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Old April 3rd, 2006, 05:44 PM   #1
hkskyline
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DENVER | LRT

Transit Strike in Denver Strands Thousands
By KIM NGUYEN
3 April 2006

DENVER (AP) - Thousands of commuters scrambled to find rides to work Monday after transportation workers in the Denver area went on strike for the first time in 24 years, shutting down rail service and more than half the region's bus routes.

Striking Regional Transportation District workers were on the picket lines early Monday, some holding signs that read: "RTD put us on the street, but we'd rather be serving you."

"Our members have been working seven days a week without a day off and have worked for three years without a wage increase," said Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001 President Yvette Salazar. "We want to apologize to our riders, but the workers are extremely tired. This is the last straw."

In Boulder, the University of Colorado made preparations for the estimated 10,000 students, faculty and staff who use the transit system, urging them to carpool and walk or bike to campus.

The shutdown was also expected to cause headaches for fans headed to Coors Field for the Colorado Rockies' opening game.

Overall, the system averages about 275,000 rides per weekday.

Union leadership had recommended approval of RTD's latest labor proposal, but 55 percent of workers rejected the offer, which included a wage hike of $1.80 an hour over three years, with 15-cent raises in hourly pay every quarter. No new talks were immediately scheduled.

"It's very disappointing," said transit spokesman Scott Reed. "We had the largest wage rate increase offer in RTD's history on the table, and we agreed to do exactly what the union requested, which was split possible future health care cost increases."

RTD officials said they would keep 45 percent of the system's bus routes opearting, but rail service, regional service and transit centers would be shut down.

Carol Erven-Robinson, 25, said she would have to find another mode of transportation from a halfway house where she is staying to a downtown restaurant where she works.

"There are 160 women here and all of us rely on the bus system to get to work, to get to appointments, to get anywhere," Erven-Robinson said. "We're all trying to figure out how do we get to work."

Fifty-five percent of the 1,750 Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001 members voted Sunday to reject the Regional Transportation District's latest contract offer, union officials said.

"I kind of felt like this was going to happen. I feel kind of numb," said bus operator Deb Sena. "But do they want the best people for the job? Or do they just want any person off the street?"
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Old April 7th, 2006, 05:27 PM   #2
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Denver transit workers vote on strike-ending contract offer
7 April 2006

DENVER (AP) - Train operators and mechanics were voting on a proposed contract Friday as their five-day-old strike left tens of thousands of commuters in the Denver area without their usual transportation.

Terms of the contract offer have been closely guarded by Regional Transportation District officials and the leadership of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001, which represents 1,750 RTD workers.

The agreement was reached Wednesday during a meeting with a federal mediator.

Cal Marsella, general manager of the transit agency, told the Rocky Mountain News the proposed contract does not exceed $15.3 million -- the amount the agency was willing to spend in its last offer, which union members rejected.

The walkout is the first transit strike in metropolitan Denver in 24 years. The transit agency averages about 275,000 rides per day on bus and light rail routes in the area.

------

On the Net:

Regional Transportation District: http://www.rtd-denver.com

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001: http://www.atu1001.org

American Public Transportation Association: http://www.apta.com
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Old April 9th, 2006, 07:34 AM   #3
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Strike over, transit workers get buses, trains ready to go Monday
By DAN ELLIOTT
8 April 2006

DENVER (AP) - Mechanic Todd Platten is glad he's going back to work to get Denver's buses up and running after a weeklong strike, even though a new labor agreement that won final approval on Saturday is less than he hoped for.

All the Regional Transportation District's bus routes and train lines were expected to be operating during the Monday morning rush after the RTD board unanimously approved the deal.

The union representing 1,750 mechanics, drivers and train operators had accepted it by an 82 percent majority the day before.

"I guess I still feel that the contract isn't the greatest, but we can live with it," Platten said.

Although the latest deal was worth the same as previous offers -- $15.3 million -- it was restructured so that workers will get more of it in the first part of the three-year contract, the union and transit agency said.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001 walked out Monday over wages and benefits, forcing thousands of commuters to find other ways to get to work. More than half of RTD's bus routes and all its light rail trains were idled.

Under state law, about 45 percent of RTD's regular routes are operated by private contractors, and they kept running during the strike.

The law requires RTD to award half its bus routes to private companies. About 10 percent of the contracted routes are dedicated to special services such as those for the disabled; the rest are regular routes.

