SANTA FE – Mayor Javier Gonzales, who is pushing to close the historic Santa Fe Plaza to vehicle traffic during the summer months, is calling a halt to consideration of his proposal, for now.
He says he wants to work on bringing more and new public activities to the Plaza and make that part of his proposal.
Blocking traffic from the Plaza has been tried in past years, and Gonzales’ plan has been getting mixed reviews, both from downtown merchants and from residents. It’s already been reviewed by one City Council committee.
Some say the move to bar traffic would only increase the feeling that the Plaza, a tourism hot spot, is no longer a place for locals, even as Gonzales calls his plan the “People to the Plaza” initiative.
Gonzales initially called for a year-round Plaza traffic ban but pared it back to summertime earlier this week.
Gonzales a statement Friday that saying “the People to the Plaza Initiative has generated an incredible discussion in this community, and I truly appreciate the passion and energy that has been brought to the debate so far.”
He added: “I am now asking staff to pause the progression of this resolution through the committee process, and to put together a more detailed plan for programming, partnerships and logistics around the Plaza, which can be presented alongside the legislation as it moves forward. This programming could include teen nights, car shows, tie-ins to Fuego baseball games, animal adoption festivals, open mike or comedy nights, even cruise nights. We are only limited by our imaginations.
“The Plaza is a precious place for many of us, and I want to incorporate what we’ve heard through this process into the best possible set of results. We need to make these choices as a community.”
He added that “we will work for solutions that will truly attract the most people to the Plaza and give them a wonderful experience in our historic city center.”
Currently, traffic is blocked off on Palace Avenue in front of the Palace of the Governors, but vehicles can use streets on the other three sides of the Plaza.