Thursday, October 20, 2022

The Frank Ortiz Dog Park Is No Place for Trail Riding

Annie endorses this message

 A week or so ago, I noted two signs in the Frank Ortiz Dog Park, both located in the main parking area, indicating no bicycling allowed on the dog park land. I contacted the city Parks and Recreation Dept, which authorized the signage. P&R put me in contact with the Dog Park Project.

Turns out there have been some recent and unpleasant interactions between bicyclists, dogs, and dog people. In one, mentioned to me by a pair of dog walkers, a bicyclist dressed down a dog person because the person's dog was off leash; the cyclist apparently not aware that this is a leash-optional park. In another case mentioned by the Dog Park Project, a bicyclist kicked a dog that ran up to and possibly interfered with the bicyclist.

I've been in contact with the Dog Park Project on this and endorse the restrictions. Bicycling among numerous off leash dogs belonging to other people can lead to unintended and potentially harmful consequences to both dogs and riders. There is no reason to risk this as there is a vast bike park, La Tierra Trails, just a stone's throw away and in fact trail access to La Tierra Trails is available just to the north, across Camino de las Crucitas, from the smaller dog park parking lot.

So the signage and restrictions are not to guard anyone's turf, but a prudent safety precaution. Please observe these controls. There are many, many great places for off road riding in and around Santa Fe. The Dog Park is not one of them. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Narrow single lane roads leading to and from Las Campanas: bicycle vs. eighteen wheeler

Tip of the brain bucket to Patrick O'Grady in return for once again pilfering his comic.

Monday, 26 Sept., 2022

To: Anna Hansen, Dist. 2 Commissioner (I think this is your district!)

    Erick Aune, SFMPO
    Ken Love, LCOA Board President
    Tom Van Berkem, LCOA Board Vice President

RE: narrow, single lane roadways leading in and out of Las Campanas

Dear Commissioner Hansen, LCOA Board leadership Love and Van Berkem, and MPO Officer Aune

Greetings and good day.

I've often been a little curious as to why the main roads leading in and out of Las Campanas (Camino La Tierra and Las Campanas Drive) often revert to a narrow single lane divided roadway with no shoulders and abrupt dropoffs. While this may seem like an interesting and somewhat aggressive form of traffic calming, it makes life interesting for bicyclists and motorists trying to safely negotiate around each other.

This loop is somewhat popular with bicyclists, given the number I see out there. As I live right near the north side of Santa Fe, it is one of my recreational bike loops.  When riding out your way, I normally try to shade as far right as I can when being overtaken to assist those who wish to pass but even then, with the lack of shoulder and often a sharp dropoff into a ditch, it is a little bit of a dance for the bicyclist and motorist but we make do.

Today, I briefly thought I was going to be hit and killed, hence this letter. Riding back from Las Campanas on one of those single lane, divided sections of Camino La Tierra after the Las Campanas Drive merge (location corrected from original email to the above folks) around 11:30, give or take ten minutes or so, I heard the toot of a horn behind me. I started to wave back but before I knew it, I quickly grabbed the handlebars with both hands as I was, without further warning, being passed by a full size 18 wheeler flatbed tractor trailer with very little room to spare and no way for me to look back to see how wide the flatbed might be. The truck driver apparently was not willing to wait till I could move over or for that matter find a wider section of road. This is not pleasant.

I was on the Transportation Board in Los Alamos for about 14 years, chair or vice chair for much of that time, working with county council and our public works department. I cannot imagine ever approving such a design as a "complete street". I am really curious as to how this design was approved, and whether when inevitably, someone gets killed out there, if anyone will ask the right questions.

Sincerely, and thank you for reading,

Khalil J. Spencer

Santa Fe, NM 87501

League of American Bicyclists Bicycling Instructor #1173
Los Alamos County Transportation Board, 2003-2017
Currently vice-Chair, Santa Fe Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee but speaking for myself, not with my committee hat on.

 Note added 10/2/2022. Someone left a comment that these roads are actually private roads. I suppose if they are, it is fair game to the Campanas community on how they are constructed. I'd be interested if someone could leave a comment as to where this information, i.e., that these are private roads, is documented, and pardon my ignorance if that is the case. I was surprised to read this as at least Camino la Tierra provides access to Old Buckman Rd. and BLM land.

Note added 10/3. The Santa Fe Metropolitan Planning Organization has confirmed these are county roads, not private roads.


