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Old July 24th, 2011, 08:41 PM   #61
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Quote:
Light Rail Closures

Posted by Ryan Mulligan on July 19, 2011

Major news concerning those who ride light rail regularly downtown (especially those heading to Rockies games!).

RTD will be temporarily closing C & E line light rail service for the next month between the 10/Osage Station and Denver Union Station starting THIS SATURDAY, July 23. These closures will be in place until Sunday, August 14. There will be some major changes once rail operations return to normal in mid-August.

First, a new Auraria West station will open on the west side of 5th Street replacing the station on the east side that opened originally with the Central Platte Valley (CPV) Spur in 2002. This relocation was necessary to allow West Corridor trains to access Denver Union Station. It’s a move of only a few hundred feet and 5th Street is a quiet street, so it shouldn’t be a big deal to those using the station to access the Auraria Campus.

Secondly, the new light rail and mall shuttle stations at Denver Union Station will open in mid-August, serving as the first major components of the $500 million project to be open to the public. The new station is located just north and east of the Millennium Bridge along the Consolidated Mainline (CML) tracks on the 17th Street alignment. The mall shuttle turn around will be located at the southwestern end of the new light rail platform. Both of these stations will open on August 14. Below are some pictures I snagged a few weeks back on a construction tour. More info on all of the construction at Denver Union Station can be found in Rick’s posts at the DenverInfill Blog – he’s done a great job keeping us all up to date on what’s been going on down there.

Obviously, this acts as a major pain for those trying to access LODO, Coors Field, and the Auraria Campus. Riders have a few options to access those areas. For those electing to take a train, take D, F, or H line light rail to 16th/California and grab a mall shuttle to get around downtown. For those heading to the Auraria Campus, jump off at the Colfax at Auraria Station and backtrack across campus. For those who want to ride the bus, RTD will be operating bus service to all closed stations in both directions from 10/Osage and Denver Union Station. The stations will be closed, but you can still access those areas. The map below shows RTD’s plan for the bus bridge between these two stations. More information about the closure and bus bridge operations can be found on RTD’s website.









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Old July 27th, 2011, 08:16 AM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LtBk View Post
Could it be the FRA regulations that prohibit RTD from buying seeker looking trains like those in Europe and East Asia?
Maybe no one is currently making a model that would meet some FRA bs regulation, but on a large order for new vehicles doing a sleeker nose would not have made much difference in price, but would have made all the difference in the world in terms of appearance. At least they look a little better than the new EMUs in Philly, even if its still worlds behind Europe, Asia and most of the LRVs in this country.
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Old August 9th, 2011, 04:40 AM   #63
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Some progress on the West Line:



















Photos courtesy of RTD.
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Old August 9th, 2011, 04:42 AM   #64
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Old August 11th, 2011, 03:50 AM   #65
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Old August 11th, 2011, 03:56 AM   #66
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Union Station progress







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Old August 11th, 2011, 06:11 PM   #67
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I was so excited to read about the FasTracks development before, and it seems like it's progressing well. I never really think of Denver as being a very dense and urbanized city, and I know that they have issues with slow development of the downtown core, but it's encouraging to see that they're trying to make the metro area a little less car-dependant. The line connecting Union Station with the airport seems like a particularly smart move.
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Old August 11th, 2011, 11:37 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by aquaticko View Post
I was so excited to read about the FasTracks development before, and it seems like it's progressing well. I never really think of Denver as being a very dense and urbanized city, and I know that they have issues with slow development of the downtown core, but it's encouraging to see that they're trying to make the metro area a little less car-dependant. The line connecting Union Station with the airport seems like a particularly smart move.
Actually Denver's downtown is pretty thriving with the LoDo district being a popular nightlife spot, in addition to new residential lofts/condos being built.
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Old August 12th, 2011, 12:17 AM   #69
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Is there a light rail option to Avalanche game or Rockies game? From Denver airport?
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Old August 12th, 2011, 02:12 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by diablo234 View Post
Actually Denver's downtown is pretty thriving with the LoDo district being a popular nightlife spot, in addition to new residential lofts/condos being built.
I meant more the fact that there are numerous lots that are used for parking because the owners of them keep looking for a big project to invest in them instead of taking a more realistic approach so that there doesn't end up being a sort of checkerboard of skyscrapers and parking lots. I am aware that they've had a couple of new buildings go up the past decade or so, and that a few more are on the drawing board, and that's great.
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Old August 12th, 2011, 07:39 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by krnboy1009 View Post
Is there a light rail option to Avalanche game or Rockies game? From Denver airport?
The C and E Lines serves both the Pepsi Center (where the Denver Nuggets and the Avalanche play) from Pepsi Center/Elitch Gardens and Coors Field from Union Station.

