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Impressed by the outpouring of support for Axle Contemporary at the City Council hearing on May 25th, Mayor Gonzales and the City Council voted unanimously to postpone the vote on a bill that would have shut down Axle Contemporary on Canyon Road. We give our thanks to the mayor, council members, and especially to everyone who called, wrote letters, and testified. 


Since then, Bill 2016-22 and attached Resolution have been greatly revised, and substitutions have replaced the originals. Thanks to Councilor Maestas and Matt O’Reilly for responding to the input they have received so far, the substitute Bill and Resolution are acceptable to both Axle Contemporary and the Canyon Road Merchants Association. The next vote is scheduled for July 27th at 7pm. Please show up and voice your support.




Mobile vendors are not currently restricted on Canyon Road, and never have been. Axle has been the only mobile vendor operating regularly on Canyon Road since 2010, about once a week and for occasional "Friday Art Walks.”  We have heard that there have been a few sightings of other art trucks in recent months. As we understand it, one food truck has appeared on two separate occasions, by invitation. 


Mobile vendors were prohibited on the Plaza until last year, when three parking spaces were designated exclusively for them.  Relaxation of the prohibition on the plaza and revision of mobile vendor licensing rules are part of a widely supported effort to include mobile vendors in the economic, entrepreneurial, and creative life of Santa Fe. 


Councilors Maestas and Ives co-sponsored BILL 2016-22, modeled on the plaza regulations, which would have created a large new business zoning area called the Canyon Road Periphery Area (CRPA) in order to prohibit all mobile vending within it, except where designated by resolution.  The resolution proposed one space for mobile vendors in the entire CRPA, at the back of the municipal parking lot, leased by the city, across from El Farol. The vote on this bill was postponed, and City Staff was instructed to look for additional parking spaces.


Since then, a safety study by City Staff has identified two parking spaces on Canyon Road, which can be designated exclusively for mobile vendors for operation throughout all normal business hours. This is acceptable to Axle Contemporary and the Canyon Road Merchants Association.


Now, a Substitute Bill and Resolution have been proposed. Councilor Maestas and City Staff member Matt O’Reilly have been recognized and thanked for their clear commitment to crafting this legislation in response to the public input received so far. In brief, it proposes the following:


  • Creation of the Canyon Road Periphery Area (CRPA): This area would be bounded by Paseo de Peralta on the west, the southern right-of-way line of East Alameda Street on the north, East Palace Avenue and Camino del Monte Sol on the east, and Canyon Road and Acequia Madre Street on the south. This area includes both sides of the boundary streets, except along the southern right-of-way line of East Alameda Street.


  • Designation of two 25-foot parking spaces exclusively for mobile vendors on Canyon Road: One just past 500 Canyon Road (Economos Gallery), and a second, across from El Zaguan. Mobile vendors are banned on publc streets in the rest of the CRPA.


  • Exemption of private property, so property owners may continue to host mobile vendors in their own driveways and parking areas.


  • Clarification of vehicle requirements: For walk-in mobile vendors, operating on a street, entry doors must be on the adjacent sidewalk side or the rear of the vehicle.


  • Expansion of hours of operation:  Mobile vendors can operate during all normal business hours in the area.



There are two more opportunities for public input:

Monday, July 25th

Public Works, CIP & Land Use Committee, 5:00 PM, City Council Chambers, City Hall, 200 Lincoln Avenue, Santa Fe, NM.

Check here for time & /agenda, published at least 72 hours prior to meeting.


Wednesday, July 27th, 7pm. 

City Council, City Council Chambers, City Hall, 200 Lincoln Avenue, Santa Fe, NM.

Here is the agenda. Ours is item H-5



If you can't make it to the meetings you can sign our petition here if you haven't already, and/or write or phone the Mayor and the City Councilors.




We believe that mobile vendors of all kinds make a vital contribution to the present and future economy, entrepreneurship, and creative life of Santa Fe.


We support the goal of City Council to integrate mobile vendors in public spaces throughout Santa Fe, including Canyon Road, with respect for public safety and area concerns.


We do not believe that sweeping new zoning and regulations are necessary in order to shape the future of mobile of vending on Canyon Road. We believe this legislation sets a precedent for limiting the potential for mobile vendors to participate in the natural growth of civic life in our public spaces throughout town, and fear that it could have negative future consequences for the entire area surrounding Canyon Road. We believe there are other effective ways for the city to limit the number of mobile vendor parking spaces on Canyon Road if needed.


