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Old 09-20-2007, 12:07 PM
 
2,755 posts, read 8,234,420 times
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Some of your ideas are probalby closer than you think, livecontent.

There is a movement by a quasi-governmental agency called Rocky Mountain Rail Authority to get a statewide transit tax on the ballot in a few years. Most of the counties and cities affected are members of the RMRA. It sounds a bit like "pie in the sky", but less so than at first blush -- the president, Bill Briggs, is a former RTD board member, and seems to be working pretty quietly behind the scenes to make this happen. The idea is a north-to south (I-25) rail corridor, and an east to west (I-70) corridor. One sign of this is that RTD seems to be reserving a platform in the redeveloped union station for statewide rail transit.

Also, once Fastracks tax expires in 2016 there will almost certainly be an extension of the tax to build a new generation of rail lines (they're already calling it NexTracks). If Fastracks goes smoothly, it will probably pass.

There's a lot of momentum already behind transit, and I think as long as the relevant agencies like RTD continue to deliver good solutions and gain the people's trust, the people will continue to tax themselves to deliver more transit in the future.
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Old 09-20-2007, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Westminster, CO
271 posts, read 856,766 times
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tfox, RMRA is the organizer of the "Ranger Xpress" project I mentioned. I truly hope they succeed. And yes, it will likely depend on how good a job RTD does with Fastracks. I know a lot of people aren't happy they're discussing cutbacks or public-private partnerships, but how else do you account for the nearly tenfold increase in the price of steel? There is no one to blame but the Chinese for their recent economic boom, and who would've thought?

BTW, I think the Fastracks tax is a permanent increase? It just raised the RTD sales/use tax from 0.6% to 1%, and I can't find any info about any termination date. Either way they should be able to pay it off by 2020 or perhaps 2025. At which point, there will probably be another expansion project.
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Old 09-20-2007, 08:24 PM
 
4,749 posts, read 8,076,702 times
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It was such a beautiful day in Denver, I just decided to get away from this computer addiction and sit along the creek and watch the water flow over the rocks....

I am very impressed by the posts to this thread. Smarter people than a pretender like me. Every since I was forced into retirement, I have attended many of the meetings that these issued were raised. I was also interested and participated in growing public transit for more years but having a job which required travel, limited my participation.

I have attended numerous meetings on the tax and financing. I do not pretend to understand all the complexities of the financing but The RTD tax is a permanent increase of 0.4% for regional sales and use tax, making the transit tax 1.0%. The vote was in November 2004.

There is a misunderstanding of the public that Fastracks is only to build the the "tracks". That is incorrect, it includes much more. Let me quote RTD:

"FasTracks is RTD's 12-year comprehensive plan to build and operate high-speed rail lines and expand and improve bus service and park-n-Rides throughout the region.

FasTracks includes:

* 119 miles of new light rail and commuter rail
* 18 miles of bus rapid transit service
* 21,000 new parking spaces at rail and bus stations
* Expanded bus service in all areas "

As, you can see it include bus rapid transit (BRT),expanded bus service, stations, park-n-rides and the most important word is "operate". The expansion will require more funds to operate the system, so the increase is permanent as of January 1, 2005.

The initial tax collection will help fund the plan by creating interest revenue for the anticipated construction. That, with other source of funding, will built out the system and the tax revenue generate incrementally will be used for operations.

I believe that many of the other wishful projects will not commence until the completion of the initial built out of Fastracks in 2016. Having studies, proposals, more studies, getting on the ballot, approval/not approved, more studies and proposals, Environmental Impact Statement, meetings and meetings and meetings, more studies, lawsuits, court injunctions etc. etc. etc.--well that is why my prediction may be short of a few years.

My concern about the central mountains is about high speed rail transit. It will never happen with the problems of elevations , grades etc. All high speed rail will go around these central mountains. It would only happen if their was a great increase in central mountain populations, that may change the economies so the engineer would be done--but that will never happen.

As far as the other technologies, I do not see it because this is not Europe.
What I mean is that rail transits in mountains in Austria, and Switzerland were in place before the advent of the automobile. So, Europe society accepted rail transit in these areas because there was no other option.

The expanded development of the current Rocky Mountain populations came after the development of the automobile. Yes, there was rail transit in the mountains, starting just at the last end of the 19th Century, and it provided some limited passenger transit but mostly limited commercial. However, the automobile was just on the horizon and the rail public transit did not have the extra 60 years to develop as it did in Europe. In addition we did not have the population in the mountains as in European countries. Our mountain rail transit was surpassed by cars and trucks, going along with the development of larger roads and highways.

What is left is little tourist trains that are just an antique collection for whimsical trips.

Europe continue to develop mountain rail and go forward with newer technologies. In Europe public transit is more firmly ingrained in the society, In the US, people want to use their cars and now SUVs in the mountains. I doubt seriously that we will ever draw people from their 4-wheel drives, who are going to the mountains for recreations. Their truck is part of the experience.

Sure we have the limited "ski train", "ski buses" but the most die-hard users of mountain recreation need their SUVs.