Now regarding service to the airport currently they are building a commuter line from the airport to Union Station as part of Fastracks which is scheduled to open in 2016. For now there is a dedicated bus service known as SkyRide which connects the airport with Downtown, Boulder, and a few other places.

Sky Ride

Last edited by diablo234; August 12th, 2011 at 09:36 PM.
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Old August 13th, 2011, 10:23 AM   #72
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Good updates
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Old August 13th, 2011, 07:03 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaticko View Post
a couple of new buildings go up the past decade or so
which Denver are you talking about?
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Old August 13th, 2011, 09:12 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by Woonsocket54 View Post
which Denver are you talking about?
Which Denver are you talking about?

Even with the recession there are still construction projects being built in downtown including Two Tabor Center and 1501 Tremont Place. This does not even include the Four Seasons hotel which was just recently completed last year.
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Old August 14th, 2011, 03:42 AM   #75
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I was under the assumption that the poster was downplaying the amount of development in downtown Denver over recent years. I guess the meaning of my comment was lost or ambiguous. Denver downtown has way more going on than other cities in the Rockies, such as Phoenix or Albuquerque.
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Old August 14th, 2011, 03:45 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by Woonsocket54 View Post
I was under the assumption that the poster was downplaying the amount of development in downtown Denver over recent years. I guess the meaning of my comment was lost or ambiguous. Denver downtown has way more going on than other cities in the Rockies, such as Phoenix or Albuquerque.
Disregard my previous comment then.
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Old August 14th, 2011, 07:14 PM   #77
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In answer to some questions, the train to the airport will be a Hyundai-Rotem EMU, a new design just going into service now in Philadelphia (Silverliner V). The reason it looks like a dog is because Federal regulations from the 1940s stipulate that US railcars must be built like tanks. RTD chose this model over a competing proposal from Siemens in part because the Siemens train had not yet been designed and Denver did not want the design risk. Its more complicated than that but that was part of it.

The airport line will have 15 minute headways from 04:00 to 00:00 and then 30 minute headways from 0001-0200. It will take 30 minutes from the terminal to Denver Union Station. The Airport station is being designed by Santiago Calatrava and a new airport hotel is also part of that project (scheduled for completion by 2014).

Denver Union Station is about 45% complete, the new Light Rail station opens tomorrow, 8/15/11.
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Old September 19th, 2011, 10:41 AM   #78
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Some construction photos of the west line.





















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Old September 19th, 2011, 11:33 PM   #79
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Quote:
Glitches put RTD "smart" farecard system nine months off schedule
By Jeffrey Leib
The Denver Post
http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_18920523
Posted: 09/18/2011 12:46:44 AM MDT
Updated: 09/18/2011 12:27:12 PM MDT

Technical glitches have put RTD's $15.3 million plan to move to a "smart" farecard system at least nine months behind schedule, prompting agency directors to demand a review of what went wrong with the program.

"We have experienced some technical challenges," Regional Transportation District bus operations chief Bruce Abel told the board of directors last week as he detailed how a smartcard pilot program that was to begin in May is now scheduled to start in February.

"This is a highly dissatisfying result; it cries out for (a) lessons learned (review)," said director John Tayer at the board meeting.

The failure to date of the ballyhooed smartcard system comes at a bad time for RTD. The agency is preparing a massive January reduction in transit service aimed at saving $12 million a year, and planning to promote a ballot measure for November 2012 that will ask voters to double the current 0.4 percent FasTracks sales tax so the transit expansion program can be completed.

For a number of years, RTD officials have been touting the move to smartcards as a way to get accurate ridership information and assist the agency in pricing its transit services properly.

In early 2010, RTD selected ACS Transport Solutions to install smartcard readers on the transit agency's 1,100 buses and light-rail platforms, as well as provide the communications devices needed to link buses and platforms with bus garages and central processing centers.

The contract called for a smartcard pilot program to be well underway during the second half of this year, with installation of smartcard readers initially on about 50 buses in the Boulder area in May, then on about 350 buses in June and July, and finally for readers and related equipment to be on RTD's entire fleet of 1,100 buses by the end of this year.

