A new RTD light-rail station is "convenient to nothing"

A new RTD light-rail station is "convenient to nothing"

RTD's new West Rail Line, which runs 12.1 miles from Union Station to Jefferson County's Taj Mahal government center, will open with much fanfare on Friday, April 26.

Along the stretch are eleven stations where commuters can hop on or hop off. From one of those stops, though, the one named Red Rocks College Station, there just won't be much to hop to. "The station is centrally located but convenient to nothing," says Craig Munsart, who has lived in a neighborhood just southwest of the new station for many years. "It's nice that the station is there, but it's almost like you can't get to it."

For starters, there is no parking at Red Rocks College Station (actually, only six of the eleven West Line stops have parking), which means riders will need to walk, ride their bike or have someone drop them off at the station before they can climb aboard the train. That concept, sometimes referred to as kiss-and-ride, exists at some other light-rail stations. But just figuring out where to stop long enough to drop someone off — forget puckering up for a goodbye smooch — may not be easy. You can't do it along the West Sixth Avenue service road, which is directly adjacent to the light-rail station; the Colorado Department of Transportation has made that very clear with its no parking, no stopping signs. Instead, commuters will need to go around the corner, onto Arbitus Drive, where there are two bus stops at which drivers are allowed to halt — briefly — to let someone off or pick them up.

There aren't any signs that tell people that they can stop there, but then again, there aren't any signs telling people they can't, says RTD spokeswoman Daria Serna. "We have designed the bus stops to be very long, large bus stops...and we have shared that with the community.... That isn't a busy bus stop anyway, right now. It only serves Route 17, so technically, people will be okay pulling over there and using that bus stop."

Just watch out for the buses while you're kissing.

The West Line, which has been in planning for many years, was never intended to have parking lots at each station, says Serna, who adds that the issues being raised now by neighbors are fairly common. "Whenever you open a rail line that has these types of stations, everyone is always concerned. It's not unique to this station," she explains.

Because of the lack of parking, neighbors like Munsart worry that commuters will turn the neighborhood streets closest to the station into a de facto park-and-ride, especially in the area of DeFrame Court, which is just two blocks from the light-rail platform. And although the stop is designed to serve Red Rocks Community College students and is named after their school, the students will have to walk about a half mile uphill from the station, along a meandering street, to get to the actual campus. The college mascot, a red fox named R2C2, will be at the station from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 26 as part of RTD's opening-day festivities; if he has a car, maybe he can give some of the students a lift up to the classrooms.

And finally, Munsart points out that there is no way for pedestrians to cross West Sixth Avenue to get to or from the station, effectively cutting off the entire area north of the highway, including the Colorado Mills shopping center, from access to light rail. (Remember when the southeast corridor didn't offer pedestrians anyway to get from the light-rail stop to Park Meadows? Do these light-rail planners never shop?)

"It's really nice to have it there, but it's not convenient to our neighborhood, it's not convenient to the college and it's not useful at all for people north of Sixth Avenue. So who's it for?" Munsart asks. "It's just a really isolated place they chose."

Ride on: Meanwhile, events will be going on at most of the other West Rail Line stations on that Saturday. The best party of the day will go down at the Perry Station, 1199 North Perry Street, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., featuring live music and access to a Justice League of Street Food shindig — chock-full of food trucks and beer — taking place at the former St. Anthony's campus stop at Perry Street. But there will also be live music and food from local venders at Union Station; an appearance by Miles, the Denver Broncos mascot, and the team's cheerleaders at the Decatur/Federal Station; a 40 West Arts District street fair at the Lamar Station in Lakewood; and a petting zoo, live music, local food and other activities at the end of line at the Jefferson County Government Center/Golden Station.

 
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11 comments
warezcoxtrong
warezcoxtrong

The W rail takes you straight to Jefferson County JAIL.  Evacuation assembly area signs posted all over the place, and nowhere to go within a reasonable walking distance other than the jail/courthouse and the human services building, BOTH government facilities.  It's Hitler's concentration camp train idea reborn.

Ric Gonzalez
Ric Gonzalez

That shits fucken loud!! I live 50 ft away from the tracks. I HATE it

Adam Menor
Adam Menor

The rrcc stop should have never been. Think how many more would have been served with a stop at Colorado mills. The mall, the dealerships, nrel, all the offices, and the applewood/wheat ridge area. Poor planning very poor .

