Residents bring street concerns to city council

Alisa Boswell

Confusion about which way to drive down a street residents say is confusing is prompting city action.

At issue is the 900 block of North Avenue I. Homeowners say it is a nuisance for some and possibly an accident waiting to happen.

Avenue I resident Antonio Salguero said the road was made a one-way street for northbound traffic about eight or nine years ago because it is too narrow for two-way traffic. City officials also confirm it is a one-way.

Salguero said drivers continue to drive both directions down the street.

“It would be a good idea to have it as a one-way road if people would obey it,” Antonio Salguero said. “We’re lucky that we don’t have many kids here.”

Salguero and his wife, Sandra, said people driving the wrong way on the road not only put residents and children playing outside in danger but also increase the risk of crashes.

“If you go against traffic, you could get in a pile up when you get to Ivy and Avenue B, because they all run into each other,” Antonio Salguero said. “Bottom line, if we obeyed things, it would be OK, but we don’t.”

“Our inconvenience is not what we’re worried about,” Sandra Salguero added. “It’s the fact that they’re not obeying the law and are going against traffic.”

The Salgueros’ neighbor, Kenneth Munoz, said he doesn’t have too many problems with traffic but he does see people regularly drive the wrong way down the road.

“Awhile back, it wasn’t a one-way, so I used to come from the other way,” Munoz said. “I thought it was better when it was the other way.”

The Salgueros and Munoz all said they have seen residents, their visitors and even police vehicles all drive the wrong way down the road.

Sandra Salguero said the curb to the east side of the street used to be painted yellow for a no parking zone. The paint is faded now, she said, so people tend to park there anyway and make an already narrow street too narrow for two-way traffic.

She also said the street is two-way for the first two blocks then one-way for the next two where it becomes more narrow.

“People know they can get away with it, so they think, why not?” Sandra Salguero said. “I think if the street was all one-way or all two-way, it would be better.”

Jessie Gutierrez, another resident of North Avenue I, said he sees at least one or two cars a day drive down the road the wrong way.

“A lot of people still don’t consider it one way, I guess, cause they still come through here,” Gutierrez said.

Antonio Salguero presented the Portales City Council with the issue Tuesday.

City Manager Tom Howell said the city plans to take action with the matter by doing an in-depth study of the road.

“We’ll count traffic and number of cars and movement and count on an hourly basis who’s parked where,” Howell said.

“I don’t know what will happen, but we’ll see when we get things drawn up,” Howell said. “Once we get the study done, we’ll have the information we need to get some things done and make some recommendations.”