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Transportation

Transportation
RTD’s commuter rail maintenance facility
July 29, 2015 at 12:05 am 0
The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is currently testing trains on the East Line, a commuter rail line that will connect Denver's Union Station with Denver International Airport. The East Line will begin service in 2016. The trains that will run on this line will require a site where the trains can be cleaned, maintained and stored. To that end, a commuter rail maintenance facility has been constructed at 5151 Fox Street in north Denver near the I-25 and I-70 interchange.
Commuter rail maintenance facility. Image courtesy RTD.

Commuter rail maintenance facility. Image courtesy RTD.

In addition to the East Line, the following yet to open rail lines will utilize the facility:
  • The Gold Line will operate from Union Station to Arvada
  • The Northwest Rail Line will operate from Union Station to downtown Longmont
  • The North Metro Rail Line will run from Union Station and will eventually extend to northern Adams County
This week it was announced that the commuter rail maintenance facility was awarded LEED Gold certification for energy efficient design. The 230,000 square foot facility is part of the Eagle P3 project and was constructed by Fluor Corporation.
Commuter rail maintenance facility. Image courtesy RTD.

Commuter rail maintenance facility. Image courtesy RTD.

“This facility will benefit the community for years to come,” said Terry Towle Fluor’s Infrastructure president. “Fluor's collaborative approach to project development, execution and delivery enhanced the sustainable features of this facility, which is recognized by the achievement of LEED Gold certification.” Once all the rail lines open, the facility is expected to employ approximately 220 employees that consist of operators, mechanics and support staff. Also housed at this property is the Operations Control Center that will serve as the nerve center for rail traffic, security and communication. For more information on RTD's rail system take a look at their website.
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Project Announcements, Transportation
New East Line station with transit oriented development
July 22, 2015 at 1:09 am 2
Rendering of planned Peña Station courtesy DIA.

Rendering of Peña Station courtesy DIA.

Denver International Airport (DIA) and the Regional Transportation District (RTD) have announced that a sixth station will be added to RTD's East Line adjacent to a planned 400-acre transit oriented development. RTD's East Line is a 22.8 mile commuter rail line that is slated to open in 2016. This line will connect Denver's Union Station with DIA. The original plans for the East Line did not include this sixth station that will be located at 61st and Peña Boulevard. Travel time from Union Station to DIA was originally slated to be 35 minutes. With this station at 61st, the estimated travel time is now 37 minutes. The commuter trains will travel at a top speed of 79 mph. “This new station provides a convenient access point into RTD’s regional rail system for commuters and other riders from the growing northeast metro area,” said David Genova, RTD’s interim general manager and CEO. “This improvement would not have been possible without our long-term partnership with Denver, its airport team and the landowners, who worked together to create an asset that will significantly benefit the region.”
Exterior view of the RTD Commuter Rail Car at Denver's Union Station.

Exterior view of the RTD Commuter Rail Car at Denver's Union Station.

The transit oriented development that is planned to be developed adjacent to this new East Line station has been named "Peña Station." This master planned mixed-use development is slated to include commercial, multi-family residential, hotel, healthcare and retail components. The first ground-up construction at Peña Station will be the 112,000 square-foot headquarters facility for Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company. “This rail stop, anchored by the Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company headquarters facility, will create a unique smart sustainable transit-oriented development which will set the stage for the next generation of transit-oriented developments in North America,” said Cal Fulenwider, President of L.C. Fulenwider Inc.
Rendering of Peña Station courtesy RTD.

Rendering of Peña Station courtesy RTD.

The planning of new East Line station and Peña Station has been a joint venture between four property owners, including DIA and L.C. Fulenwider, Inc. They also agreed to an overall finance plan to fund all of the initial infrastructure. Fulenwider will serve as lead developer for Peña Station. “The transit oriented development at Peña Boulevard Station validates the Mayor’s vision of an Aerotropolis: the airport serving as a catalyst for regional economic development around its perimeter,” said airport CEO Kim Day. “Airports around the world are increasingly using development opportunities to enhance the economic benefits to their airports and their communities and while many are ahead of us, we are now well on our way.” Construction of the Panasonic facility is expected to begin this October and the East Line is slated to begin service in the spring of 2016 with the Peña Boulevard station being operational at that time.  
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Transportation
DIA sets record for busiest April
June 15, 2015 at 1:07 am 0
Denver International Airport

Airplane takes off at DIA. Image courtesy DIA.

Denver International Airport (DIA) has announced that April set a record for passenger traffic as the busiest April in the airport's history. More than 4.22 million passengers passed through DIA this April up 1.5 percent from April of 2014. “As we enter the busy summer travel season, we are seeing strong increases in capacity by many of our airline partners,” said airport CEO Kim Day. “United, Southwest, American, Delta and Spirit all had increases in passengers in April, and we continue to see strong gains in international passenger traffic among United, Lufthansa, British Airways and Volaris as, increasingly, travelers are using Denver to connect with the world.”  