Courtney Donaldson
Courtney Donaldson

UM, of the thousands of students who attend RRCC (myself included) this article is a bunch of BS!!! Walking from the stop won't kill the residents, it may actually help improve their crappy attitude!!!

Nick Stevens
Nick Stevens

Bulllshit article, it is an easy walk to RRCC. You interviewed one neighbor, but no one from RR?

Che Harness
Che Harness

Did they ever put a sidewalk in around that road?

Dan Smith
Dan Smith

Follow the money,who profited from putting it here

Lisa Michelle Kautz
Lisa Michelle Kautz

The walk from the lightrail station to rrcc isnt far at all. It'll promote people to walk more, which is what they need.

IZen
IZen

Red Rocks students don't need a car ride up the hill.  They should be able to take their pass or ticket and transfer to the 17 bus for the ride up the hill if they time it right and don't want to walk the 1/2 mile.  

Granted the current service frequency is every half hour so, if you time it wrong, walking might be more appealing than waiting. The RTD site doesn't include times for the new stop yet but service should begin when the west line opens.

tgriffith1
tgriffith1

The W Line is pretty irrelevant when you are traveling West of Union Station... There isn't a high enough population Density to justify much use... For now.
1) BRIDGE: There was originally a bridge planned for the neighborhood North of the Red Rocks College station to go over 6th Ave.  It would have cost a lot and the light rail people (on a bus tour I took) said that the neighborhood didn't want the extra pedestrian and/or vehicle traffic.
2) RED ROCKS doesn't participate in the College Pass, and feels that most of its students won't be interested in travel by light rail. (And they're right.)  So all but paying lip service for this station currently does not make sense from a financial standpoint.
3) TIMING: Trains arrive every 15 minutes instead of every 7.5 minutes at the Taj Mahol and RRCS. 
4) TRACKS: There is only one train track instead of two which makes having trains any more often impossible without a switching station, large expansion, or another solution.
5) PARKING: I wouldn't worry about park and ride parking issues at RRCS.  Union Station has plenty, is easier to get in to and out of, and is in the same fare zone as RRCS. 
6) GARRISON: About the only Kiss & Ride Station on the W Line that might have problems with street parking in neighborhoodsand a large up-tic in traffic is the Garrison Street Station.  

UPCOMING GARRISION PROBLEMS
-CHEAP: Garrison is the first in the "Local" zone- a $61 Savings for a monthly passholder.  This might increase traffic on Garrison significantly.
-FEW LIGHTS: There are fewer traffic lights between 6th Ave and the Garrison Station when compared to Wadsworth (which is in the local zone).
-PARKING: There are commercial parking lots (Safeway, a bank, & an office building) a block and a half North of the station that you can turn around in after you drop someone off and wait at before picking them up.
-PLANNERS: Lakewood City Planners feel that traffic won't increase much on Garrison, and they are adopting a wait-n-see attitude.  
-TRAFFIC PROBLEMS: It is likely that the traffic back-up on the 6th Ave exit ramp will drive traffic South in order to go North on Garrison after a quick U-Turn without a traffic light upgrade.
-TRAFFIC CIRCLES: Ease of access to the Garrison Station will probably only be improved by two roundabouts.  That would be one North of the 6th/Garrison Exit and one South... Like the ones in Vail, but smaller & tighter.  One to three traffic circles might be appropriate north of the 6th/Garrison Exit to help keep vehicle speeds down and possibly provide a safe way to make a U-Turn after dropping off riders.
-NO SOLUTION IN SIGHT: The earliest any solutions will be implemented will probably be when the 6th Ave overpass is rebuilt- but the time of that rebuild might be years away even though the bridge is pretty rusted and worn out.  Considering Lakewood's historical limp approach to pushing for traffic solutions (like the interchange at 6th and I-25 that negatively impacts Lakewood residents but doesn't get a simple widening solution because Lakewood Officials don't want to deal with the hassle of pushing CDOT and Denver) there won't be a well designed fix for a long time.

IZen
IZen

@tgriffith1 The West line is only relevant if you are traveling west OF Union Station.  Maybe you meant west FROM Union Station?

 
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