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Old 08-04-2010, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,627 posts, read 3,706,387 times
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I have found one distinct thing that *doesn't* work with the system, though that may be immaturity of the system more than anything.

All the rail right-of-ways follow old rail right-of-ways. That's great for Park n Ride types, but it's not where the people are. I know we have buses to go where the people are, but a major selling point of rail is that you can carry more people on a trip (and more comfortably.) No matter what time of day it is, there is hardly anyone boarding or deboarding at 10th & Osage and Alameda. Even Broadway & I-25 always seems pretty sparse. Littleton does okay, but by that point, Park n Ride seems to be the main driver of the system. Louisiana / Pearl is a good idea in theory, but I'm not sure the population supports it. The system seems to work out okay going into Five Points but I've only done that a couple times. I don't see why the system didn't just go straight down Broadway...actually, I understand why it didn't, but it still seems like putting a rail somewhere because you *can* rather than because it will serve the most people.

I understand feeder buses and the way transit systems work, and to be fair I don't have actual ridership in front of me...I also understand that the new corridors should increase ridership in the current corridors if everything is planned correctly, but anecdotally (for now) it seems to be only a marginally successful system as far as station placement goes.

Why is Denver (like so many cities) opting to go where the tracks are instead of where the people are? I know it's money, but in the long term I don't see how that can ever pan out. GO WHERE THE PEOPLE ARE (or at least where they are supposed to be.)
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:04 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,608 posts, read 20,650,002 times
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I completely agree, zenkonami. There are way too many stops on the light rail system (totally agree about the 10th & Osage station), which really slows the whole thing down, especially as you get closer to downtown.

I think the "transit oriented development" model is great in theory, but what ends up happening is the new development tends to be trendy and overpriced and filled with privileged yuppies, forcing more modest income people further away-- a drive (or bus, or walk) until you qualify phenomenon.

In fact, I'd even take it a step further and ask, is the whole light rail system really about transportation needs-- moving mass numbers of people in the most efficient way possible... or is it about catering to the whims of the trendy & privileged, people who normally wouldn't even consider taking a bus, yet light rail is acceptable?
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:00 PM
 
4,267 posts, read 5,288,927 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
I think the "transit oriented development" model is great in theory, but what ends up happening is the new development tends to be trendy and overpriced and filled with privileged yuppies, forcing more modest income people further away-- a drive (or bus, or walk) until you qualify phenomenon.
I'm not so sure that I agree with this as there are neighborhoods on the line that are very affordable and a lot of the transit oriented development has just been apartment complexes rather then condos or more expensive housing.

Quote:
In fact, I'd even take it a step further and ask, is the whole light rail system really about transportation needs-- moving mass numbers of people in the most efficient way possible... or is it about catering to the whims of the trendy & privileged, people who normally wouldn't even consider taking a bus, yet light rail is acceptable?
I've often wondered the same thing. A lot of people won't take the bus but they will take the rail even when the bus is the more convenient option. I don't get it.
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Old 08-05-2010, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,184,677 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
I completely agree, zenkonami. There are way too many stops on the light rail system (totally agree about the 10th & Osage station), which really slows the whole thing down, especially as you get closer to downtown.

I think the "transit oriented development" model is great in theory, but what ends up happening is the new development tends to be trendy and overpriced and filled with privileged yuppies, forcing more modest income people further away-- a drive (or bus, or walk) until you qualify phenomenon.

In fact, I'd even take it a step further and ask, is the whole light rail system really about transportation needs-- moving mass numbers of people in the most efficient way possible... or is it about catering to the whims of the trendy & privileged, people who normally wouldn't even consider taking a bus, yet light rail is acceptable?
You bring up valid points. Isn't BelMar considered a TOD? I know they've zoned it for TOD around the future Stapleton station.

I suppose a lot of it is chicken/egg argument. It's hard to retrofit an entire metro area for light rail. I used to take the bus when I lived just off Colfax because it was easier to get downtown. I've recently used the bus to get to LR to then get to Coors Field, and I admit I liked the train better than the bus. Train was more comfortable. Buses should be for local trips with more stops, train trips should be for further distances, commuting, etc. I thought the train stopped too many places going from Downing down through downtown. Once it comes through Stapleton, I can see using it often to get downtown (especially if I worked there) and the airport. I usually take the bus to the airport rather than parking there.
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Old 08-05-2010, 03:31 PM
 
555 posts, read 1,033,969 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
I completely agree, zenkonami. There are way too many stops on the light rail system (totally agree about the 10th & Osage station), which really slows the whole thing down, especially as you get closer to downtown.