The revised contract was drawn up Wednesday with the help of federal mediators. It includes a wage increase of $1.80 an hour over three years, starting with a 50-cent-an-hour raise retroactive to March 1.

The remainder will come in smaller increments every quarter through December 1, 2008.

The deal also calls for RTD to increase its contribution to health insurance by $20 a month retroactive to April 1 and pay more into a health-and-welfare trust fund.

Union members were angry that some RTD executives got raises of 38 percent to 48 percent while their pay was frozen under the previous contract.

"We went three years with a freeze, and during that freeze gas went up, my health (costs) went up, groceries went up," Platten said. "Actually it was a loss."

RTD runs bus and light-rail systems in Denver and all or parts of seven surrounding counties, a service area with about 2.5 million residents. It averages about 275,000 rides per weekday.


On the Net:
Regional Transportation District: http://www.rtd-denver.com
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001: http://www.atu1001.org
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Old December 4th, 2007, 11:55 PM   #4
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Denver Loves Light Rail

Denver's FasTracks makes gains in popularity
By Kevin Flynn, Rocky Mountain News
December 4, 2007

A poll commissioned by RTD on its $6.1 billion, 12-year rapid transit expansion program, buffeted by an unprecedented hike in construction costs in three years, has more people approving of it now than favored it at the polls three years ago.

FasTracks won support from 79 percent of the people who answered yes to the following question: "Regardless of how you voted in 2004, do you believe approval of FasTracks was a good decision or a bad decision?"

Only 9 percent said no.

FasTracks' 0.4-percentage point increase in the metro sales tax passed in November 2004 by a 58 percent to 42 percent vote.

More people approve of the RTD program and the agency's handling of it even after a year filled with budget increases and a financing gap that RTD still isn't completely sure it has covered.

The poll is based on 771 interviews within the eight-county RTD region. The sample was balanced by each county for population, gender and party affiliation. It was done by the Kenney Group, which did polling in the FasTracks campaign, and reports a margin of error of 3.53 percent.

The poll was done Oct. 30 through Nov. 4.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 02:18 AM   #5
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The following are some photos taken in downtown Denver last summer:



















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Old December 5th, 2007, 02:48 AM   #6
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Cool shots, thanks!
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Old December 5th, 2007, 07:09 PM   #7
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Heck, with that kind of support, it might be worthwhile for Denver to see if it can get any heavy rail options, be it commuter rail to the Front Range as far north as Ft. Collins, or even a full subway system in the city. I'm sure there would be no problem getting federal funding, and it would be interesting to see what would happen.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 08:34 PM   #8
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Thought I should post this. This is the map of all the Fastracks projects that were approved in '04 (which I'm proud to say I voted for

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Old December 6th, 2007, 05:15 AM   #9
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Fast Tracks is a really ambitious plan, its great that it passed. When all of this is finished, Denver will have one of the larger rail systems in the United States, all of it built in the span of about 20 years or so.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 05:17 AM   #10
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Those are some fugly cars though.
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Old December 6th, 2007, 06:12 AM   #11
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Are those southern routes in the median of freeways?
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Old December 6th, 2007, 11:55 PM   #12
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the southern route runs along the west side of Interstate-25. A spur runs for several miles in the median of Interstate-225 (this route is being extended). Further additions to the system will run along surface streets in neighborhoods..and along freeways. An amazing amount of TOD is currently taking place throughout Denver.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 05:06 AM   #13
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When will the construction start/end?
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Old December 7th, 2007, 06:24 AM   #14
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I thought Denver's LRT didn't run with mixed traffic?
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Old December 7th, 2007, 06:49 PM   #15
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It does currently run with mixed traffic through downtown and the Curtis Park neighborhood. It will also run through mixed traffic in part of the west suburbs expansion.

The southwest and downtown lines have been up and running for several years. The southeast line was completed a year ago...the west line is being prepped for work to begin in '08. Subsequent lines are also being prepped, however startup will likely begin in '10 for the northern route..and other routes are to follow. I'm hearing 2016 as the completion date for the entire system.
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Old December 8th, 2007, 01:55 AM   #16
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I've read through the FasTracks website < http://www.rtd-denver.com/ > and the news reports to try to gain an understanding of what is being built. I have seen a December 2004 document that described the projects as follows:

- Central Corridor: 0.8-mile light rail extension from the northeastern end of the existing light rail system.

