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Santa Fe Transit Organization Moves for City-Wide Improvements

By Kelly Church

The year 1982 was a big one for Santa Fe, New Mexico. Not only did the population reach 50,000, but the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) was also created as a result of the population increase.

The MPO is now a vital part of the community, helping members of the community swiftly make their way through the city via whichever means of transportation they choose. The organization is made up of four different segments of the city's government: Santa Fe County, City of Santa Fe, the Pueblo of Tesuque and the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

According to Eric Aune, Transportation Planner for the MPO, there are three staff members from the City of Santa Fe who help manage cooperation and consistency among all transportation projects; promote a transportation system that is efficient environmentally, fiscally and for the public's use; enhances community connectivity; and serves the transportation needs of the public.

Over the last several years, the MPO has developed a few programs that help with diversifying transportation. In each of these, the MPO thought long term. Some of these transportation plans cover bicycling (established in 2012), walking (established in 2015) and public transportation (established in 2015).

"Whether you drive, walk, bicycle or bus, the MPO is an integral player for the entire transportation network in the region," Aune says. "The Santa Fe MPO is committed to investing in a transportation system that enhances the livability of our region and adds value for our residents and visitors. It is estimated that the MPO will help to plan for, request and oversee approximately $232.3 million for diverse transportation projects by 2040."

Aune says to keep an eye out for recent initiatives from the MPO, some of which may affect traffic patterns. These include encouraging more bicyclists and pedestrians to use the passage on Guadalupe Street between Alameda and Peseo De Peralta. There will also be a new trail underpass at St. Francis near Cerrillos, Aune says, in attempt to connect the Acequia Trail with the Rail Trail for more ease of use.

Those who frequent the River Trail between Frenchy's Park and Siler, plans to extend the trail will likely enter the construction phase this summer. For parents on the Southside of the city, in order to improve school traffic, there will be improvements made to Agua Fria Street and South Meadows Road. The modified interchange at I-25 and NM 14, affectionately known as Diverging Diamond, is also near completion.

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