to hear the Goodsons are moving out of the square, and said a temporary traffic light is scheduled to be installed.

“Hopefully that’s going to help because traffic does back up pretty bad right there,” King said.

City Manager Tom Howell said since it’s a state project, it’s not his place to announce a date the light will be installed.

“I think they’re just waiting for a control box for the light, then it has to be tested for a month. But again, I’m not sure on all the details because it’s a state project,” Howell said.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation could not be reached for comment.

The congestion during peak driving times is bad enough that the Portales Fire Department uses routes that parallel Second Street to respond to emergencies.

“We basically have to go with the flow of traffic, even if that means re-routing down Third Street,” said Portales Fire Chief Gary Nuckols.

Mark Vigil, owner of Vines Italian Restaurant said he’s not sure if the stop sign is bad for business or not, but said the landscaping and improvements at the courthouse “look great.”