A typical section, but visualize this with a full size tractor trailer passing you. Photo courtesy of Google Maps


Monday, August 15, 2022

Virtual Meeting To Discuss the St. Michael's Crossing Tunnel for the Rail Trail, 30 August

 Hi folks. If you have any interest in improving the functionality of the Santa Fe Rail Trail and eliminating that heart-in-your-throat crossing during heavy traffic, please attend this meeting. Its virtual, so not like you even have to go anywhere. 

Here is the direct registration link


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Bicyclist Hit On NM-4 Between Bandelier Entrance and Back Gate


This from yesterday's Los Alamos Reporter. Scant details so far. If you are on the Pajarito Riders list, that's another good place to check for updates if anyone saw anything. Or the Daily Post.

Be careful out there.



UPDATE: State Road 4 has reopened

New Mexico State Police, Los Alamos Police Department and Los Alamos Fire Department have responded to a traffic accident involving a vehicle and a bicyclist on State Route 4 between the Bandelier Campground and the LANL back gate.

That section of the road is expected to be closed for about two hours while the NMSP Crash Team conducts their investigation, however, State Route 4 to the Jemez remains open.

The cyclist has been transported by helicopter and no other information is available at this time.

LANL officials alerted employees to an LAPD request that they avoid the area.


Saturday, June 18, 2022

Bishop's Lodge Rd meeting notification, June 22nd, 5:30 p.m.

Sent to me from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

Come one, come all, to the Bishop’s Lodge Rd. Reconstruction Project’s Open House on June 22nd, 5:30-7:30 pm, Coronado Rm, Santa Fe Convention Center. This is one of BPAC’s priority projects. Please see attached flyer, which I have done a screenshot of below. The project starts at Paseo de Peralta and stops just north of Brownell-Howland Road, which might be easier to see on a Google Map.

Friday, June 17, 2022

City Opens Trails, At Long As It Rains...


This just in my Inbox. Excellent. What I wish I had seen in the email I got from the city was a short paragraph imploring trail users to act as community watchpeople, looking for any signs of people doing dumb things (smoking, etc) or lightning strikes, etc, and reporting these promptly. More eyes on the trails is a good concept, as long as they are good people's eyes.


Thursday, May 26, 2022

City to Close Many Hike-Bike Trails Due To Fire Danger

 Sigh. Just got this.


City to Close Select Trails Due to

Extreme Fire Conditions

Emergency Proclamation Effective May 28, 2022

SANTA FE, May 26, 2022 — Mayor Alan Webber will issue Emergency Orders proclaiming extreme fire conditions and closing select City trails due to fire danger effective Saturday, May 28, 2022. Pursuant to the proclamation, the Orders complement federal and County actions and restrictions; the Santa Fe National Forest is closed and the County has closed trails that lead to the Forest. City trailheads will be marked as closed with signs and, where appropriate, with ropes. 


The Santa Fe Fire Department reports that hot, dry, windy conditions forecast for the weekend indicate the necessity of taking precautionary measures to protect life and property in Santa Fe from the extreme fire danger that the United States Forest Service has declared for the region. The danger of range fires, grass fires, forest fires, and structure fires are very high or extremely high in and around the city of Santa Fe.


Mayor Alan Webber says: “We’re facing unprecedented fire dangers and for that reason I’m asking everyone to take extra precautions. We can all still enjoy the Memorial Day weekend and the summer season as long as we all put fire safety first.”

Santa Fe Fire Chief Brian Moya says: “I’ve never seen such extreme fire conditions so early—the winds came in big, the fuel loads are heavy, and the drought conditions are extraordinary. Parts of these closed trails are remote and difficult to access, which can increase the amount of time it would take to respond to an emergency. All of those factors went into this decision. I’m also reminding the public to observe the fire restrictions that are in place—no open burning and no fireworks!”


The following trails and trails systems will be closed:

  • The Dale Ball Trails (which are accessed off of Hyde Park Road, Cerro Gordo Road, Upper Canyon Road, and Camino Cruz Blanca, including the Atalaya and Dorothy Stewart trails); 
  • The Sun Mountain Trail;
  • La Tierra Trails;
  • MX/BMX trails at La Tierra and the Metropolitan Recreation Complex (MRC)


While the existing fires do not put the city of Santa Fe at immediate risk, new fires can be easily started in the city’s vegetated open spaces through irresponsible human use, such as discarded cigarettes, sparks from vehicles and machinery, and behavior or actions that could cause a fire incident to break out. 


