Getting to DIA gets easier

By April 19, 2016Uncategorized

See Denver Business Journal article below.

 

RTD’s new train service to Denver International Airport launches Friday, and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock predicts it will raise the city’s competitive edge around the world.

“It’s our global connector, moving people from our downtown to the global marketplace via DIA,” Hancock said in an interview. “That’s huge for us and I think we need to leverage it to be competitive in the global marketplace.

“From downtown to DIA, you can come and transact your business in our central neighborhood, and we can get you to the airport where you can go all over the world,” he said.

The Regional Transportation District’s commuter-rail service to DIA is formally called the University of Colorado A Line through a $5 million, five-year sponsorship deal with CU. It runs 22.8 miles between Denver Union Station and DIA.

It features bigger, faster cars than those that run compared to RTD’s existing light rail lines.

The A Line has seven stations and will open with 4,329 parking spots along its route. The airport line also will connect at its Peoria Station stop in north Aurora to the soon-to-open R Line, a light-rail route running along Interstate 225 through Aurora.

RTD expects an average of 24,000 people will use the A Line train on weekdays in 2016. About two-thirds of the riders, initially, are expected to be people who work at DIA.

The top speed of the commuter lines will be 79 mph, up from 55 miles per hour on RTD’s light rail lines.

Riding the line its entire length from Union Station to DIA would take 37 minutes and cost $9. That’s the same cost as RTD’s day pass.

The A Line is part of RTD’s $2.2 billion “Eagle P3” construction project, which also includes the B Line to Westminster, expected to open in July; the Gold line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge, expected to open in October; and a commuter railcar maintenance facility.

For years, regional planners have predicted that all the new rail lines radiating out from downtown Denver will give rise to new “transit -oriented development” — housing and retail hubs at rail stations.

Hancock pointed to Union Station and the construction boom that took place around it when it was redeveloped as a transit hub as evidence of what the FasTracks project has already done for Denver — and an example of what’s expected to occur along the new lines.

“It’s resulted in tremendous investment for the city. We scrounged up half a billion to renovate Union Station and that’s resulted in $2 billion worth of investment around Denver Union Station — new housing, new headquarters for DaVita and [insurance and employee benefits company] IMA, new jobs,” Hancock said.

Denver was chosen as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s second satellite location, with 400 employees, in part because of the transit options between downtown and the airport, Hancock said.

Development already is spreading north through the River North neighborhood along Brighton Boulevard, and Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Co. is building its new U.S. headquarters at a 384-acre transit-oriented development site at 61st Avenue and Peña Boulevard near Denver International Airport.

“The ‘Corridor of Opportunity’ [between downtown and DIA] is no longer a concept that the mayor talks about,” Hancock said.

“It’s becoming a reality.”

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