SANTA FE – The long-awaited first kiss may not be too far off at the $ 1 million Zia Station “kiss-and-ride” train stop in Santa Fe.
Santa Fe city government on Monday announced that “necessary details for final construction” had been finalized at the yet-to-be-open Rail Runner Express stop and that the station should open full time once final construction is complete.
Zia Station LLC, the property owner and developer, has said it’s ready to build a so-called “kiss-and-ride” loop designed for train passengers to be dropped off at the station by vehicle. “The New Mexico Construction Industries Division has issued the necessary permits for work to begin at once,” said a city news release.
The train station at the intersection of Zia Road and St. Francis Drive was built by the New Mexico Department of Transportation at a cost of $1 million in 2008, as the Rail Runner train line was being developed, but it has never opened. The project has been delayed in part because of concerns by neighbors over increased traffic in the area and safety. After a series of community meetings, the original plan for a commuter parking lot was scrapped in 2011 in favor of the kiss-and-ride loop.
A year ago, the Santa Fe City Council approved an impact fee credit agreement with Zia Station LLC, which plans a mixed-use development including residential, office and retail space on approximately 20 acres of land on both sides of Zia Road west of St. Francis. The agreement allowed for impact fee credits totaling $300,000 for the part of the development that includes the drop-off loop for the train platform, handicapped parking spaces and sidewalks.
According to the city’s Monday release, the station will open after DOT conducts a final inspection of the loop construction and sets a date for service at the station to begin. A chain-link fence that long stood around the station has been removed.
Augusta Meyers, spokeswoman for the Rio West Regional Transit District, which operates the Rail Runner, said the train will start making stops at the station as soon as it is given notice from DOT.
“We are ready to start service the minute we get the green light,” she said.