SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New findings show the southside of Santa Fe is lacking in outdoor recreational and transportation opportunities. Now, the city and county are partnering with the National Parks Service’s River, Trails Conservation Assistance Program to fix it.
The Santa Fe Metropolitan Planning Organization, which is charged for transportation planning around the Santa Fe metro area, released a Community Health Profile that looked into the demographics and outdoor opportunities for the southside of town.
“We found out that the park access and recreational access in this area is a lot less than other parts of Santa Fe. So, these trails really could have a big impact in terms of increasing recreational opportunities as well as transportation,” Leah Yngve, Transportation Planner for the MPO of Santa Fe said.
The group found that just 16% of residents in the area are within a 10-minute walk to a park, compared to the more than 50% in the rest of the county. Twenty-seven percent of the area is within a half-mile walk of a park entrance or trailhead. The area is one of the most densely populated and quickly growing areas, with many younger residents.
The MPO is suggesting creating two new trails for this area. The first part of the, River Trail, would run west of Caja del Oro Grant Road. It would help connect nearby residents and students to the El Camino Real Academy. The second trail is the Acequia Trail. It would run from South Meadows Road to San Felipe Road. Yngve said the trails would naturally create a trail loop for residents in the area.
“A lot of people don’t feel comfortable walking, running, biking on a busy road. So providing an off-road opportunity is really important to give these people places to go outside to walk. But it can also connect to other parts of the city and they can use it to get around,” Yngve said.
There is funding for the design of the Acequia Trail. But logistics are still being worked out so there is not yet funding for building both trails. Yngve said they are planning for more community engagement on the trail projects within the next couple of months.