If new zoning and regulations are deemed necessary, we urge the passage of the Substitute Bill and Resolution with no further restrictive amendments.  If this cannot be achieved, we urge City Council to reject this bill and Resolution.


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Here is a link to the original Bill and Resolution (PDF). (Bill starts on page 8)

Here are the relevant minutes from the City Council meeting on May 25th



Here is the newly proposed substitute bill.

Here is the newly proposed substitute resolution


To watch the video of the May 25th City Council meeting, go to the bottom of the homepage on the City of Santa Fe website and click on Videos & Webcasts, then click on City Council to get a drop down menu. Select the video from May 25, 2016 (It starts at timestamp 3:43).


ACTION ITEMS: Take your pick, or do them all!


1. Click here to sign our petition


2. Consider recommending the rejection of this entire bill: Citing overreach and unnecessary regulation, Councilors Lindell and Harris, and many Santa Fe residents, are concerned about the effect of this bill due to its effect on the whole Canyon Road are.


3. Write to the Mayor and City Councilors to ensure Axle's continued robust operation on Canyon Road (contact info below). Paste in the example below, or write your own - your voice matters!


Dear Mayor Gonzales and City Council,


Thank you in advance for your careful consideration of the upcoming Substitute Bill and Resolution 2016-22 Councilor Maestas has submitted in response to the concerns expressed by Axle Contemporary and the Canyon Road Merchants Association at your meeting on May 25th.


In your ongoing effort to safely integrate vehicle vendors in the economic, entrepreneurial, and creative life of Santa Fe, please ensure the continued robust presence of Axle Contemporary on Canyon Road and in the surrounding area during normal business hours, and for openings and other events.


If the proposed business zoning and regulations are deemed necessary for Canyon Road and the surrounding area, please pass the Substitute Bill and Resolution with no amendments that would further restrict mobile vendors. If this cannot be achieved, please reject this Bill and Resolution entirely. 


--Add your signature & street address



4. Spread the news: Talk about why Axle matters to you. Reach out to others who will voice their support or publicize this issue.


5. Attend the Public Works Committee meeting regarding this issue: Monday July 25th, 5pm, City Council Chambers, City Hall. This is our main chance to provide input before the bill goes to City Council.


6. Attend the meeting of the City Council on July 27th and speak your mind. The City Council will vote to accept or reject the Bill & Resolution.



Councilor Joseph Maestas is the sponsor of Bill 2016-22, brought forth in response to concerns expressed by the Canyon Road Merchants Association (CRMA) that public safety requires the prohibition of mobile vendor parking directly on Canyon Road, and on all streets in the surrounding area, due to a recent increase of mobile vendors in Santa Fe. 


Since 2010, Axle Contemporary has been the only mobile vendor with a consistent presence on Canyon Road, once a week and occasionally for Friday Art Walks and other events. Some Councilors, and many Santa Fe residents, feel that Bill 2016-22 proposes overregulation now, and potential unintended consequences in the future.


Axle Contemporary operates as a non-food vendor, in a van that is the same size as a full size pick-up truck (18 feet), with no-noise electricity, and no street-side entry. In all of our locations, we avoid blocking the visibility of brick-and-mortar businesses, unless specifically invited to park in front, or if the business is closed. We've worked successfully with all partners, businesses, police, museums, and other organizations to ensure public safety and a respectful presence everywhere we park.


We were not informed about the CRMA concerns before or during the development of this bill, and (thanks to Councilor Lindell) only learned about the City Council hearing hours before the vote.


Irene Hofmann, Director and Chief Curator of SITE Santa Fe, reported to the City Council on her experience of welcoming of Axle’s weekly presence, stating: “They are very conscientious in the way they operate at SITE and around the city.” Also advocating for Axle on Canyon Road, Sandra Brice, Events & Marketing Director at the Railyard, questioned whether there was a failure in communication with Axle, and suggested that better dialogue might prevent the need for the City of Santa Fe to impose unnecessary regulation.


Faced with the possibility of new regulations for a problem very few had noticed, the question we’re hearing most frequently is: why would anyone want to push Axle Contemporary off Canyon Road?


Taken aback by the testimony at the hearing, Councilor Maestas responded quickly, saying, "It was never my intent to specifically ban any particular vehicle vendor.  This was strictly a public safety issue." Councilor Ives (co-sponsor) expressed real surprise and dismay that the bill would affect Axle at all.


