There’s a big birthday coming up in the Mile High City.
The Regional Transportation District on Tuesday will celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the first light rail stations.
On Friday, Oct. 7, 1994, the 5.3-mile RTD “D” Line opened, running between Interstate 25 and Broadway on the south side, through downtown to 30th Avenue and Downing Street on the northern end. That short line was funded entirely through RTD’s use tax and capital reserves and bonds.
The D Line set the stage for billions of investment into Denver’s public transportation rail system, which celebrated another milestone in May with the grand opening of Denver Union Station, designed to be a multi-modal hub for existing lines and new ones that will open in coming years.
“The success of our first light rail line paved the way for 20 years of transit options and better mobility across the region,” said Phil Washington, RTD General Manager and CEO.
RTD’s rail lines stretch 48 miles with 46 stations and have carried over 200 million passengers. Since it opened in 1994, RTD has added the C, E, F, H and W line to its rail system.
Officials also believe it gives developers and leaders the ability to plan and build around an environmentally-friendly, walkable-living philosophy.
“We’ve seen how transit investment has been a major catalyst for economic development, job creation and connecting communities,” Washington said.
It’s also played a role in many city’s plans because officials believe that the key to attracting companies and jobs is to draw young workers first. And, according to the Rockefeller Foundation, four out of five 18- to 34-year-olds, or millennials, demand that they can live within walking distance of their daily needs — a system that requires mass access to public transportation like RTD.
Denver’s next rail lines, the “Gold” line that will connect the northwest cities of Arvada and Wheat Ridge and the east line from Union Station to DIA are scheduled to open in 2016.
RTD will be hosting customer appreciation events on Tuesday from 4-6 p.m. at the I-25/Broadway station, the 30th/Downing station and Union Station.
For the full article including a slideshow of Denver’s RTD Light Rail click here.
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