New Bus Stop Would Include Cafe, Welcome Center

The New Mexican

The mayor and two city councilors are pushing to build a transportation hub next to the old state archives building at the corner of Guadalupe Street and Montezuma Avenue.

Preliminary plans call for a new bus stop, cafe, bicycle-rental shop, information booth, artifact displays, public restrooms and retail spaces adjacent to the Joseph Halpin Records Center at 404 Montezuma Ave.

The city had looked into acquiring the building, but the state reportedly wants to redevelop it as a museum, so the city began negotiating a long-term lease on the land on the east and south sides.

The Rail Runner Express’ northernmost stop is just to the southwest of the Halpin building. Santa Fe Trails, the city bus line, stops on Guadalupe Street, and the new shuttle system, the Santa Fe Pick-up, stops on Montezuma.

A resolution sponsored by Mayor David Coss and Councilors Patti Bushee and Chris Calvert would direct city staff to work with the Middle Rio Grande Council of Governments, which operates the Rail Runner train, to lease about 40,000 square feet of land there.

The resolution says the area’s proximity to the train terminal in the Santa Fe Railyard presents “an excellent opportunity to promote and facilitate alternate modes of transportation available to visitors to our city as well as local residents.”

The proposed redevelopment might mean razing the annex attached to the south side of the archives building and the free-standing ski-chalet-style building to the southwest that is used for storage by the Santa Fe Southern Railway. But both the 77-year-old Halpin building, named for the state’s first records administrator, and Gilberto Guzman’s colorful mural facing Guadalupe Street would be preserved.

The Public Works Committee unanimously approved the resolution last week. Councilor Miguel Chavez said he would like to see some kind of welcome kiosk promoting local arts and crafts, similar to those at airports.

Councilor Bushee suggested a public/private venture for a cafĂ©, plus a “meet and greet” welcome center like the one outside the First National Bank on the Santa Fe Plaza and a place where vehicles could pull over to drop off train passengers.

“The Governor’s Office was really instrumental in green-lighting this and … he wants to see something great happen here,” Bushee said.

Public Works Director Robert Romero said he is looking for federal economic-stimulus money to finance what is expected to be up to $2 million worth of work at the site.