Old Pecos Trail needs protection from development | My opinion


Old Pecos Trail, the last beautiful walkway to Santa Fe and the non-commercial entrance to Santa Fe, may follow the path of the St. Francis and Cerrillos routes with their latest developments planned.

The natural environment along the Old Pecos Trail, with the enchanting panoramic views of the Sangre de Cristos, Sandias and Jemez mountains, will not be long without a special preservation designation to protect it from the proposed rezoning of higher density buildings. with two floors and potential shops. developments.

For more than 700 years, Native American trails traversed the pre-Hispanic pueblos and eventually evolved into a trade route during the Spanish Colonial Period to long-distance trade routes during the Mexican, Territorial, and State periods to the most historic entrance. major city today in Santa Fe, the oldest capital of the United States.

Miraculously, it still conveys its history in Santa Fe as it travels through the Historic District, passing the Roundhouse, passing Barrio Analco and ending in Historic Santa Fe Square. Walking the Old Pecos Trail, visitors from the world entire city and residents are discovering Santa Fe as a world-class UNESCO Creative City.

Old Pecos Trail is the front yard of Santa Fe. If zoning is changed, 30 story houses with front and back yards, fences and windows lit at night will be visible. This is not a case of “not in my garden” often invoked to mask the relevant questions and the dialogue as to the relevance of the proposed developments.

On the contrary, Old Pecos Trail concerns all of Santa Fe’s communities as well as its unique state and national heritage. The rezoning sets a precedent for future multi-story residential and commercial developments.

In 2000, the entrance to the Old Pecos Trail at Interstate 25 was preserved by designating 4.85 acres as Santa Fe County Open Space, protection against one of the largest gas station developments between Albuquerque and Denver. It was acquired with $ 300,000 from County Open Lands, Trails and Parks Advisory Committee funds; $ 50,000 from the City of Santa Fe; a special credit of $ 175,000 from the State of New Mexico; and $ 140,000 in individual community contributions. In addition, an individual contribution of $ 40,000 was used to help develop the Santa Fe River Trail on the south side of town.

Around this time, residents of a large community coalition – including neighborhood associations – formed to preserve Old Pecos Trail all the way to Cordova Road. The committee has met for the past 20 years to discuss and draft appropriate ordinance and zoning recommendations, including road safety considerations, with the city’s planning department. For over 20 years, community efforts to preserve Old Pecos Trail have literally been brought to a standstill and curtailed.

Besides the importance of a historic trail and the entrance to Santa Fe, there are multiple road safety considerations along the divided causeway. Traffic issues are complex and it is impossible to have a realistic traffic survey during a pandemic.

Before the pandemic, hundreds of additional cars were driven daily along the Old Pecos Trail during rush hour. Cars lined up on I-25 to enter Old Pecos Trail and later onto lanes along Old Pecos Trail to merge with I-25. Additional traffic with a new road cut for a 30 new home development project would increase traffic that has to turn around to get to work and stores, potentially requiring additional traffic lights and lanes.

Most importantly, the Old Pecos Trail, like the Plaza, gives us a memory and proof of our long, historic and multicultural journey as Santa Feans. That is why we must preserve it.

Ann Lacy received a 2000 Santa Fe City Heritage Preservation Award and an Old Santa Fe Association Preservation Award in 2002. She is co-editor of the New Federal Writers Project book series. Mexico.

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