The bike lane on Agua Fría Street.

Santa Fe motorists: Please park your car, get out and inspect what passes for a bike lane in Santa Fe before scolding your bike-riding neighbors (Not the bike lane," Sept. 15). The perils of trying to stay in the bike lane are many. Trash cans, parked cars and untrimmed vegetation force bicyclists to swerve in and out of the bike lane, sometimes at no more than 50-foot intervals. Loose trash that has drifted or been dragged to the side of the road must be dodged frequently. And, the “lane” itself, blacktop that abuts concrete down the center of the lane, creates a perfect seam for bicycle tires to get caught in. Imagine motorists, instead of rolling down your clear and smooth lane, having to dodge frequent obstacles and live in fear of encountering a road hazard that could flip your car over. You might not want to stay in your lane, either.

Catherine Sayler

Santa Fe

Cluttered lanes

As both a bike rider and a driver on Santa Fe’s roads, I understand Tom Donat’s plea in his Sept. 15 letter for bicyclists to stay out of the roadway. Nothing makes a biker happier than having a clean, smooth bike lane or path that is separated from the road and safe from cars, trucks, exhaust, tire and chain damage. Unfortunately, even if there is a bike lane, it often is not safe. Many bike lanes in the city are swept of debris. But many others become an assemblage of glass and garbage.

As you can see from a photo taken on Agua Fría Street, too many bike lanes collect waste, which poses a risk for flat tires, falls, even eye damage. So, sharing the road is the only alternative on many streets — at least until the city and county can implement a better and more efficient way to clear bike paths the same way they do driving lanes.

Bruce Krasnow

Santa Fe

High standards

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham set the right goal in committing to enact nation-leading standards to reduce methane waste and pollution from the oil and gas industry. Methane is a powerful climate change pollutant responsible for 25 percent of the warming we experience today. It is ruining our air and threatening the health of communities across the state, and methane waste is costing our schools millions in revenue.

The methane waste rule passed by the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission marked a significant step forward, eliminating routine venting and flaring for the first time. But our work is not done. Most methane escapes through leaks at well sites and oil and gas equipment. The New Mexico Environment Department has proposed common-sense rules to require the industry to find and fix leaks, but the agency needs to hold the line and not weaken key leak regulations at the behest of industry. Before the regulations are finalized later this month, they must be strengthened to protect front-line communities by requiring more frequent inspections to find and fix leaks. States like Colorado have been successful in reducing pollution while allowing the oil and gas industry to continue to operate responsibly. It’s time for New Mexico to step up. Also, federal methane rules are coming but need to be strong enough to set a clear regulatory floor for other states like Texas that pollute over the border.

It’s Code Red for the planet and New Mexican lungs. Let’s get these rules right.

Ken Hughes

transportation chair

Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club

Rough walking

Can anything be done about the "sidewalks" along Canyon Road? Maybe as a hazard subject to the Americans for Disabilities Act? As you all know, the sidewalks vary from narrow to nonexistent and have a variety of rough and inconsistent surfaces. I tried walking that lovely street at 9:15 this morning. At one point, I stepped cautiously into the gutter because the pedestrian surface was so dangerous. Despite low traffic and no parked cars, a vehicle passed me, from behind me, very quickly at a distance of about six inches, presumably because they didn't see me or they wanted to teach me a lesson. Either way, I won't be walking along there or spending my money there anymore.

Dianne Hillyard

 Santa Fe

Center stage, de Vargas

It would be really neat if the traveling Don Diego de Vargas statue (Cathedral Park, some dude’s yard, some warehouse somewhere) found its way to the former obelisk site on the Plaza. Not forever, just in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month (if it is, in fact, Hispanic Heritage Month is Santa Fe). Then, when Hispanic Heritage Month ends on Oct. 15, the statue can go back to its former site in the park. If the traveling statue did find its way to the Plaza, maybe Santa Feans can have open dialogue about Don Diego’s place in our cultural history.

Really, though, it’s far more likely the Don Diego statue will find a permanent home on the sidewalk along Pete’s Place. At least there, sidewalk campers could have a cool new place on which they could lean, and Harrison Road residents could have something else to talk about besides their camping neighbors.

Juan Blea

Santa Fe

(14) comments

Marcy Kupchella

[scared][scared] This morning I was almost dead, due to having nowhere to ride -bike lane was full of debris going East on Beckner, including overhanging tree branches. An incompetent driver, neither slowed or allowed any extra room for me. I was also wearing high visible clothes. Really dude?! Where was I supposed to go? He had 2 lanes available to him and chose to drive within inches of me and my bike. What department can I write to draw attention to this unsafe bike lane? Does anyone out there have a contact?

Khal Spencer

Marcy, I would start with your own county councilor, whoever that is. Also, copy Michael Garcia of the 2nd Council district as he is chair of the Bicycling and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Khal Spencer, vice-Chair, BPAC

Copy Romella, the staff liason with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Romella Glorioso-Moss, PhD, AICP

Roadway & Trails Project Administrator & BPAC Staff Liaison


Khal Spencer

My mistake, that is "city councilor" you should contact (see that URL) assuming you are in the city. Not sure about the county districts.

Mike Johnson

Mr. Hughes, if you are so concerned about methane, maybe you should look at where the majority of it comes from in the US and close to a majority of it in NM: "When livestock and manure emissions are combined, the Agriculture sector is the largest source of CH4 emissions in the United States." Of course that would not fit your political agenda, you want to remove the petroleum industry, so you can obfuscate the real science, since this is about politics, not science or the environment.......

