The New Mexico Department of Transportation must decide whether to open a kiss-and-ride Rail Runner stop at an intersection that some nearby residents have deemed problematic. It's been more than two years since the city formally asked the state to open the station.
Yet, just months after that decision, state lawmakers ordered a $55,000 transportation department study on the intersection of St. Francis Drive and Zia Road. This is part of the reason why the $1 million station sits unused, caged by a fence on land owned by a Santa Fe development firm Zia Station LLC. The study, released last week, says driver behavior, signal timing and pedestrian activity might not be affected in the short term by immediately opening the station, but that officials should plan to expand the eastbound capacity of Zia Road by 2038.
While many who live in the area say they want the station to open, residents in the nearby Candlelight neighborhood have also protested additional development there, citing traffic and safety issues at the intersection.
Merritt Brown, one of the partners in Zia Station LLC, tells SFR the firm might conduct its own study on the impacts of mixed development and start discussions with neighbors on its proposed land uses for the acreage. "Our development isn't dependent on the train station, but the train station could be an integral piece," he says, adding, "The ball, really, I think is in the Department of Transportation's court."