On Friday, Abel said RTD now is in the process of installing the smartcard hardware on nine buses initially — one from each of its fleet types — and agency officials will work with ACS to see if the new equipment on these test vehicles communicates properly.

In May, RTD determined that the smartcard equipment failed to communicate as designed during "factory acceptance" testing at ACS.

RTD planned to initially test the smartcards with users of its Eco Pass program, but documents presented to the board last week said "tests performed in August failed and ACS is addressing the issue."

Abel said RTD so far has paid ACS $2 million of the total $15.3 million contract price for the smartcard system.

"My expectation is that ACS will resolve these issues and see this through to a successful launch of a product that we're proud to offer our customers," he said.

In a statement issued Friday, ACS said, "We have identified the issues that caused the delays and outlined a solution to bring this complex project to a successful completion at no additional cost to RTD or its riders."

A new tentative schedule for the introduction of smartcards calls for RTD and ACS to test them on about 45 buses and two rail platforms in February, with an expansion to 350 buses and all platforms in April.

When RTD directors were briefed last week on the smartcard program delay, some were not mollified by assurances that all would be rectified.

"Mr. Washington, this is a black eye, a direct reflection on you and the performance you demand from your contractors," board chairman Lee Kemp told RTD general manager Phil Washington.

In an interview on Friday, Washington acknowledged, "I do pride myself in being on schedule" with RTD projects. But he noted that a smartcard program, once in place fully, will touch nearly every transit rider on every boarding, so it is important to make sure the technology works before it is introduced.

"If being concerned about how this project impacts the public and our drivers is a bad spot on my record, I can accept that as long as we are not negatively impacting our passengers," Washington said.

Jeffrey Leib: 303-954-1645 or [email protected]
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Old October 1st, 2011, 12:00 AM   #80
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Quote:
Feds announce funding for Denver rail lines
By CATHERINE TSAI Associated Press
Posted: 08/31/2011 06:46:20 AM MDT
Updated: 08/31/2011 09:57:19 PM MDT
http://www.denverpost.com/ci_18794967

ARVADA, Colo.—U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood signed an agreement Wednesday committing $1.03 billion in federal funds for two planned light rail lines in Denver.
One line will link downtown to Denver International Airport. The other will link downtown to the northwest suburbs of Arvada and Wheat Ridge. Both lines are scheduled to be ready for service in 2016.

The signing came the same day President Barack Obama made a push for spending on transportation projects as a way to keep construction employees at work. A jobs plan that he hopes to reveal to Congress next week is expected to include proposals for infrastructure spending.

The $1.03 billion award is the last piece of funding needed for the $2.1 billion Eagle P3 project, which includes both light rail lines and is one piece of the Regional Transportation District's multibillion-dollar FasTracks program to expand transit in the Denver area.

Local sales tax revenues and private-sector funding are paying for the rest of Eagle P3. LaHood said the regional collaboration and mix of local, federal and private support for the project were to be celebrated.

"The project we are funding will be a model for the country and maybe for the world," LaHood said.

RTD has estimated Eagle P3 will create about 4,700 construction-related jobs. LaHood said small businesses also will pop up along the rail routes and keep train operators and maintenance workers employed.

The line to Denver's airport could reduce travel times there by half, or around 35 to 45 minutes, Federal Transit Administration Administrator Peter Rogoff said. "That's the difference between having dinner with your family or not," he said. It also will keep more of people's paychecks in their pockets instead of at gas pumps, he said.

The contractor Denver Transit Partners is financing and building the two lines, which RTD will own. RTD will pay the contractor to operate and maintain the lines over 29 years.

Overall costs for FasTracks are estimated at about $6.8 billion, or about $2 billion more than what was presented to voters in 2004. RTD officials have blamed the increase in part on rising costs for material, labor and rights of way, and some changes in project plans. Meanwhile, sales tax revenues to support FasTracks have been lower than expected.

The district's board has decided to wait until at least 2012 to ask voters in the eight-county district to approve a sales tax increase to help fund FasTracks. However, district officials have said a tax increase will be needed soon if FasTracks is to be completed by 2020. Otherwise, the district has said, it won't be fully completed until 2042.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said he would be among those asking taxpayers to step up sooner rather than later because of FasTracks' potential to improve regional transportation and spur economic development along train routes for decades to come.

"We are touching generations we will never meet," he said.
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