The Downtown Bernalillo Rail Runner Station will soon be a lot more pedestrian friendly, as construction has started on improvements that will add amenities to that station that will make it safer for people to walk and ride their bikes nearby.
“I’m excited that construction has started – the new sidewalks, pedestrian crossing of the railroad tracks, and fencing will not only improve safety for town residents but will make it easier to walk and bicycle to the station,” said Town of Bernalillo Mayor Jack Torres. “I also want to give credit to New Mexico Representative Jane Powdrell-Culbert whose capital outlay was key to getting the project started," added Mayor Torres.
The project, which is the result of a combined effort of the Town of Bernalillo, Rio Metro Regional Transit District (Rio Metro), and the State of New Mexico, will include:
- Pedestrian crossing with lights, gates, and bells near Downtown Bernalillo Rail Runner Station
- Connections from that crossing linking to adjoining streets, sidewalks, and the station platform
- Fencing between Avenida Bernalillo and Calle Presidente
Construction is expected to take about three months, and is expected to cause no impacts to Rail Runner service, station access, or parking.
While it is illegal to enter the rail right of way or cross the railroad tracks anywhere except at official crossings, monitoring of the station area by Rio Metro officials shows that the area is a popular place for people to walk across the railroad tracks.
“Each day, 16-Rail Runner trains - as well as two Amtrak “Southwest Chief” trains – travel through the Town,” says Dewey Cave, Executive Director of Rio Metro. “This project will provide a safe way for people to cross the track and hopefully help discourage trespassing in the railroad right of way”.
The second phase of the project will focus on ways to address the safety related to the significant amount of pedestrian travel along the tracks – both north and south of the station – along with evaluation of the pedestrian crossings at the acequia behind the elementary school. Planning and engineering for the second phase will begin this winter.