We already provide commercial traffic for mountains with trucking and hauling of ores with freight trains. Yes, we have a some dying Amtrak trains but their opportunities are in high speed rail and that will not go through the mountains.

I do not see the state and federal government funding daily train transits for the privileged populations of mountain communities. The funding for the tourist industry will be a low priority to high speed trains and municipal public transit.

I do see some regional funded rail in affluent communities and counties but most public transit will be buses and that may be difficult to fill. The type of people who mountain recreate are more car attached then the norm. A good example is to look at the passengers casino buses to the mountains, most are not affluent skier, outdoor types who go camping and hiking. And how many times have you or your friends took a trip to Vail or other mountain communities on Greyhound?

Livecontent
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Old 09-20-2007, 09:56 PM
 
Location: Westminster, CO
271 posts, read 856,766 times
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For skiing destinations like Vail etc, they don't really need their cars. In Switzerland, you can easily take the train to most any Alps destination, and most people who live there do. I've talked to many would-be tourists who'd love to take a train from DIA out to CO mountain resorts and avoid the hassles of having to rent a car just to get there or to get around there, and then driving on I-70 through the potentially hazardous traffic and weather in the winter. I'd use it too and I live here. As long as I can either take my skis along or rent a decent size locker at my favorite ski resort and just leave it there. If people want to deal with the traffic and weather on the way out, that's their prerogative. Bet you lots would opt to take a nice fast train out instead.

For most hiking destinations, they're a bit too remote/scattered/common, and do not get enough traffic to justify public transit coverage.
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Old 09-20-2007, 10:31 PM
 
4,749 posts, read 8,076,702 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oberon View Post
Bet you lots would opt to take a nice fast train out instead.
Yea, maybe you are right, I hope you are. But if it happens, I believe we will all be long gone to that big ski slope in the sky--and I will be stoking the furnace below.
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Old 09-21-2007, 05:33 PM
 
182 posts, read 430,986 times
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Which neighborhoods in Littleton are walking distance to the light rail stations? My husband works in Glendale, and we would love to be able to get rid of a car.
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Old 09-21-2007, 06:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TropicanaRose View Post
Which neighborhoods in Littleton are walking distance to the light rail stations? My husband works in Glendale, and we would love to be able to get rid of a car.
Littleton has two light rail stations, the one on Mineral and Sante Fe and the one in Old Town Littleton, at Alamo and Prince. You do not necessarily need to live within walking distance of the stations. Each station is served by multiple local routes that go to the stations. Some areas of Littleton are closer to the Oxford station in Sheridan. Glendale is served by the Colorado Station on the Southeast Line.

The best way to find the information is to go to the RTD website The Regional Transportation District Home Page. You can then go to the Park n' Ride section and look at the map--it will tell you what buses go to each stations because both of the Littleton Stations are Park n' Rides. You can get all the schedules for all routes on the website. In addition there is specific information on each rail station, under light rail, and it will tell you which routes serve each station.

Also there is a full map of the RTD system on line and you can request one to be mailed. Each station and park n' ride will give you map of the location and you can then research the streets to see if they are in walkable distance.

I hope this helps.

Livecontent
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Old 09-21-2007, 06:57 PM
 
182 posts, read 430,986 times
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Thank you so much, livecontent. We will start nosing around the online real estate listings and see how things look.
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Old 09-21-2007, 10:10 PM
Status: "Corn well over knee high!" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
67,443 posts, read 55,146,423 times
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Quote:
Sure we have the limited "ski train", "ski buses" but the most die-hard users of mountain recreation need their SUVs.
The only "ski train" goes to Winter Park, and one must go to downtown Denver to board it. There is only one run per day. I do not know the Greyhound schedule. I know there is a bus between Denver and Grand Juntion. I know of a lot of kids who take the ski bus from Boulder to Eldora. You can get it at the Boulder Transit Center or take a bus to the transit center from Louisville.
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Old 09-21-2007, 10:39 PM
 
4,749 posts, read 8,076,702 times
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Originally Posted by pittnurse70 View Post
The only "ski train" goes to Winter Park, and one must go to downtown Denver to board it. There is only one run per day. I do not know the Greyhound schedule. I know there is a bus between Denver and Grand Juntion. I know of a lot of kids who take the ski bus from Boulder to Eldora. You can get it at the Boulder Transit Center or take a bus to the transit center from Louisville.

Great Suggestion, The Bus is Route N, it cost $3.75 ( a regional rate). It accepts transfers from all other buses. That means that from anywhere, in the metro area, the most it will cost to get to Eldora is only $3.75---that is some deal!

It runs all day from early morning to the evening--it has a stop at Nederland, that is why it is N for Nederland--pretty smart. I have been on it. It is a great way to see some of the mountain areas without having a car. You can even get on the bus and ride it to the end, and take it shortly back for a return trip, just pay another fare. It is like a nice tour, for those who are just getting a feel for the mountains, even if you do not ski--and it is a nice quick trip to just Nederland for hiking or enjoying the sites.
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