MPO approves complete streets plan for county

Hannah Grover

AZTEC — The Farmington Metropolitan Planning Organization's policy committee unanimously approved a plan today that will serve as a guideline for future road and trail projects in San Juan County.

Road construction continues Wednesday on East 20th Street in Farmington. The street is one of several in the city that officials have targeted for construction projects that will promote safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The Complete Streets plan, which was presented to the committee during a meeting in Aztec, details how the cities of Farmington, Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as San Juan County and the New Mexico Department of Transportation, can make local roads safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. A final draft of the plan can be seen online at

The Complete Streets plan has been in the works for years. In 2012, officials from the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute visited San Juan County and spoke to residents and elected officials about the needs for complete streets. Later in 2012, the MPO created a complete streets advisory group to assist with developing designs and regional goals.

Between 2010 and 2014, seven pedestrians were killed by vehicles in San Juan County, according to the Complete Streets plan. Some of the ways to make the community safer for pedestrians and bicyclists are improving sidewalks, adding bike lanes and redesigning intersections, according to the plan.

While the plan will provide guidelines for local entities, some current projects also are being explored with an eye toward making streets safer for pedestrians. Farmington has identified several areas within the city limits for construction projects that will help make the streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. One of those areas is 20th Street, where the city is hoping to incorporate complete streets concepts into sidewalk designs, according to the city website.

David Sypher, the public works director for the city of Farmington, praised the plan during the meeting. He said it will be a flexible guideline that provides unity to the various entities within the county.

TRC Construction workers install electric lines Wednesday at the intersection of North Hutton Avenue and East 20th Street in Farmington.

After the meeting, MPO Planner Duane Wakan said North Dustin Avenue in Farmington north of 30th Street is an example of a road that is pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

"They have a nice park, some nice sidewalks, designated bike lanes," he said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.