When it comes to making sustainable choices for our environment and community, how we move around our city matters. Traditional vehicles (like personal cars and motorcycles) burn gasoline that emits greenhouse gases (GHGs), pollutes our air, and contributes to climate change. Transportation alone is the largest source of emissions in Santa Fe, accounting for nearly 35% of our overall GHG emissions.
The City of Santa Fe is taking steps to find more sustainable ways to connect our residents to work, school, and community events in a way that makes transportation not only greener, but quick and easy to access. Buses for Santa Fe Trails, the City’s public transit system, and for City trash and recyling collection run on compressed natural gas (CNG), which creates about 20% less tailpipe emissions than gasoline. Developing sustainable transportation systems in our city not only lowers emissions but improves air quality, makes our streets safer, and enhances the overall quality of life for our community.
Building the Foundation for Sustainable Transit
Source: Santa Fe MPO
Sustainable transit doesn't stop at lowering emissions; it must also be safe, efficient, and accessible to all members of the community. The Santa Fe Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)’s 2020-2045 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) was adopted by the Transportation Policy Board in May of 2020 and is thoughtfully designed to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, and those with mobility challenges. The plan’s vision is to “create and maintain a safe, efficient, and reliable transportation system with viable transportation options accessible for all users.”
Actions throughout the MTP aim to expand Santa Fe’s transit, pedestrian, and bikeways networks, helping residents to diversify the ways they get around town by making it easier to choose walking, biking, or transit.
Recent Developments for Greener Transportation
In October of 2023, the MPO added its fourth amendment to the 2020 MTP, adding seven new projects to the plan’s actions – including the addition of bike lines and sidewalks to Rodeo Bridge and additional stations for electric buses.
Source: Santa Fe MPO
The organization is also making active progress towards a critical connection of the Acequia trail between Maez Road and Los Hermanos Rodriguez Park. Homewise, a local non-profit, is working with the City to purchase necessary property to create a public connection that will allow walkers and bikers to access neighborhoods and resources on either side without needing to use Agua Fria or Cerillos.
Leading by Example: Santa Fe's Municipal Fleet Electrification
The City is also taking steps to make its own transportation outputs greener through the electrification of its municipal fleet – replacing older, decommissioned vehicles with electric or hybrid models. Just last year, the city replaced seventeen vehicles across five departments with 100% electric vehicles. These vehicles produce 70% fewer emissions than those previously in use by the City.
The municipal fleet electrification project has also added six new publicly accessible electric vehicle chargers to Santa Fe’s existing EV charging infrastructure. Residents who own EVs or are interested in purchasing them may also be qualified for rebates that make it more affordable to install EV chargers in homes in our community.
Call-To-Action: Supporting Sustainable Transit in our City
According to a study by ICLEI, Local Governments for Sustainability, there are high-impact pathways to reaching carbon neutrality. Vehicle miles traveled reduction (VMT) and electric vehicle adoption are among the most effective.
As a Santa Fe resident, you can be part of the solution when it comes to getting around the green way. The city offers a range of options to encourage sustainable commuting. Santa Fe Trails is a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around. Through the Santa Fe Trails On-Demand Transit Service, riders can request service at any bus stop by calling 505-955-2001. Consider taking the pledge to switch your daily commute for one or two days a week. Whether you choose to utilize Santa Fe trails, bike or walk, or opt to carpool, every small change counts. By reducing your reliance on single-occupancy vehicles, you're helping Santa Fe become a safer and more sustainable city.