I think the "transit oriented development" model is great in theory, but what ends up happening is the new development tends to be trendy and overpriced and filled with privileged yuppies, forcing more modest income people further away-- a drive (or bus, or walk) until you qualify phenomenon.
the problem isn't too many stops, it's that the stops are in the wrong locations. as zenkonami said, the light rail seems to bypass established neighborhoods which could really use the trains and stops instead at empty lots or alongside the highway. eventually these may be filled in with TOD but that is decades away and meanwhile older neighborhoods are underserved. the real problem is that lightrail's main purpose is to provide for suburban commuters, not people who live in the urban areas of denver. the neighborhoods that would benefit the most (ie, denser) actually benefit the least.
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Old 08-05-2010, 09:11 PM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
13,217 posts, read 24,272,238 times
Reputation: 12896
Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
In fact, I'd even take it a step further and ask, is the whole light rail system really about transportation needs-- moving mass numbers of people in the most efficient way possible... or is it about catering to the whims of the trendy & privileged, people who normally wouldn't even consider taking a bus, yet light rail is acceptable?
Methinks it's option #2.

Look at the MetroLink in LA. That wasn't built for yuppies. It finally gave people an alternative to sitting in an impenetrable wall of traffic, which the RTD Light Rail does not.

Worst case scenario, it takes me 35 minutes (driving) to get downtown from the DTC (during rush hour), it's not like the light rail saves me tons of time with it's lack of stops and speed.....it just gets me out of my car is all. A break from the grind.

Light rail (as much as I like it ) is part of the "green" movement. My curiosity lies in what is going to happen to those now barrio-esque West Denver neighborhoods once the LR is up and running for awhile. Are the West Denver stops going to be like 10th/Osage, or is it eventually going to be like stopping at Whole Foods?
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Old 09-27-2010, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,861 posts, read 35,974,640 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woob View Post
i am a big supporter of public transportaion, but i have issues with the light rail here

-the southern lines follow immediately along I25 and santa fe, which means they are completely cut off from the adjoining neighborhoods. for example, the oxford station is directly across from costco, but impossible to get there by foot or bike. this was a wasted development opportunity imo. most lightrail stations are surrounded by parking lots and have done little to encourage TOD (englewood and broadway stations are the exceptions).

-the stairs to climb from the platform onto the train are ridiculously steep. I don't know of any other modern rail system with such high clearance. this is tough for the elderly and those carrying bikes.

-light rail serves the suburbs but does little for the city itself, except for the neighborhood of five points. denver should have pushed for streetcar development along with the light rail.
That's my question. Any planned changes to serve the city of Denver within the city of Denver better?
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Old 09-27-2010, 02:07 PM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,496,710 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
That's my question. Any planned changes to serve the city of Denver within the city of Denver better?
As a frequent public transit user, with years of experience, I believe Denver is well served by buses and the initial build out of the rail. That does not mean that there will be no improvement done in Denver for public transit.

All the light rail lines go through Denver, initially, to the suburbs, and have numerous stations, serving Denver. In fact there are more stations in Denver than the suburbs. You are making an assumption that all rides begin in the suburbs and end downtown--that is incorrect. Many rides begin at intermediate station and end at other stations in Denver, so the system does serve the residents of Denver with walkable stations, nearby.

Union Station, in Denver, is a big project on the agenda. The west line through Lakewood to Golden, does have many stations in Denver and will extend pass Denver, only at the Sheridan city border. That line is nearing completion.

The east line will transit more Denver northern neighborhoods and construction has been begun and will end at the airport, which is in Denver.

So, there is no truth to the idea that the rail only serves the suburbs. What you are proposing is more streetcars. In actuality inner core light rail, with numerous close in downtown stations served some of the same situations in a dense urban area as a streetcar.