To prevent fires, the City is also under Fire Restrictions that were implemented in March. The following are prohibited within city limits while the restrictions are in place:

  • Smoking in public parks, recreation areas, or on any public trail; 
  • Using charcoal barbecue grills in public parks and recreation areas;
  • The sale or use of some fireworks within the city of Santa Fe 
  • Open burning, including campfires, bonfires, pit barbecues;
  • Burning of weeds, trash, or other vegetation;
  • Using any motorized all-terrain vehicle or motorcycles on city owned open space, parks, trails, or other recreational areas

While the trails and open spaces listed above are closed, the Mayor’s Proclamation encourages residents and visitors to utilize the City’s robust network of inner-city trails, open spaces, parks, and recreation centers.


Click here for a map of trails that remain accessible and suitable for biking, hiking, and dog-walking.


Of course, the fires are seeming to follow me around. Pic taken yesterday at the south end of the improved Rail Trail at  Spur Ranch Road.

So what else can a mountainbike do? I threw on these Mavic Speed City hoops to find out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

This Post Is Not About Bicycles

Why the title? Because I barely owned a bicycle while we lived in Buffalo. I got my first one just about the time my parents packed the house and moved out to a rural area where my stepdad grew up. I did shed the training wheels while we still lived in the Johnson Neighborhood, though. But most of us kids rode around on those little fruit box/roller skate scooters. That was cool.

This was not me. Web photo

I love it how the general White public just now notices the pain of being a Black Buffalo resident now that their sensitivities are offended by a racist mass murderer. I’ve seen some of his 180 page Replacement Theory based rant–yep, this was all about race.

I was a kid in that neighborhood. We lived over on Johnson Street, where my step-grandparents owned a home and worked at the old Rich’s Ice Cream factory. Nice blue collar jobs. I went to School #39 on High Street. Jefferson Ave, the big arterial where that now infamous Topps Market now sits up to the north, was about four blocks away. It was a bit of a rough neighborhood back then but solidly working class. My best friend, Michael, lived across the street. His dad was a city cop.

Buffalo has been on a downward, violent spiral since the sixties and not due to lunatic fringe racists but to good old fashioned mainstream values of neglect and segregation. I was back in Buffalo about five years ago to make a major donation to the Buffalo Museum of Science, the Bistany Telescope. As my wife said, the east side where I was a kid looked like a scene out of an apartheid city in old apartheid South Africa. The house I lived in was missing. It was arsoned decades ago. Empty lots are as common as homes.

Politics, economics, and policy control civil peace vs. violence although it's easy to focus on racists and guns. A century or more of racism and economic apartheid in Buffalo is why people disproportionately die young of violent lead poisoning in Buffalo, most of which is local on local crime.  Then an occasional racist shoots up the place and everyone notices. But sixty years of homes being torched, work moving overseas, white flight (including my parents) the legacy of racist urban planning such as how the Kensington Expressway was rammed through the old Black neighborhoods (it cut off my walk to school as well as the community’s access to Buffalo’s beautiful parks), and money moving to the rich…well, that’s business as usual. A slow moving economic pandemic goes unnoticed. East Buffalo is full of empty lots. The West Side (where I also lived for a little while) is full of multimillion dollar mansions being renovated and flipped. That’s the “Buffalo Renaissance”.

Strong Towns founder Charles Marohn, a PE and urban planner, made a very powerful case for reparations, looking at what redlining did to Kansas City. I suspect if one looked at the history of wealth distribution in Buffalo, one could ask whether past racism and its legacy effects have similarly made a case for redistribution in Buffalo. Most inner city violence is internal, this mass shooting being an exception. As a retired ER doctor I know, Dr. Jim Webster, recently opined, the only thing that stops a bullet is a good job. I might add good schools and social equity.

So while it is easy to focus on white supremacists, AR-15’s (the gunman’s was bought as NYS-legal and illegally modified) and terrorists being the root of all evil, it’s everyday American values of apartheid and neglect that have led to so many dying in Buffalo, not to mention other places. I actually think Critical Race Theory has a good point. To fix what is broken, we have to not just change out a few spark plugs on the economic and societal engine, but overhaul the whole concept of the society and the engine. Taking away the guns, as some politicians are once again demanding, will not take away the pain.


