Los Lunas Transportation Corridor Study
We are pleased to report that the Alternatives Analysis for the Los Lunas Corridor Study has been completed. The remainder of the funds available for the Study are being utilized by the Village of Los Lunas to purchase key right-of-way parcels along the alignment. Several key portions of the Alternatives Analysis are provided below. An electronic copy of the full document is available upon request from
The Los Lunas Corridor Study evaluated existing and future transportation problems and needs within the NM 6 corridor across Los Lunas and identified and evaluated possible solutions to help mitigate congestion on this route and provide access to developing areas on the East and West Mesas.
The study was conducted by the Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG) in collaboration with the Village of Los Lunas, City of Belen, Valencia County, and the New Mexico Department of Transportation. A Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and a Steering Committee comprised of local and state agencies assisted MRCOG with the corridor study.
The Steering Committee included representatives from the Village of Los Lunas, City of Belen, Valencia County, the town of Peralta, the Town of Tome Land Grant, and the New Mexico Department of Transportation. A consultant team of transportation planners and engineers led by D. Pennington and Associates, Inc. assisted MRCOG and the Steering Committee.
CAC members represented the communities and neighborhoods in and immediately adjacent to the Study Area. They provided a linkage between the study and other members of the public. In addition, information about the Study and opportunities to receive e-mails about Study activities was extended to anyone who contacted MRCOG for information.
Initially, the corridor study was focused south of Los Lunas and included the area generally bounded by I-25 on the west, the Manzano Expressway on the east, Miller Road/South El Cerro Loop on the south, and NM 6 on the north. The study area was expanded to include a second corridor north of NM 6 to reflect CAC input and direction from the Steering Committee.
An introductory public open house meeting was held in August 2009 in Los Lunas. This meeting provided information about the Corridor Study and sought to obtain community input on issues and factors to consider during the study.
View the material presented at that meeting and a synopsis of the input received from the public. 3.32 Mb
Following the public meeting, a set of preliminary alignments was identified and evaluated further using an initial screening process. The screening process, which relies on both quantitative analysis and qualitative assessment, provided an initial assessment of each potential alignment for the purpose of identifying its substantive benefits and flaws.
The criteria used for the screening evaluation consisted of engineering, land use, community, and environmental factors. Primary factors included: traffic performance, amount of right-of-way need, number of residential and business property acquisitions, loss of farmlands, the effect on security on lands operated by the State Penitentiary, impacts to the NMSU research facilities, loss of bosque habitat, impacts to neighborhoods, and service to areas of planned growth. The results of this effort resulted in a recommendation to eliminate some of the proposed alignments.
An open house public meeting was held on Tuesday, January 26 2010 to gather input about the recommendations for the preliminary Study alignments. The Public Meeting Presentation of 01/26/2010 includes maps. Read the comments from the Jan/Feb 2010 public input meeting.
The results of the public meeting were reported to the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) at their February meeting. View the presentation that the CAC received. View the presentation the CAC received. 2.03 Mb
A public opinion survey of residents in the study area was conducted in April 2010 by Research & Polling, a well-known market research and public opinion research company. The survey consisted of a telephone interview of 354 households within the general vicinity of the proposed roadway. About two-thirds (65%) of those surveyed feel that traffic congestion in the Los Lunas area is a serious problem, particularly on Main Street (NM 6). Nearly four-fifths (78%) of the survey participants felt that traffic congestion on Main Street is a serious problem and that traffic congestion on this street has worsened over the past five years. When asked what they considered the biggest problem currently facing people in the community, 39% of respondents mentioned traffic-related issues. The full survey is available by clicking here.
The Study Team took the findings from the public process to the local governments. Presentations were provided to the Peralta, Los Lunas, and Belen Councils and the County Commission. These governmental bodies were requested to provide their input regarding the project team recommendations and the detailed analysisin Phase B (see Study Process section below). The map below shows the project team recommendation. The Village of Los Lunas, City of Belen and Valencia County all approved resolutions supporting the recommendation.
Copies of the resolutions can be found here.