In many RTD public meetings which I attended, streetcars were considered as alternatives and were rejected. The Gold line, into Arvada, had numerous proposal for streetcars, through North Denver but did not look to serve as well as the electric heavy rail that was finally decided. Streetcars are not always the best situation today because they require a dedicated auto lane for efficient transit. Years ago, there were not many autos and the positioning of this system was not a problem on many streets. However, today there is much more auto transit and a streetcar can be more problematic. That is not to say, that in the future, some streets will not be considered for streetcars but they would have to anticipate less auto with the streetcar use; restrictions will have to be put in place by removal of parking lanes and lessen auto traffic only for local neighborhood use.

Keep in mind, that before, we concentrate, refine and build more public transit infrastructure in Denver, we must extend more public transit and specifically rail to the outlying suburbs. These areas, like Adams County, Boulder County, and the largest Suburban City of Aurora are part of the RTD district and do deserve service as they also pay the RTD tax. The Regional Transportation District serves multiple counties and cities, not just Denver. The extensive rail lines, that extend far out from Denver, were part of the Fastracks program which was approved by the voters; we cannot abandon that promise to built streetcars, at this time, under a tight budget.

Livecontent
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Old 09-30-2010, 04:51 PM
 
114 posts, read 279,657 times
Reputation: 137
I'm glad this thread got bumped, as I had forgotten to report back. I was staying at a friend's place in the outskirts of Littleton. On the day we went downtown, we first attempted to drive to the park-n-ride at downtown Littleton and catch the last morning train that went to Union Station (C-line). There was no parking available, and without clear guidance to where the overflow parking actually was (at least that we saw), we decided to just get on Santa Fe and head towards Englewood. We got stuck in a traffic jam due to construction, but made it into the parking ramp in time (we thought) to catch the train. We were walking across the bridge to the platform as the train pulled up. There were two vending machines there, and while one was open, a kid basically ran up and beat us to it. He picked his ticket options but had to fumble around in his bag for money. He finally got his ticket in time to run up and push the green button to open the doors. Unfortunately, with what I thought was the very slow speed of the ticket machine, we got out tickets as the train was leaving. Good thing we knew a train for the line to downtown (D-line) was coming shortly. I realized later that we could have gotten off at the I-25 station and waited for an E-line train to DUS, which would have been a reasonable wait.

I was pleasantly surprised at the speed of the train. The train was empty enough so we didn't have to worry about knocking knees with strangers. From the stations we passed through, I could definitely see how people had concerns that the stations were essentially cut-off from one side, primarily due to the adjacent freight tracks and highway. That's a big detriment if the hope is to promote walkable, transit-oriented development around the stations.

We disembarked at the 16th St Mall, and spent the day downtown, including going near (but not in) Union Station, so I didn't get to see what the platforms and area around them at DUS were like. At the end of our day, having worked our way over to the State Capitol, we took the MallRide back to the light rail line. Free, frequent service ... no complaints there. Even though the ticket machine again seemed to take forever to print and dispense a ticket, we weren't scrambling to catch a train this time, and had an uneventful trip back. All in all, not bad, although I wish the full C-line service to DUS was all day, but I can understand if that is not really needed.

It will be interesting to follow the continued development of the rail system. I still think the connection to the airport is going to be a big hit with visitors.

On a non-RTD, but still transportation, note, I was intrigued by the B-cycle program I first saw at the Market St Station. I know some other US cities have similar programs, but it seems like it should catch on in many more.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:52 PM
 
20,813 posts, read 38,998,701 times
Reputation: 19004
Default FEDs Announce $1.0B in funds for Light Rail

Today the Federal Government announced they were providing funds for two of the light rail lines, including one line to DIA. Good news. Long-term investors are probably buying up properties near those lines right now.

Excerpt:

ARVADA, Colo.U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has signed an agreement committing $1.03 billion in federal funds for two planned light rail lines in Denver.

One line will link downtown to DIA. The other will link downtown to the northwest suburbs of Arvada and Wheat Ridge.

The $1.03 billion award that LaHood announced Wednesday is the last piece of funding needed for the $2.1 billion Eagle P3 project, which includes both light rail lines and is part of the FasTracks program to expand transit in the Denver area. Local funds and privately arranged financing are funding the rest of Eagle P3.
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