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Old 06-23-2010, 09:55 PM
 
114 posts, read 280,939 times
Reputation: 137

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I work professionally in the transportation field, and here in southern Wisconsin, we are just getting our feet wet in modern rail passenger service. We have Amtrak (the popular Hiawatha route between Milwaukee & Chicago, and the Empire Builder passes through), and a little streetcar loop in Kenosha, but that's about it. Milwaukee is talking about both a streetcar line and a commuter rail system that connects to the existing Chicago Metra service in Kenosha. Madison is looking at a system that's not really light rail and not really commuter rail (DMUs on existing freight tracks, but with station spacing typical of light rail systems). Plus, the state was awarded federal stimulus money to implement "high speed" (by US standards) rail between Milwaukee and Madison. The final design for that system is just getting underway.

Anyway, I am likely coming out to Denver this summer, and I want to spend at least part of a day touring the light rail system. I've been to the area numerous times, just not since the light rail has opened. I've tried to read up on RTD, including some of the other threads on the subject in this forum. I'm interested to learn about some of the things that you feel work well with the LRT system, and some that could have been implemented better. These could be in regards to station locations and spacing, platform design, speed, comfort, noise, accessibility, park-and-rides, transfers to/from buses, interference with vehicular traffic, fares and payment systems, etc. How does Denver's system compare to those in other places you may have ridden? I'll probably just buy a day-pass and ride around, checking out the downtown, Union Station, and some of the fringe park-and-ride locations. Any locations I shouldn't miss?

Also, even though none of FasTracks has been implemented yet, I'm curious what people think of the varying technologies that are going to be used besides LRT, such as BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), and EMU / DMU railcars.

Thanks for any input.
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Old 06-23-2010, 11:26 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,608 posts, read 20,727,189 times
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The light rail system is great. I've used the southeast line many times from the 9 Mile park n ride station to downtown. The ride itself is ~40 minutes, plus time spent traveling to the station, buying the ticket, walking up the stairs and waiting. Unless there is a worse-than-usual rush hour traffic backup on I-25/225, it usually is faster to drive than take the train, but at least the train is reliable & predictable. You won't have to find parking downtown, but parking at the stations can be a hassle too. Sometimes the Park & Ride lots fill up, in which case a "plan B" would be required. Most of the light rail has its own separate right of way, except for the final stretch downtown. Only complaint I have is it is very expensive. A round trip ticket from 9 Mile to Downtown is $7.00. From the Lincoln Station to downtown roundtrip is $9.00. I don't know of any other urban transit system where the tickets are that high!
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Old 06-23-2010, 11:33 PM
 
3,605 posts, read 5,060,494 times
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I feel that low ridership throughout RTD is the main reason for the high cost. Sure, a decent number of people ride RTD, but compared to most east coast cities ...
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Old 06-24-2010, 12:24 AM
 
Location: The North
5,083 posts, read 9,101,145 times
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Costs are very similar to other areas with light rail, I don't think they are bad at all. Biggest issue is always going to be how close to work you can get on it. When all the new lines are up and running it will be make it significantly better for commutes, but that is still years away.
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
2,181 posts, read 5,638,520 times
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I don't like the way the seats in the cars are arranged. I hate being forced to sit across from strangers in such close proximity and I usually opt to stand.

Otherwise, it's a nice system.
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:40 AM
 
Location: On the Rails in Northern NJ
12,381 posts, read 23,388,700 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davros View Post
I feel that low ridership throughout RTD is the main reason for the high cost. Sure, a decent number of people ride RTD, but compared to most east coast cities ...
Ridership will get higher , a few more Gas spikes will do that. And all the planned TOD my Denver Friend sent me will drive ridership up. I like how all your future plans seem to go into one hub. Not many cities do that these days. I like how your combining old architecture with new Modern kinds. Aka Union Station. So take it form Northeastern your system isn't all that bad. I'll give it a "B"
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:59 AM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
13,238 posts, read 24,442,308 times
Reputation: 13010
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboyxjon View Post
I don't like the way the seats in the cars are arranged. I hate being forced to sit across from strangers in such close proximity and I usually opt to stand.
Yeah. I want to bust up the silence and ask every group of four people why in the heck they aren't talking to each other.
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Old 06-24-2010, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
2,181 posts, read 5,638,520 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Aguilar View Post
Yeah. I want to bust up the silence and ask every group of four people why in the heck they aren't talking to each other.
Hehe!

I just feel awkward, like if I'm sitting on the aisle-side of the seat and I want to look out the window. I feel like everyone else thinks I'm staring at them or something.
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Old 06-24-2010, 10:52 AM
 
Location: On the Rails in Northern NJ
12,381 posts, read 23,388,700 times
Reputation: 4519
What does the Seating look like?
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Old 06-24-2010, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
2,181 posts, read 5,638,520 times
Reputation: 2073
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
What does the Seating look like?
It's like restaurant booths without tables. The seats face each other without much space between you and the people across from you. There's a skinny aisle in the center of the train.
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