The third public meeting for the Los Lunas Corridor Study was held on September 21, 2010. Comments on the material presented at that meeting were accepted through October 18. A summary of those comments, along with a copy of the presentation and maps provided at the meeting, is available here.
At the October 18 Citizens Advisory Committee meeting, the Project Team provided the Committee with a summary of the results of the public meeting and discussed the Team's potential recommendations about the various alternative alignments. A copy of that presentation is provided here.
At the January 17, 2011 meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee, the Project Team provided details about the Project Team's expected recommendation regarding the alignments to be carried forward into the next Phase of the Study. The material from that presentation is provided below:
During the first half of 2011, the Study Team refined the recommendations and worked with the US Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that USACE questions and technical needs were addressed. July 2011, Study Team members expect to provide brief Presentations were also provided to the Village of Los Lunas and the Valencia County Commission regarding the status of the project and the schedule for determination of the locally preferred option. In addition, a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting was held on July 11, 2011 to update the CAC on the current activities and status of the project. View the presentation made to the CAC.
A fourth public meeting for the Los Lunas Corridor Study was held on Wednesday, August 17 at the Los Lunas Transportation Center, 751 Juan Perea Road, Los Lunas, NM. The purpose of this meeting was to inform the community about the Study Team's recommendation of the locally preferred option for the corridor and to receive public input. Comments were received through Friday, September 9.
During the Fall of 2011, at their Thursday, October 6 meeting, the Village of Los Lunas Council, Belen City Council, and the Valencia County Commission adopted resolutions concurring with the findings and recommendations of the Project Technical Team and Steering Committee in the selection of the Morris "B" Alternative.
Subsequent activity on this project has focused on completion of concurrence documents from the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Alternatives Analysis Report. The Alternatives Analysis Report was completed in Fall 2012. The Village of Los Lunas has also moved forward with utilizing the remainder of the project funds to acquire key right-of-way parcels along the locally preferred alternative alignment.
The corridor study followed federal and state transportation planning and environmental rules and procedures. Following these procedures will allow federal and state funds to be used for any new roadway facilities or other transportation system improvements that are recommended by the study. The procedures typically include three major phases:
- Phase A includes an analysis of existing and future (projected) problems and other factors that affect transportation system congestion, mobility, safety, and accessibility. These problems and factors establish the purpose and need for any projects that may result from the study. This phase also provides an inventory of local issues and conditions that must be considered by the study, e.g., neighborhoods, environmental conditions, historic properties, air quality, etc. Finally, potential solutions (i.e., "alternatives") to achieve the project objective are identified and screened. This initial screening process eliminates alternatives that are unlikely to achieve the project need and advances those that hold promise. We are currently in the final stages of Phase A.
- Phase B includes a detailed analysis of the alternatives retained for further consideration. During this phase, each alternative is developed in greater detail to define the alignment, right-of-way needs, and cost. Alternatives are also evaluated for their effect on traffic performance, safety, mobility, neighborhoods, businesses, growth and development, and the environment. Poor performing alternatives may be eliminated from further consideration.
- Phase C includes the preparation of an environmental document, typically either an environmental assessment (EA) or an environmental impact statement (EIS). The preparation of an EA or EIS is required for projects which use federal funds and/or that require other federal approvals or permits. The EA/EIS results in a final decision to either implement the proposed project or to select the "No-Action Alternative," i.e., do nothing to correct the identified problems. If the EA/EIS results in the selection of a proposed project, the project is advanced into design and, when funding is obtained, right-of-way acquisition 2.95 Mb and construction.
Public involvement was a fundamental and essential part of the study process. Input from the public was used to help identify the alternatives to consider and to evaluate alternatives. For this Corridor Study, the public involvement plan included the use of a citizen advisory committee (CAC) and community meetings at each key milestone of the study. In addition, the Project Team met regularly with local councils and commissions, neighborhood groups, and other groups interested in the study.
Loretta Tollefson, AICP
Special Projects Manager – RTPO
D. Pennington & Associates, Inc.