Rolling to RTD Part 6: The N-Line

As I continued my journey through RTD, I realized that it would make more sense to venture up the N-Line instead of the W Line for a couple reasons. First and foremost, it would act as a contrast to the south suburbs and southernmost point of Lone Tree. Second, a Broncos game at Mile High would mean that the train would be crowded right when I would get on at the end of the day, whereas the N-Line was dead on my way back into Denver. With this change of plan, I started my journey towards the N-Line

N Line Map
The N-Line

Method

Similar to previous adventures, my goal was to take the most straightforward and bike able route to each of the stations. If a route took me in a place that had high traffic, I would try and find a serviceable detour.

48th and Brighton/National Western Center

As I navigated through the detours that construction near I70 presented up towards Northside, I realized this was going to be a bit of a challenge getting out of Denver. Historically located in an area of Denver where bike infrastructure is scant, it was a welcome change to have a raised bike lane along Brighton Boulevard

The station can be accessed by bike if you take the ramp, and has a decent amount of bike parking. Getting from the station to my next destination, however, would be somewhat of a trek.

Commerce City and 72nd

After a journey that led me through Riverside Cemetery and along frontage roads to the South Platte Trail, I arrived at the Commerce City and 72nd Station.

The station had similar amounts of bike parking, with a bit of industry that felt off putting for the station, and caused a cloud to occasionally come over the station. Buses seemed to go along the route of the N line, and a large parking lot was the anchor for the whole station.

What followed after this station was a diversion that took me through a gravel-y area that I partially blame for my front tire getting a flat after the ride itself. After navigating further up the South Platte River Trail towards the station, I began my first bout of paralleling a road, where my journey would pause once again.

Original Thornton & 88th

Taking the adjacent road through a large high school campus and then to an adjoining trail, Original 88th and Thornton had the benefit of being near a few accessible places from bike trails and the streets.

There is some bicycle parking available near the bus terminals, with a large parking lot adjacent to the bike parking, and a ramp that leads up to the station.

As I headed up towards the next station, I got some relief due to a multiuse path that lead partially up there. The rest of the adventure there was through suburbia and across a couple of major intersections, which were relatively low stress.

Thornton Crossroads & 104th

Adjacent to a shopping center on one side and suburbia on the other, Thornton Crossroads and 104th Station acts as the prototypical RTD station, with some bike parking and a large parking garage. While there is a navigable route from the neighborhood, getting to the station from the other side would require navigation that would take a rider across at least across one major intersection or across an unpaved section of gravel, the latter which I took towards our next station.

Northglenn & 112th

After taking a multi-use path and having to parallel 112th Ave for a decent amount of time, I got to our penultimate stop along the line.

The Northglenn and 112th was one of the rarer stations that had wayfinding for a bicycle from the street adjacent to it. Bike parking was there, with a medium sized parking lot adjacent to it

Heading anywhere within the immediate vicinity of the area requires someone to go through either suburbia or along the major artery of York Street. As such, I took a suburban route to make it to my final destination.

Eastlake and 124th

Getting to Eastlake and 124th was a mix of using a road through suburbia and crossing a somewhat hard to navigate three way intersection. The final stop along the rail was near a small business district to the right, and an empty lot to the left.

Bike parking was available around the area, and it felt very walkable.

Final Thoughts

For me, the closest parallel to the N-Line in content and the surrounding was not necessarily the E-Line, But the D-Line. It went through several neighborhoods and suburbs, though the overall feel of the line was overwhelmingly suburban whereas there were still urban elements of the D-Line.

Bike-ability along the line was fairly decent, with the adventures along paths, bike lanes, and suburban streets lessening my worries of getting from place to place. Parking a bicycle was about on par with the E-Line, which is to say that it was adequate at best. Overall, if I was someone that was in the Northern Suburbs along the N line north of the Commerce City station, it would be a good choice to make the trip downtown.

Taking a Break

Due to a few different life circumstances and the fact that Daylight Savings time is imminent, I will be taking a break of undetermined time from the series. In the meantime, I will be writing on and off about other subjects related to urbanism. Stay tuned.

Featured Image is a processing facility for Brannan Sand and Gravel Adjacent to the N-Line

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