DIA begins resurfacing of runways

Work to resurface runways at DIA began this month with an estimated cost of $46.5 million. Runway 17L-35R will be closed until September 15th. The runway is 12,000 feet long and 150 feet wide and contains over 2,000 concrete slabs that are being removed and replaced. “DIA is now 20 years old, and there is an increased requirement for maintenance of the facility,” said Ken Greene, DIA’s chief operating officer. “Our robust pavement management program allows us to efficiently track the age and condition of more than 150,000 individual concrete panels on the airfield, and to make proactive maintenance decisions that will help to ensure the safe operation of more than a half-million flights a year."  

Opening date for DIA Westin announced

DIA also recently announced the DIA Westin will open to guests at 3 p.m. on November 19th, 2015. The Westin DIA will house 519 rooms in the 433,000 square foot, 14-story hotel.
Rendering of Westin Hotel and public plaza. Image courtesy DIA.

Rendering of Westin Hotel and public plaza. Image courtesy DIA.

The Westin DIA has been constructed in concert with the airport's new transit center. In 2016 the East Line, a commuter rail line will open and provide a connection to downtown Denver on trains that will reach a top speed of 79mph. Trains will run every 15 minuets during peak hours along the 22.8 mile line and will deliver passengers from DIA to Denver's historic Union Station in 35 minutes. The hotel was designed by international design firm Gensler, which also designed the recently completed 16M mixed-use development in downtown Denver.
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Transportation
RTD seeks public input in search of new GM
June 10, 2015 at 3:04 pm 0
RTD shuttle bus on Denver's 16th Street mall. DUR spring 2015.

RTD shuttle bus on Denver's 16th Street Mall. DUR spring 2015.

Today the Regional Transportation District (RTD) has announced that it will be seeking public input in its search of a new General Manager. RTD has formed the General Manager Executive Search Committee and is asking the public what they would like to see in the next General Manager. RTD serves the public transportation needs of the 8-county Denver metro area.

RTD has created a survey for the public that is available at: RTD General Manager survey.

The survey questions will not only capture information about the characteristics and professional skills desired in the next General Manager, but will also capture information on the operation of RTD as a whole.

“It’s important to the Board of Directors that we offer our community and RTD riders the opportunity to be involved in the General Manager search process,” said Chuck Sisk, RTD Board Chair. “This public input is one element we will consider as we choose the next leader of RTD.”

Phil Washington served as RTD's General Manager for 6 years. It was announced in March that he had accepted a position with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority – also known as LA Metro.

The Search Committee includes members of the RTD Board of Directors. This group is including input from political leaders, employees, stakeholders as well as the community to guide their decision in hiring the next General Manager.

The announcement of this community survey comes after the controversial May 26th RTD Board vote that approved a new fare structure which will include an increase in transit fares. According to RTD, this is the first fare hike in five years.

RTD has received criticism for the fare increase. In advance of the vote, citizens have organized public rallies. A concern voiced by residents is the fare hike will potentially put public transit out of reach of low-income people.

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Transportation
RTD Board approves new fare structure
May 26, 2015 at 10:12 pm 1

Tonight the governing board of the Regional Transportation District (RTD) approved a new fare structure which will include an increase in transit fares. According to RTD, this is the first fare hike in five years.

RTD light rail vehicles at Union Station spring 2015.

RTD light rail vehicles at Union Station, DUR spring 2015.

"For the past year and a half, RTD has been conducting a fare study with the intent of simplifying the fare structure and making it more equitable across the district. Extensive public input helped shape the fare structure.  Throughout the process, RTD solicited public input and hosted over a dozen public meetings as well as 16 formal public hearings this spring to give the public numerous opportunities to provide feedback on proposed fare structure changes. Through these meetings and hearings, plus online comments, voice mails, emails and comment cards, RTD received over 1,000 comments regarding the proposed fare structure," states RTD.

The new fare structure will take effect beginning New Year's Day 2016. RTD includes eight Denver metro area counties, which now totals 2.8 million people.

The new fare structure includes an increase in the price of a single-boarding fare for bus and rail by 15 percent from $2.25 to $2.60 for local trips. Monthly passes will increase from $79 to $99 for local fares.

Next year RTD plans to unveil a smart card system that can be used to store money towards transit fares. A similar technology is already in use in other cities such as Seattle. Passengers wave or tap their card on an electronic kiosk and the appropriate fare is automatically subtracted from the money that is stored on the card.

RTD has received criticism for the fare increase. In advance of the approval, citizens have organized public rallies. A concern voiced by residents is that the fare hike will potentially put public transit out of reach of low-income people.

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