Rolling to RTD Part 10: The A-Line

After a four month Hiatus from the series due to winter and various other commitments, I have returned for the final chapter of Rolling to RTD, where we discuss riding along the A-Line.

Methodology

Starting from my apartment in Cap Hill, I rode along a route that was a mix of google maps and using multipurpose trails in Aurora. Full disclosure, I did not ride completely out to the airport and the final stop there, though I have in the past and will discuss it more and the implications of not doing so later on. I did not end up going to the Peoria Station because I had previously been to it when I covered the R-Line.

38th and Blake

Having passed by it several times, the 38th and Blake station is familiar to me. With a parking lot and bike parking on the side closer to the Platte River Trail, and construction currently defining the side closer to RiNo, the station is probably the most bike able station along the route with an unprotected bike lane along it.

Access to secure bike parking as well was another plus for the station as well. As I left the station, I realized that things would only become more and more treacherous on my route.

40th and Colorado

The route towards 40th reminded me of one thing I always feel when I ride in Northern Denver: I am pretty much alone. With no infrastructure along Smith Road, I mostly stuck to the sidewalk and parking lots of buildings to get to 40th and Colorado.

Immediate access to the station was not much better, with the only infrastructure nearby being sharrows.

The remainder of the station was a mix of a larger parking lot, a small bus terminal area, and bike parking that was not secure were elements of it. Between navigating car traffic and large, fast roads on the way and few options when arriving, this station would not be a great choice for bike commuting at all.

Central Park

Central Park made me feel slightly more optimistic. Packed with people heading to the Rockies Game right before I took this photo, Central Park had a little more bike parking, both protected and unprotected, and a larger terminal. The one thing of note to me after going to this station and comparing it directly to the previous two. While the parking lots seemed to get larger, the amount of bus connectivity also increased, making it feel a little more of a multimodal hub than the previous two stations.

40th and Airport

After a long detour through the Sand Creek area in Aurora, I arrived at 40th and Airport Station. A station notorious for being one people heading towards the airport gets off at accidentally, 40th and Airport was fairly accessible by bike.

With a slightly larger amount of unprotected bike parking, a trail that led directly there from the airport underpass, and some cool art nearby, the 40th and Airport station was surprisingly a lot more accessible than I thought it would be. That being said, it has a fairly large parking lot, and the route beyond the immediate path to the station requires a lot of sidewalk surfing to be remotely safe.

61st and Pena

The penultimate stop before the airport, 61st and Pena has an “unfinished” feel to it. The station itself has a lot of construction going on, with a major project looking like a vacant lot and a few projects that have sprung up since I moved here in 2016.

Though there are bike lanes around the stations, there is no bike parking, which discouraged me. Additionally, like the previous stations, a large parking lot, albeit covered this time. As I headed to the end of my adventure, I worried what would come towards me next

Authors Note: I did not make it out to the airport for this ride due to a mixture of exhaustion, going down an incorrect road, and fear of the high propensity of traffic because of vacations. The below section is based off of a trip I previously made to the airport from Pena. The below picture is roughly where I ended the ride.

Airport Station

Getting to this station via 56th is, as I have noted previously, the least accessible station on the map. There is no bike parking on the platform, and only unprotected bike parking that I was unable to near the parking garages. That being said, given the massive amount of people that go through the garage in any given period, I wouldn’t trust my bike there for an extended trip, and would recommend leaving the bike at an earlier station and riding in for safety purposes.

Final Thoughts

The biggest theme that I felt throughout my experience on the A-Line was the following: incompleteness. Beyond the fact that I did not complete the ride in its entirety, there were a few other elements that added to the feeling of incompleteness: the construction along some of the major stations, lack of bike parking, and the incomplete path to Pena all added to this. However, the potential of a built out A-line with more robust bike paths and trails could change RTD, and I will be interested in seeing how built out housing along the line will affect it.

Featured image is of a statue dedicated to Federico Pena, former Denver Mayor who was instrumental in the creation of Denver International Airport.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s