by Amy Bell, PLA, ASLA
FBT Architects Landscape Architect
New Mexico American Society of Landscape Architects’ (NMASLA) first Complete Streets Advocacy Day in Santa Fe was a complete success, in spite of snow, rain and sleet. Attendees walked, biked, and rode the train to meet with key public representatives at the Roundhouse to discuss concerns and suggestions for future Complete Streets initiatives. NMASLA members joined ACE Leadership High School students, faculty and members of the local Leadership Team in a collaborative effort to raise awareness of safer street planning and design through Complete Streets principles.
The day’s presentations offered some great ideas:
- Richard MacPherson of City of Santa Fe Long Range Planning presented on seven different visions for a potential makeover of St. Michael’s Drive. Common ideas were to reduce the number of lanes, widen sidewalks and add a median while other imaginative concepts included putting residential housing in the median.
- Tim Rogers provided an overview of his Active Transportation Toolkit, a highly valuable Complete Streets planning resource that he created on behalf of the New Mexico Department of Health’s Healthy Kids New Mexico. He underlined the importance of wayfinding and signage, particularly with signs that list destinations and distances along bike routes.
- Chrissy Scarpitti of Surroundings Studio reported on the redesign that is underway for the Sheridan Downtown Transit Center in Santa Fe. She exhibited drawings for work on the Transit Center and discussed the major components of the design: eliminating a sidewalk on one side of the street to make the other side wider to allow for bus stops, directing stormwater runoff into planter areas and incorporating artwork into the bus shelters.
The presentations brought attendees up to speed on the current progress of Complete Streets in New Mexico and underlined future goals. The event inspired methods and strategies for implementing sound design concepts to enhance and protect the community. It gave insight into incorporating these principles into our everyday work and continuing to advocate for change. Our cities and state have so much to offer, and the potential for a continually improved and safer street environment only further elevates our destination and the lives of the people who reside here.
Many thanks to our generous sponsors, Envall Associates/Landscape Forms and Ewing for their help in the provision of funds for our train tickets, delicious lunch at the Second Street Brewery and Routes Bicycle Rentals and Tours! NMASLA received an Advocacy Grant from National ASLA, which made this fun and informative event possible.
Amy is Past President of the New Mexico Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (NMASLA) and participated in Complete Streets Advocacy Day this past February.