- East Corridor: 23.6-mile rail line connecting downtown to Denver International Airport. The preferred mode is commuter rail using Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs).

- Gold Line Corridor: 11.2-mile light rail line heading north then west from downtown.

- I-225 Corridor: 10.5-mile light rail line mostly in the median of I-225.

- North Corridor: 18-mile rail line due north from downtown. The preferred mode is commuter rail using Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs).

- Northwest Corridor: 38.1-mile rail line extending from Denver to Longmont via Boulder. The preferred mode is commuter rail using Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs).

- Southeast Corridor: 2.3-mile light rail extension to Lone Tree from the existing light rail terminus at Lincoln.

- Southwest Corridor: 2.5-mile light rail extension to Lucent Blvd. in Highlands Ranch from the existing light rail terminus at Mineral Avenue in Littleton.

- US-36 Corridor: 18-mile bus rapid transit corridor from downtown to Boulder.

- West Corridor: 12.1-mile light rail line from downtown to Auraria Campus.

The totals by mode are:
Light Rail: 39.4 miles
Commuter Rail: 79.7 miles
Bus Rapid Transit: 18 miles

More recent information that I have seen during the past year describes the projects as follows:

- Central Corridor: 0.8-mile light rail extension from the northeastern end of the existing light rail system.

- East Corridor: 23.6-mile rail line connecting downtown to Denver International Airport. The preferred mode is commuter rail using Electric Multiple Units (EMUs).

- Gold Line Corridor: 11.2-mile rail line heading north then west from downtown. The preferred mode is commuter rail using Electric Multiple Units (EMUs).

- I-225 Corridor: 10.5-mile light rail line mostly in the median of I-225.

- North Corridor: 18-mile rail line due north from downtown. The preferred mode is commuter rail using Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs).

- Northwest Corridor: 38.1-mile rail line extending from Denver to Longmont via Boulder. The preferred mode is commuter rail using Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs).

- Southeast Corridor: 2.3-mile light rail extension to Lone Tree from the existing light rail terminus at Lincoln.

- Southwest Corridor: 2.5-mile light rail extension to Lucent Blvd. in Highlands Ranch from the existing light rail terminus at Mineral Avenue in Littleton.

- US-36 Corridor: 18-mile bus rapid transit corridor from downtown to Boulder.

- West Corridor: 12.1-mile light rail line from downtown to Auraria Campus. A single-track configuration has been proposed to save costs.

The totals by mode are:
Light Rail: 28.2 miles (Total includes 12.1 miles single-track.)
Commuter Rail: 90.9 miles (Total includes 34.8 miles electrified.)
Bus Rapid Transit: 18 miles

The major change is the switch of the Gold Line from light rail to commuter rail and the use of EMUs instead of DMUs on some of the commuter rail lines.

The following is a link to a website describing the various projects:
http://www.rtd-fastracks.com/main_1

Last edited by greg_christine; December 8th, 2007 at 02:28 AM.
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Old December 8th, 2007, 03:41 AM   #17
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What is the timeline for these projects?
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Old December 8th, 2007, 04:23 PM   #18
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There is a timeline on the FasTracks website < http://www.rtd-fastracks.com/main_31 >:



A table below the timeline states the following completion dates:

2012
Union Station
West Corridor Light Rail

2014
US 36 Corridor Rail
East Corridor Rail
Central Corridor Light Rail Extension

2015
North Metro Corridor Rail
I-225 Corridor Rail
Gold Line Rail

2016
Southwest Corridor Light Rail Extension
US 36 Corridor Bus Rapid Transit
Southeast Corridor Light Rail Extension

Elsewhere on the website, it states that the first corridor to be completed will be the West Corridor light rail line in 2013, so the schedules may already have slipped a bit.
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Old December 8th, 2007, 09:16 PM   #19
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Looks like things are going great for Denver BUT that pic of the LRT entrance had stairs on it.
Please don't tell me that the trains aren't wheelchair accessible.
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Old December 8th, 2007, 11:34 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Looks like things are going great for Denver BUT that pic of the LRT entrance had stairs on it.
Please don't tell me that the trains aren't wheelchair accessible.
They have platforms that fold down over top of the stairs, and wheelchair bound passengers board from a taller platform.
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