Khal Spencer

Interesting editorial from the Ed Board today.

...One scientist, Andrew Knight of England’s University of Winchester, told the Washington Post that the nitrous oxide in cattle urine is incredibly potent, with 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

Livestock, he said, produce “more greenhouse gases than all the cars, trucks, planes in the world combined.” What’s more, the cost of neutralizing the damaging components in animal waste is too expensive for many of the world’s farmers, he pointed out...."

Khal Spencer

Canyon Road should be officially designated as a Woonerf, i.e., a street shared in its entirety by vehicles and foot traffic. It is narrow enough and not really room for pedestrian improvements. Its heavy with foot traffic.

As far as the bicycling letters, I concur except for where one writer seems apologetic for being in the road. A cyclist has a right to the road, period. If the lane is too narrow to share or lacks a bicycle facility, that's the designer's fault, not mine. For example, about fifteen years ago when St. Francis was redesigned to three narrow lanes in each direction, the NMDOT deliberately omitted a bicycle facility. And that's on one of the most important arterials in the city. You worry about climate change? Design your city roads and streets so it is unsafe to do anything other than drive a car.

The state of bicycling facilities in this city is marginal at best. Most of the sharrows are worn off when they can be seen at all and there is no sign of replacement. As the picture shows, the bike lanes can be debris filled. Many of the traffic actuated traffic signals don't respond to a bicycle so one has to either wait till a car comes along or treat it as a stop sign (which should be formalized in the traffic code unless the city does something about the light response). The multiuse paths often don't go where a bicyclist needs to go as they were built more as park and recreational resources rather than as transportation.

Motorists can be amusing. On Friday I was buzzed twice by men driving brodozers (once on E. Alameda and once on Gonzales) and had a moving truck pull directly out in front of me on Bishops Lodge Rd causing another near miss. And of course, some bicyclists are clueless. Two older riders blew a stop sign this morning and I had to weave around them on our tandem.

Santa Fe is proud of being a Silver level bicycle friendly community. I voted Aye on Silver a couple times but if it comes up again, I may suggest a downgrade to bronze.

Oh, and David and Richard. Let's go for a bike ride sometime and I can point out a few of these issues.

Mike Johnson


David Ford

I have NO problem with bicyclists on the roads and empathize with the mixture of junk and gravel in their lane. My ONLY gripe is that if they want to have all the rights of the road then they should abide by all the rules of the road. Only fair.

Khal Spencer

Sure, David. Like all motorists obey the speed limits and never run a red light or do a right on red at 20 mph? Thing is, when bicyclists do something stupid, there is a fair chance they will compete for the Darwin Award. When someone blows the light at Alamo and US 84/285 in a Super Duty, it is someone else who will die.

Let's get off the high horse. Motorists and bicyclists are the same people and they all do dumb things. Its just that one is on a 25 lb vehicle doing 15 mph and one is in a 6,000 lb vehicle doing 65 in a 40. Do the math on the KE. That's why virtually everyone killed on the road in Santa Fe, whether fellow motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian, does it courtesy of a motor vehicle crash.

I've nothing against motorists or bicyclists. Just think this discussion always gets disturbingly irrational when one factors in risk.

William Craig

Re: “Cyclists can’t always count on bike lanes” and “Cluttered lanes” — Ubiquitous “traffic-calming” installations are another problem for cyclists. Riding along over-calmed Avenida de Las Campanas, the bike lanes are frequently blocked by pointless “bulbouts” (zig-zag curbs) that force cyclists into traffic.

Re: “Rough walking” — Why not ban private cars from Canyon Road altogether, and so return it to its old-world charm of previous centuries?

Re: “High standards” — Environmental standards are meaningless if some countries are exempt — Red China makes more pollution before 7 a.m. than the rest of the world does all day.

Re: “Center stage, de Vargas” — Maybe the statue could be placed next to that other de Vargas monument on Sandoval Street in front of the Hilton — the one describing him as a “Peaceful Resettler” that the mayor evidently doesn’t find provocative at all.

Khal Spencer

"...Red China makes more pollution before 7 a.m. than the rest of the world does all day...."

Exactly. And the US "outsources" our true carbon and pollution footprint to China whenever we buy stuff made over there under lousy environmental and carbon emission standards. I've read enough about how the average Chinese rare-earth element worker toils under abysmal conditions that I think it should require a trip to the Confessional to buy any rare-earth goods made over there.

Stefanie Beninato

Dianne Hillyard I doubt you were buying anything on Canyon Rd at 9:15 in the morning, except maybe coffee, so your threat is without substance. And guess what, some of us long term locals like the way Canyon Rd is just fine. Maybe you should try walking in the opposite direction of traffic so you will not be startled by oncoming traffic. Having been on Canyon Rd frequently, I am hard pressed to identify the stretch of sidewalk that was so dangerous you "had to" step in the roadway. However, you could file a complaint with Constituent Services about that sidewalk--supposedly there is a city campaign to fix sidewalks. There are many other places in the city that the city needs to make accessible to those in wheelchairs starting with taking sandwich board signs off the sidewalks as per pre COVID regs and not letting the owners responsible for maintenance take sidewalks out instead of replacing them--go to 700 block of Galisteo, 215 and 217 Sena and on E Berger to see examples. BTW many of us like being the City Different and feel that we are becoming the City Same or the City Soldout.

David Ford

So the bike lanes are full of trash, cars, vegetation, glass etc., which causes riders to swerve out of the lane occasionally. What causes them to fly through stop signs and red lights, surely you have an excuse for that too....

Richard Reinders


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