City staff has been instructed to explore whether any safe spaces can be found for mobile vendors on Canyon Road (and adjacent cross streets). Councilor Maestas is considering an amendment to expand hours for mobile vendors on Canyon Road, and has promised to bring everyone together to reach consensus on a parking location, once the study is complete.


Axle Contemporary requires access to pedestrians on Canyon Road itself, during normal business hours, and for openings and other events. Also, all private property should be exempt from the proposed regulations. This will allow property owners to retain control of their private parking areas and also permit Axle to continue collaborating with businesses in the area. If it is not possible to amend the bill and resolution accordingly, we ask that city council reject the bill entirely.


We are artists ourselves, dedicated to supporting New Mexico artists, and the flourishing of our city & state. We add to the vitality of Santa Fe by providing the chance to experience non-commercial and experimental contemporary art, and bringing the work of hundreds of New Mexico artists to schools and underserved communities in town, throughout the state, and beyond, through contact with locals, visitors and members of print, broadcast and social media.


We collaborate regularly with local public and private arts organizations and leading galleries to effectively extend their outreach. We receive support through Axle Projects from NM Arts, The City of Santa Fe Arts Commission, and the McCune Foundation, among others; and, we are a much-appreciated presence in all other Santa Fe arts districts.


We bring locals and visitors to Canyon Road, many of whom come specifically for our exhibitions, increasing the visibility, spirit and standing of Santa Fe as a Creative City.


Sales on Canyon Road are one of the many crucial small sources of revenue that help to defray our total cost of operation.


It is in the heart of the city that locals and visitors come out in abundance, specifically to enjoy the street life  – whether that’s the plaza, Canyon Road, or the Railyard. Restrictions on creative activities in these areas will gradually lead to a stultification of the vibrancy of the city as a whole. If our economy depends on arts and on tourism, we should encourage innovation and public expression in the center of the city. Otherwise, downtown will become an outdated commercial tourist attraction with decreasing relevance to our people and our time. Property owners, residents, and businesses in the Canyon Road Arts District are valued and must be respected.  But this is also our civic space as a whole community, and the public spaces, including the streets, especially in the highly trafficked downtown areas, are vital to the heath of the entire city. Public art exhibition, performance, and other creative activities have a reciprocal and beneficial impact on locals and visitors. Mobile vendors offer a vital presence that helps these areas thrive and remain relevant. Let's keep our city vibrant! 


Although the property owners and established businesses on Canyon Road who deserve our respect will soon adapt to living with mobile vendors, the City’s character, vitality, and economic potential will not adapt to losing that opportunity. In this case, less regulation equals more vitality.

                                                                                 -Zane Fischer



Public input is essential!

Keep calm and let's fix this together!

This is a learning process for everyone who cares.

Please be respectful in speech and action

with all who may be impacted by this important vote.


Are new regulations necesary? Photos submitted by CRMA president Bonnie French, Exhibit 10, 5/25/16 City Council Hearing.


KRQE weighs in with a doctored image and misrepresentation in a 4/27/16 "news" story:

This is the source image for the doctored image above. No food trucks were  there.


An article by Elizabeth Miller in the Santa Fe Reporter


Read it here

(and add your comments to a discussion)

TRAFFIC ON CANYON ROAD: Horses heading the wrong way on the one-way section.  We love having them there and think they should also be allowed to stay. 


An Axle booksigning at Photo-Eye in 2013.  Under the proposed ordinance, Axle would be banned from parking in private lots and driveways,  including this location on Garcia Street, as well as on public streets throughout the area.


A slideshow of Images from a recent Friday evening on Canyon Road

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You may of course contact us at Axle Contemporary with any comments or suggestions:

Call or write:
505-670-5854: Matthew Chase-Daniel, Axle Contemporary
505-670-7612: Jerry Wellman, Axle Contemporary


Contact your representatives:




(505) 955-6590



Renee Villarreal
District 1 Councilor
(505) 955-2345


Signe I. Lindell
District 1 Councilor
(505) 955-6812


Joseph M. Maestas- primary sponsor of the bill
District 2 Councilor
(505) 955-6815


Peter Ives- co-sponsor of the bill
District 2 Councilor
(505) 955-6816


Carmichael Dominguez
District 3 Councilor
(505) 955-6814


Chris Rivera
District 3 Councilor
(505) 955-6818


Ron Trujillo
District 4 Councilor
(505) 955-6811


Michael Harris
District 4 Councilor
(505) 955-6817



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