River Trail underpass

A cyclist and a pedestrian cross West Alameda Street at St. Francis Drive. Luis Sánchez Saturno/The New Mexican

The City Council approved a plan Tuesday to move $2 million from a voter-approved underpass at St. Francis Drive and West Alameda Street to other bike and pedestrian projects around the city.

A large chunk of the money — $556,200 — will be shifted to another planned underpass to get pedestrians and bicyclists across St. Francis Drive, this one just north of the Cerrillos Road intersection where the Acequia Trail connects with the Santa Fe Railyard.

Under the proposal, which the council passed without discussion, the city also will spend $100,000 for at-grade improvements at the West Alameda intersection, where the Santa Fe River Trail crosses St. Francis Drive. The city also is setting aside $40,000 for contingencies.

A bond issue approved by city voters in 2012 included money for an underpass at the busy intersection. The ballot question didn’t list specific projects, but the city promised the underpass in campaign information provided to voters.

Former City Councilor Chris Calvert tried to convince councilors not to shift the funds, saying they would risk losing credibility with voters in future bond elections. Councilors were split on whether or not to move the money to other projects but eventually supported the reallocation.

The shifting of funds from the underpass prompted City Councilor Peter Ives to sponsor a resolution that calls for the council to hold a public hearing before it votes to reallocate proceeds from a voter-approved general obligation bond or tax “that deviates materially from the information” provided to voters. The council approved Ives’ resolution Tuesday.

Here is how the rest of the money will be spent:

• $150,000 on the Arroyo Mascaras Trail near Las Mascaras and San Francisco streets.

• $80,000 on the Acequia Trail from Otowi Road to Maclovia Park.

• $300,000 on the Tierra Contenta Trail from Buffalo Grass Road to South Meadows Road.

• $113,800 on the Acequia Trail from Rufina Street to San Felipe Road.

• $200,000 on the Cañada Rincon Trail from Calle Mejia to Avenida Rincon.

• $150,000 on the Municipal Recreation Complex Trail near N.M. 599.

• $200,000 to widen Old Santa Fe Trail from East Zia Road to Sun Mountain Road.

• $10,000 on La Tierra Flow Trail.

(15) comments

Thomas Carlson

This is definitely not a bicycle/pedestrian-friendly city. I gave up cycling on Zia a long ago as motorists roar over the blind curve at Yucca on a green light, 50 mph driving in the bike lane... Woo-hoo!

Khal Spencer

My wife wants to retire to Santa Fe. I tease her she better get used to the idea of being a widow. In its defense, Santa Fe ain't even a distant second to Albuquerque in the Ghost Bike competition.

Khal Spencer

In answer to my own earlier question on whether the BTAC (Bicycle Technical Advisory Committee) had been involved, I have been told by Tim Rogers, a Santa Fe resident, bicyclist, and transportation planner: (and with his permission)

"...This took two BTAC meetings (over two months: 7/16, 8/20) to formulate, they (BTAC) consulted Metropolitan Bike Master Plan priorities, considered proposal by Councillor Maestas, lots of input from public, input from City River Commission (8/14 meeting), then went as BTAC recommendation through Council's Finance Committee (9/15)before getting to full Council where it apparently did not need much discussion. I believe Public Works Committee also considered and approved the overall action and this list. ..This list was created by BTAC, first with my direct advice and then without it. As I just e-mailed a member, I am very happy with how they are following the Bike Master Plan Phase A priorities but also responding to immediate needs, opportunities, expediencies..."

So its not like Council pulled a rabbit out of a hat.

Joseph Sanchez

unds would better be spent on improving the Santa Fe Trail bus system, which is in very bad condition. Buses in third world countries are in better shape than ours. I’ve written to the supervisors, each member of the Santa Fe City Council and not one response from any of them; of course when these guys are running office or re-election they present to you a bouquet of promises, once on office the bouquet dries up!
It’s apparent the Santa Fe Trail Bus System in the past few years has badly gone downhill with much needed repairs and maintenance! The city has not provided the necessary attention these buses require. Buses in third world countries are in far better condition than ours!
Who’s to blame! The Santa Fe City Council who is ignoring this problem that has become a public safety issue.

Ernest Green

The bond funds in question were not approved by voters for the bus system. They were approved for building out the new multi-use trail infrastructure.

Khal Spencer

Does the city have a bicycle advisory committee and if so, did the committee approve this change in plans as a good idea? I don't know much about the politics behind the move of funds from the original ballot question, but I do know that Santa Fe has serious and vexing problems with safe bicycling connectivity across its major and bicycle-unfriendly state administered highways, Cerrillos and St. Francis. If there is a BTAC (bicycling technical advisory committee) and it blessed this idea, one can at least have confidence it is money well spent.

Judy Cornier

Passed "without discussion"? They passed it without PUBLIC discussion. Too many elected officials these days no longer think of themselves as representing their constituency. It's far more empowering to use the position to 'represent' their own interests and ideas and pray for public apathy.

Lawrence Mirabal

I hope those orange barriers on the trail, behind La Choza, come down soon. Having to cut into the road, cross the tracks and then duck back onto the trail is a very dangerous situation with little ones in tow. Before, it was a straight crossing. Worse yet, someone is going to hit that orange barrier at speed, in low light, and the city $$$ will flow. Once dusk comes, unless you know it's there, you don't see it until you're right on top of it.

Beverly Harris

Chris Calvert had it right.

I don't think the councilors mean to lie. It's more like they're a bunch of teenagers dividing up their parents' spoils. They passed it "without discussion"? Oh, no, I doubt that very much. They passed it after back-room and back-door discussions to which the taxpayers and citizens of this town were not privy.

Pierce Knolls

Bait and switch.

Mark Miera

Always be careful crossing St. Francis. These new projects will be nice to see finish.[cool]

ellen kemper

The St. Francis underpass is sorely needed. It is very dangerous to cross St. Francis headed east into town because of the right turn lane. I almost put myself and other in danger when racing to catch the green light across before i luckily noticed someone turning.

Debora Ramirez

This is an unfortunate turn of events. Not only because the promised St. Francis underpass will not happen, but also because we were misled.

Ernest Green

The planned underpass at Alameda is being pushed back. The earmarked funds are being re-allocated to other projects which will include the long discussed underpass at St Francis/Cerrillos. Having many additions to the trail network rather than just one underpass at an easy to navigate road crossing is very fortunate.

Thom Wilson

So then, these projected expenditures add to $1,900,000.
And the other $100,000?
To defray the cost of the next bond election?

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