A long-neglected train station at St. Francis Drive and Zia Road is set to begin serving passengers on a trial basis as soon as this fall if a private developer’s construction project goes as planned.
Zia Station has been a part of the vision from state and local officials since the New Mexico Rail Runner Express began serving Santa Fe in 2008, but trains have never delivered or picked up passengers there due to a series of delays—some economic, some logistic, some based on drama with some people who live nearby and who travel through the busy intersection.
Last year, developers with local contractor SF Brown managed to get the City Council to grant approval for a “kiss and ride” station that will allow for a study of passenger service, abandoning ideas of parking and adjoining commercial buildings for now. This month, fences came down, others went up, and the project began in earnest.
“We’re just trying to keep our nose down and do what we need to do,” says Merritt Brown, a partner in the development. He’s not expecting a quiet path forward forever, though. “It’s just like anything. Land use discussions are controversial. We are ready to open that dialog again once we have the station open and it’s functioning. Everybody made the commitment that we are going to watch it operate for a while.”
Construction could last a little over a month, including additional lights, sidewalks on both Zia and Galisteo roads and a fence along St. Francis.
Train managers say it won’t take much doing to begin using the station once the city gives the OK. The most recent round of schedule revisions added the stop to timetables.