Sunday, May 8, 2022

Santa Fe Bike Swap, May 15th. Save the Date!

The bike swap is back! Sunday May 15th, 9am to 12:30 pm
Bike Santa Fe is working with the Free Bikes 4 Kids program as a part of Bike Month.
It will be at the Solana Center, 905 West Alameda, Near Better Day Coffee.
See the attached flyer, below, for more details.


Friday, March 25, 2022

Response to "Cities can help extend bike riding enthusiasm" in the New Mexican

 I sent this in a week and a half ago. Posting it here, too although it was published Sunday, March 27th, along with Judith Gabriele's bike piece.

I thank the Editorial Board for its editorial support of making Santa Fe a more bicycle-friendly community. This is a complicated process requiring synergy in transportation design, land use planning and zoning, and tax policy.

Case in point. Some years back, the Bicycling Coalition of New Mexico strenuously objected to the rebuild of St. Francis Drive to three narrow lanes in each direction rather than installing bike lanes. This rebuild was done to increase motor vehicle level of service regardless of what effect that would have on transportation alternatives along this critical arterial. Another case in point. You can add "protected bike lanes" to a road like Cerrillos, but numerous turning and crossing points serve side streets and businesses while high speeds are posted; a bicyclist is only protected until, as a friend once quipped, the moment of impact. Thus two critical business corridors are bicycle-hostile. 

Santa Fe Bicycle Crash Map. Source, SFPD study published in the Santa Fe New Mexican

Urban sprawl is our enemy. Many European cities can more easily adopt mass transit and the bicycle as they have stayed compact. American cities have meanwhile sprawled because Americans like low density development and recent “arterial and cul-de-sac” designs for privacy. These designs rapidly create safety and distance hardships to the point where the bicycle is not viable for transportation. While e-bikes may change the distance factor, it is still a hard sell.

Creating an environmentally-sustainable, bicycle friendly city takes an enormous amount of work, and means synergistically looking at road design, land use planning, tax policy, and enforcing safe behavior. Our bike trails need to be well maintained and connect people to where they need to go. Distances must be managed by intelligent land use planning. Road speeds must not be so excessive as to create instant death to someone hit by a car. Do we really need 40-45 mph arterials in a city? Finally, citizens must be made aware, through tax policy, that low density development means each of us has a bigger bill to pay for the city services we take for granted.

One thing the city could do right now to show the way is declare that Canyon Road is a Woonerf, i.e., a European design where motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists have equal rights to share space without a hierarchy. Considering the foot traffic and narrowness of the road, it should be a no-brainer. Such a move would demonstrate a change in paradigm in how we treat mobility in our city. One has to start somewhere, and that's my suggestion.


More here: To Tunnel, or Not to Tunnel, That is the Question

Monday, March 21, 2022

First Day of Spring Ride


The road descending into Cañada de los Alamos

Being the first day of spring, I decided to get off my hind end yesterday, wind and all, since the weather was forecast to go back to snow, sleet, hail, and rain today, which it did. Not that I mind, as we need every drop of moisture we can get.

I rode through town and out Old Santa Fe Trail to where it bifurcates into two dead ends. One looked intriguing, going down a steep hill into a little hamlet called Cañada de los Alamos (no relation to BombTowne). So I figured that since my knees, which have been a little creakly lately, seemed to be holding up pretty well, one more steep climb back out was acceptable.

It was a lovely little jaunt down a fast set of switchbacks and then through the little hamlet until...suddenly the pavement ended, going to a dirt road, so I turned around. Riding back out, I had a sudden flashback to riding on the Windward side of Oahu near Olomana, as it seemed eerily familiar--on the windward side of a range from the beeg city, in a little hollow of a hamlet, and a vista off to the east which in this case was not an ocean but the flats of Eldorado.

A nice first day of spring ride it was, about 24 miles.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Gasoline vs Mac and Cheese vs. PB&J Sandwich?

 The Santa Fe New Mexican is telling us that gas is at an all time high price. Well, not quite, actually. If corrected for inflation, we have a few cents to go to top the 2008 shock. But still, if one is on a limited budget, $4.09 a gallon translates into trading several pictures of Andrew Jackson to fill a tank. Not good if you are on a limited budget.

But if you live in town, there is an alternative to consider as a cost/benefit. Ride a bike. At 20 mpg city driving, a ten mile trip will cost about half a gallon of gas, or a little over two bucks right now. At fifty calories per mile for an average American on a bicycle, one can ask how expensive food is to cover that same distance.

