tod news

Re-capping RTD FasTracks developments
Staff | North Denver News


(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Bicyclists make their way through Salt Lake City traffic. Officials are pushing to promote more walking and biking as the Wasatch Front population is predicted to double in coming decades.

RTD’s FasTracks program continues to make progress across the metro area. We celebrated many milestones in 2014 including the opening of the Union Station Transit Center and the debut of the Free MetroRide, and we’re moving forward with a very productive year in 2015. The East Rail Line to DIA will begin testing trains in the spring; the Gold and Northwest lines connecting Arvada and Westminster to Union Station are in the final stages of construction and the alignment is ready for track installation; the I-225 Rail Line will continue construction; and the US 36 express lanes will open to RTD buses and shortly after, the Bus Rapid Transit vehicles will arrive. And there’s a lot more to come when all these projects open in 2016. Headlined by the opening of the Union Station Transit Center the top 10 RTD accomplishments in 2014 are:


RTD Transforms Downtown Commuter Travel – RTD opened the 22-bay bus concourse at Denver’s Union Station and transitioned bus service from the Market Street Station; launched the Free MetroRide along 18th and 19th streets; and completed downtown light rail ramp replacements.


Ground Broken on North Metro Rail Line – Using innovative financing through Certificates of Participation to finance the construction of the North Metro Rail Line, RTD broke ground on the North Metro Line in March. Once completed, the line will run from Union Station to 124th through north Denver, Commerce City, Thornton, Northglenn and northern Adams County.


Commuter Rail Rolls in to Denver – A brand new type of train service is coming to Denver in 2016 called commuter rail. This year, RTD completed the commuter rail maintenance facility and received delivery of the first commuter rail vehicles from Philadelphia. Commuter rail cars will be used on the East, Gold, Northwest and North Metro Rail lines. The cars are bigger and faster than light rail vehicles and have level boarding and storage space for luggage and bikes.


Mobility Studies Determine Best Alternatives – This year, RTD conducted two mobility studies to look at alternative approaches to transportation and achieve regional consensus on the best ways to move forward. The Northwest Area Mobility Study was a collaborative effort with northwest area governments and transportation partners to look at near-term mobility improvements to the northwest area. The Central Rail Extension Mobility Study identified the most feasible transit route and operating plan to provide a direct connection between downtown Denver and the 38th*Blake Station on the East Rail Line.


Southeast Light Rail Line Extension Approved – The RTD Board authorized a $207 million extension of the existing Southeast Light Rail Line farther south into Lone Tree. Stakeholders have committed to contributing $35 million to $40 million in cash, right-of-way and other items to get the light rail extension completed. A Request for Qualifications was released and qualified design-build contractors will be shortlisted for the project.


RTD Completes Art Installations on W Line – As a part of RTD’s Art-n-Transit program, art installations on the W Line were completed for eight separate commissions as well as 34 relay houses wrapped with artist designs. The Art-n-Transit program is based on RTD’s belief that public art helps provide a stronger connection between neighborhoods and transit. Installing artwork at transit facilities creates a sense of community and provides opportunities to celebrate the diverse cultural, ethnic and historical richness of the many communities RTD serves.


Transit-Oriented Communities Pilot Projects Move Forward – RTD is a partner in the development of several transit-oriented communities (TOC) around our transit stations. In 2014, the Olde Town Arvada Transit Hub and the final stage of the Alameda Station project celebrated groundbreakings. These TOCs will help create a pedestrian-oriented environment that allows people to live, work, shop and play in places accessible by transit.


Safety and Efficiency Improvements Made to Existing and Future Rail Service – RTD successfully implemented the new Automatic Train Stop (ATS) system that will stop a train in the event of a major incident on the tracks or if a red signal is bypassed. RTD also completed the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) fiber optic system to assure on-time connection with the expansion of new light rail service.


Workforce Initiative Now Program Recognized Nationally – In 2014, the Workforce Initiative Now (WIN) program was recognized nationally and used as a model for other transit agencies. Currently, WIN serves 450 participants. The WIN program is a collaborative partnership between RTD, Community College of Denver, Denver Transit Partners and the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver and helps create career opportunities in the transportation and construction industries.


RTD Continues to Support Small Business – RTD’s Small Business Office achieved zero Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) findings during the Federal Transit Administration triennial review and met or exceeded all Small Business Enterprise (SBE) and DBE goals on RTD contracts.


During 2015 RTD plans to:

- Continue to make safety a top priority for passengers and employees in RTD’s current operations, and educate the public about safety around construction projects and future rail lines.

- Complete the Fare Study and prepare for implementation of a new fare structure and smart cardfare payment program in 2016.

- Keep FasTracks projects on time and on budget as we prepare for the opening of five new projects in 2016.

- Begin testing commuter rail trains on the lines opening in 2016.

- Continue to seek out creative financing approaches to further the remaining FasTracks projects.