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.
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.
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.
Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club
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.
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.