FasTracks Progress: Post A-Line Coverage Preview

Yesterday was a wonderful day for RTD and the Denver metro area. I just wanted to share a few photos with you of the Denver Airport Station as a preview for what’s to come this next week. The station is truly beautiful!

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What an amazing sight from the platforms.

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I hope everyone is enjoying the celebrations going on today along the A-Line. As a reminder, the whole rail system is free today!

By | 2017-01-07T04:00:51+00:00 April 23, 2016|Categories: Infrastructure, Parks & Public Spaces, Transit, Urban Design|Tags: , |10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Pete April 23, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Train worked well, great excitement and lots of people using it. Not sure why RTD waited until tomorrow to complete connectivity of bus routes to the train stations. Confusion and frustration was prevalent at the 40th and Colorado Blvd station, where people were waiting for the bus at the stop right next to the train station, only to be told (after waiting for a while) that the bus stop wasn’t operational until tomorrow, and they had to walk three blocks to the bus stop.

    • Nash April 23, 2016 at 9:18 pm

      Never made it to DIA, but rode in from Peoria to Union Station, after the RTD guy said “It’s a two hour wait to get back on the train from the airport.”

      The backside of Industrial Denver is rude and historic and very close to the tracks. The seats are nice, almost plush, even better than the cush DC Metro seats. And the ride is super smooth. When an on-coming train whizzes by, you get that big-city feel, the anonymity of impersonal heavy machinery roaring past, moving tons of steel and hundreds of silhouetted figures inside blurred windows, surging with a higher purpose than any personal trip.

      Union Station packed. On the swarming platform, another uniformed watcher said it would be an hour and a half to board the train back towards the airport, then directed me to the Wewatta Station, across the tracks. Down the escalator through the bus tunnel, up on the light rail platform, more questions, then back along 17th to Wewatta, and onto an articulated bus, showing “Rail” on its marquees.

      The driver was nice, taking us on a tour of the A-Line stations east, another look at Industrial, more interesting than tree-lined boulevards to the south. I hopped off and he flashed a wide smile, as another shiny new A-Train rolled into Peoria Station.

      “We’ll get it right,” another RTD boss grinned at me, as I headed for my car, then feeling familiar and secure in my seat behind the wheel, and realizing so many like me may be learning some new moves, waiting on platforms instead of at traffic lights, looking at faces of fellow-passengers, rather than their cars, seeing out side windows down flashes of streets, no longer in that pavement scramble, now rolling past it.

      • Nash April 24, 2016 at 9:12 pm

        The Global Passenger.

        Boarding with the crowd at Peoria Station, headed towards Union Station, I looked for a seat, found one next to a window, and noticed the woman seated behind me. Noticed that she didn’t look anything like the rest of the riders.

        She was about 60, wrapped in bright solid colors, with her hair covered in a headscarf, probably from the Middle East or South Asia. She glanced at me, but showed no reaction, seeming to be looking past everything moving around her outside the moving train, past everyone inside the car.

        The crowd was the kind of people you see at amusement parks, sweatshirts, Bermuda shorts, tennis shoes and flipflops, baseball caps, the dads scanning everything, wide-eyed, the mothers intent on their strollers and wiggling kids. You get the impression that these suburban-looking families may never again ride this train — too expensive at nine bucks one way — and this is a one-time free fun ride.

        The lone woman, a small carry-on suitcase with wheels next to her, looks almost bored, as if she’s traveled a long, tired way, having ridden many trains in cities far away, and tired from a long flight. She’s the very kind of global traveler this airport train was designed for — and the thought occurs that hopefully the RTD people managing the airport cue spotted her as a real traveler, and moved her to the head of the long line waiting to board.

        Off the train downtown, I notice she goes straight to one of the uniformed RTD guys on the platform, obviously asking for directions, and he’s pointing away at something, as she listens intently.

        Unnoticed by others, she moves on, pulling her small suitcase, perhaps arriving in Colorado for the first time, from a place on the other side of the world. She is what the Train to the Plane is really about, not the free-riders who may never again board the A-Line, may never adapt to riding trains as a way of getting around in a city, or to other cities.

        There is the Car Culture. And there is the Urban Culture, which often includes No Car. Light rail brings people from their suburban car world to work. Now heavy rail moves city people to the world. An urban culture you feel at once, on the A-Train.

  2. Ezzie April 23, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    I’m on the train rite now at d I a

  3. Rob C April 25, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    I was there on both days. This is such a boon for Denver and I’m so glad we got it right this time!

  4. Nick In Boulder April 25, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Very nice.. now, when can we Boulderites expect the refund we’re owed for FastTracks?

    We voted to voluntarily tax ourselves for RAIL from Denver to Boulder and back. Instead we got worse bus service than before and rail everywhere else.

    I’m serious – Boulder should sue RTD for their money back.

    • Nathanael April 25, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      Just force RTD to actually build the train to Boulder. ASAP. Top priority.

      You have the political clout. Make it happen.

      BNSF’s traffic is way down due to the collapse of the coal industry. Betcha they offer a lower price for the line than they did two years ago.

    • Jason C April 26, 2016 at 7:32 am

      Rail to Boulder is coming. RTD has had to prioritize the lines it could build out quickly using federal and private money. If RTD had started with Boulder we would now have no other lines. I don’t think that would be better. Now that they’ve started NW rail I expect they will keep pushing to extend it further each year. BTW, it’s not as though Boulder has built all the other lines – contributions from the rest of the district are higher. In fact, all the taxes collected in Boulder don’t add up to enough to purchase the NW rail right of way.

    • Paul April 26, 2016 at 8:29 am

      The entire Denver Metro Area voted to voluntarily tax themselves and to subsidize the most expensive line in the area that serves the fewest people. When can we demand our refund for the transit improvement that we won’t see because Boulder is crying about not getting a $1.12B rail line that will carry fewer then 10,000 passengers per day?

      Boulder County has paid roughly $150M into FasTracks over the past decade and has received over $150M in new infrastructure in the form of the Flatiron Flyer (which is faster, more frequent, and carries 50% more passengers than what it replaced- hardly worse). If you think about it, you guys up there have paid for your new line, but have only now started on the contributions for the choo-choo to nowhere. Meanwhile, the rest of the Denver Metro Area will continue to see our tax dollars flow up north in order to fulfill the promise of FasTracks for what is arguably the biggest boondoggle in the entire damn program.

      • Nash April 28, 2016 at 11:50 am

        Thank you Paul, for showing us the facts that reveal the simple truth about taxing and spending. Politics.

        And the composition of the RTD Board. 15 members, one from each gerrymandered “district.” Only 3 represent areas in the city of Denver — which ended up with the most densely-populated areas (Capitol Hill, Cherry Creek and Northwest Denver) with NO rail service.

        Meanwhile, Boulder eventually gets TWO lines, for very few people. Fast Tracks would have been voted down by the people of Denver, if they had known how the core city would be so under-served by RTD, which is dominated by suburban political interests.

        As they say, a camel is a horse put together by a committee.

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