Rolling to RTD Part 5: Denver Tech Center to Ridgegate Parkway

As I ventured into the Tech Center on my first journey, I knew that the characteristics of the latter half of the trek down the E-Line would be cumbersome enough that it would take a second day to complete. Similar to the first part, I ventured down doing the recommended route along Google Maps, which largely paralleled the highway along frontage roads, exploring the stations that I saw along the way.

Orchard Station

The second of the core 3-4 stations that make up the Tech Center, Orchard Station had a lot of the themes I would find along the route: pedestrian overpasses over I25.

Picture from an overpass of the Orchard Station

From the east side of the Tech Center, there were some paths and a small amount of bike racks on the non-train size of the station, with some near the bus stops. As I made my towards the next station, I realized my journey would change, with the core roads being moderately trafficked at their best, congested and highway adjacent at their worst.

Arapahoe at Village Center Station

This station has two separate aspects to it: one is a bus terminal that has routes to several of the suburban parts of Centennial. The second component of it is the actual station. Immediately around the bus side of the station, it was pretty bike-able given that the it is separated from the parking lot. The station is a little unique in regards to walkability partially because of its closeness to Fiddler’s Green, a large outdoor amphitheater with mediocre sound quality that hosts national acts.

Bike racks were plentiful, and the ramp leading up to the main road was a good feature. As I went southbound, I thought that this was the best station along the route so far.

Dry Creek Station

In some ways, Dry Creek Station had a lot of the good aspects of the preceding station. A small separated bus terminal from the main parking lot, a major overpass to reach both sides of the Tech Center, and a decent amount of bike racks on each side were defining characteristics that acted as a mirror to the last station.

The bit that put it over the top was an inside area to wait underneath the station. While protection from the elements was relatively uniform from Orchard to Arapahoe at Village Center station, this felt like something made for the worst of winter in the metro, and was something that I really enjoyed about this station. Taking a street on the end of the Tech Center that went past the giant Ikea, I believed that this may have surpassed the Arapahoe Station, and may be the best of what I would experience.

County Line Station

County Line was proof of my hypothesis in a lot of ways. Having two levels of overpasses for the highway, it felt harder to navigate the area easily as a rider. The station small bit more difficult to navigate, and had a smaller amount of bike facilities than the previous station

The one saving grace of the station was the fact that it was close to the multiuse C470 trail, which helped as I went to my next destination.

Lincoln Station

In comparison to County Line, Lincoln Station was tiny. As a station that is completely outside of the Tech Center and closer to the suburbs of Lone Tree, the station seems built more for suburbanites headed to work, with not much beyond a parking lot and the odd bike rack or two.

The one thing I noticed as I headed to and from this station was the smaller amount of density when it came to housing and commercial real estate, really starting to see it once I got to a section of housing that was being developed. The last two stations on my journey south would see this trend continue, but not before one last sign of civilization.

Skyridge Station

Out of all the stations that I visited during my ride, this station had the most amount of residential density surrounding it. The amount of transit oriented development was impressive, along with the lack of a major parking lot nearby.

With wide ramps, ample bike parking, and literally being adjacent to Train Station road, Skyridge has a large amount of potential for folks in the Lone Tree area that want to live nearby and don’t necessarily want to car commute to work. As I rode from a heaven of a station, I didn’t realize the hell that I was getting into.

Lone Tree City Center Station

While Skyridge was accessible to people from every angle, Lone Tree City Center was the least accessible along the route. With the only way to get there being a frontage road, pedestrians have no access to the station. There is no parking here for bikes, cars and bused and no buses that ran to me, making this station absolutely baffling and useless to me. The explanation is that transit oriented development, including a huge city city, is planned for the location, which justifies the fact it is seemingly nowhere.

Ridgegate Parkway

After having to cross under I25 on the road itself, I reached the final stop on the destination. flanked by a 1,300 space parking lot and some bike parking. It seems built primarily to be a park and ride for now, but is also planned to be part of the city center being planned for Lone Tree. It will be interesting how things developed; but, similar to the last station, it is still very half formulated.

Concluding Thoughts

The latter half of the E-Line is starkly divided into two categories. From Orchard to Lincoln it is a cacophony of several elements: The density of the large office park that is the Denver Tech Center, large outlets, and suburbs. Skybridge to Ridgegate is a story of change, as development will make the nature of the stations transform over time. Overall, however, I felt like a lot of the area was difficult to navigate around, with the aspect of I25 being the anchor both a detriment to the stations and to the line as a whole for different reasons. One improvement, which parallels what happened along 36, would be some sort of separated bikeway that leads to the various stations and connected with the c-470 bikeway. Until then, however, it would be a fool’s errand to visit a decent amount of these stations by bike unless immediately next to them in some regards.

In the next chapter, I will be taking the W line bikeway out to Golden. Stay Tuned

Featured image is art along the E-line

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