RTD: Building Gold Line station on Federal's east side right decision, says Kim Gillan

Update: Yesterday, we filled you in about RTD's decision to build a Gold Line station in Adams County on the originally approved east-side-of-Federal location rather than a west side plot favored by a Louisiana developer. After the publication of that item, we heard from Concerned Citizens for Compatible Development's Kim Gillan, the public face of the pro-east forces. Look below to read her statement about this back-to-the-future move.

Concerned Citizens for Compatible Development statement:

"The Concerned Citizens for Compatible Development applaud RTD for making the right decision. We are elated with the outcome of the Gold Line Federal station. This is about more than just a station stop or saving wetlands; it's about the ability of ordinary people to make their voices heard.

We would like to publicly thank Adams County Commissioners Skip Fischer, Alice Nichol, and Larry Pace for acting on behalf of their constituents by withdrawing their support for the proposed Federal West station as was requested at the Board of County Commissioners hearing on Monday December 13th.

We look forward to working with Adams County officials in the future to insure compatible, sustainable development that will benefit the broader community; preserving the unique characteristics, as well as protecting the interests of, the surrounding neighborhoods."

Update, 7:36 a.m. Decmeber 16: In Tuesday's update about the debate over which side of Federal Boulevard to locate a Gold Line RTD station in Adams County, RTD spokesman Kevin Flynn stressed that his organization had been following the county's lead. Now, with commissioners backing away from support of a move to Federal's west side, where developer The TOD Group stood to profit from the switch, RTD has announced it will build on the original east-side site.

That's good news for Kim Gillan, whose Concerned Citizens for Compatible Development group advocated construction on the east as a way of revitalizing a blighted area. In contrast, the west-side site was near a wetland area, not to mention property purchased by The TOD Group, based in Louisiana.

Look below to see the RTD release announcing the latest developments:

RTD no longer considering Gold Line Federal Station relocation


Denver, December 15, 2010 -- The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is no longer considering a proposed relocation of the FasTracks Gold Line rail station on Federal Boulevard after the Adams County Commissioners withdrew their support Wednesday for the new location.

RTD received approval in June from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to relocate the station from a site on the east side of Federal Boulevard to one on the west, triggered by Adams County's decision last year to incorporate into its comprehensive land-use plan a transit-oriented development on the west side of Federal Boulevard that incorporated a new location for the Gold Line station. The county and the developer both held a number of public meetings on the proposal.

"As always, we will support our stakeholders along all of our FasTracks corridors in their efforts to bring transit-oriented development that will revitalize their communities and improve quality of life," said Phil Washington, RTD General Manager. "This effort was part of that pledge. In this case, our local partner feels that it can no longer support the new location without further study. But the Gold Line is an approved project and is already under contract, so with Adams County no longer explicitly supporting the change, we can no longer continue with it."

The decision means the Gold Line Federal Station will remain on the east side of the street.

RTD had been negotiating with the Union Pacific Railroad and The TOD Group, owner of a 21-acre parcel on the west side of Federal Boulevard around 60th Avenue, to move the station from a parcel on the east side selected in the Environmental Impact Statement. The Commissioners in June sent a letter supporting the relocation.

But conflict among neighborhoods that supported and opposed the move prompted the commissioners this week to withdraw their support, and without that, RTD has no basis to proceed with the change. In a letter Wednesday to the FTA, the Commissioners said their initial letter of support for the move in June was "premature" and that they wanted RTD and FTA to make the decision on station site. FTA said the decision was up to RTD and the county, and with the county withdrawing its previous support for the change, it leaves RTD with no reason to make a change.

The Gold Line, an electrified commuter rail line that will be built from downtown Denver to Arvada and Wheat Ridge, is part of RTD's FasTracks transit expansion program. FasTracks will build 122 miles of commuter rail and light rail, 18 miles of bus rapid transit service, add 21,000 new parking spaces, redevelop Denver Union Station and redirect bus service to better connect the eight-county District. The FasTracks investment initiative is projected to create more than 10,000 construction-related jobs during the height of construction, and will pump billions of dollars into the regional economy.

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