 It all depends on what you eat, but right now, Trader Joe's Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese sells for about three bucks and has about 520 calories per box. So about three bucks for that ten mile trip. That calorie intake is also about one and a half peanut butter sandwiches, so one can go far more frugal. See below.

Of course, there is a lot more than energy content that goes into the discussion. My car needs insurance, a place to park, a lot of up front money to purchase, and more expensive maintenance. But at some point, the fuel in the tummy vs. the fuel in the tank break even and cross over and frankly, we are there. And then there is the fun factor. Which is why bicycle infrastructure that gets you where you need to go rather than built as a purely park resource matters.

Getting back to that peanut butter sandwich, the 500 calorie goal can be hit for under a dollar, or half the price of gas. Mind you, these are 2014 numbers so increase them by 20% to correct for inflation.

Source, Business Insider

So fasten on the fenders and panniers and go get 'em, tiger. The groceries, that is.


The Surly Long Haul Trucker in urban utility dress

With a tip of the hat to Patrick O'Grady at for getting me thinking about this. And speaking of 409....with a tip of the hat to my old man, who worked for a while in the Tonawanda Chevrolet Engine Plant, where they made those bad boys, before transferring to the Gear and Axle plant, where he had more seniority.

Somewhat related, over at Strong Towns:

High Gas Prices Are Just One Symptom of a Much Greater Problem


Thursday, March 3, 2022

NM Dept of Transportation Seeks Input on Ski Hill Road (NM 475) Repaving

 This just in. Sorry for the short notice. With a hat tip to the Seniors on Bikes

Ski Hill NMDOT seeking input on repaving

By bobb on Mar 02, 2022 09:32 am
This is an opportunity for cyclists to give their input to a cycling route that begs for improvement.
Also on March 3, today when you read this, at 6pm an online public meeting hosted by the NMDOT to discuss a reconstruction project on NM 475 from Bishops Lodge to the SF Ski Basin. Meeting is intended to inform public of plans and to solicit input. This is great opportunity for NM cyclists to provide input on what they consider a safe riding environment. Meeting is free but participants must pre-register. Go to NMDOT website at and click on link for events/public meetings.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Hopefully Not The Last Night of the World

 With all the nuclear sabre rattling going on by Russia's Vladimir Putin, I'm getting these strange feelings I used to get during the depths of the Cold War. So to take my mind off this international disaster in progress, I took a bike ride. It had to be an easy one as I managed to strain my knee going down a steep trail in the dog park. Easy works better on one of the commuter bikes as they don't encourage me to go fast or ride hard.

A nice day, Sunday was, for an easy ride on my strained knee

On the way back, I stopped to take a couple pictures of the gigantic longitudinal gap in the sidewalk sections where you descend from St. Francis Drive at Cerrillos to the Acequia Trail underpass. I sent these pictures, below, to the city Report A Problem site. Beware of these catching a tire. I could drop a 25 x 1.5 inch tire into the gap.

Infrastructure is just one of the things the Santa Fe Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee works on. I'm one of the reps from District 1 but each of us tries to worry about all four districts. That means, ideally, we need people from all four Council districts on the committee. Please volunteer. Right now we are about to work on the Strategic Plan, have been writing an E-bike ordinance, among other things. But stuff doesn't do itself. 

NOTE: I got an email from the city that a work order has been initiated to fix this:

Thank you for submitting a work order to the City of Santa Fe. This email serves as a notice that your work order request has been received by the City of Santa Fe. We will send you an additional email once your work order has been resolved.  Assigned Work Order Number: 9359
Your Work Order Description: "At the sidewalk ramp that goes from the street level at St. Francis/Cerrillos intersection down to the bike-ped underpass, there is a deep longitudinal gap in the sidewalk that can cause a cyclist to crash. It looks like it was originally filled with some sort of seam filler but that has shrunken or just fallen out."

For interim status updates on work orders, please visit the Public Work Order Dashboard. 

For questions, comments, or concerns, please call Constituent Services at 505-955-6949.

Longitudinal Gap in sidewalk on ramp down to tunnel and trail

That's a 26 x 1.5 inch tire.

And hopefully, Russia and the U.S. can keep their bombs and rockets stored. We don't want this to be Armageddon, or as Bruce Cockburn once said, "The Last Night of the World"