The Death Rides: Biking to Haunts and Horrors throughout the Denver Metro

Death is hidden from us in this city and region.

If I were to tell someone that there were over 20 different cemeteries, memorial gardens, and monuments honoring the dead in the City of Denver proper, I would imagine some would not believe me. The story of Cheesman Park/Denver City Cemetery is the epitome of hiding death, with thousands of bodies transferred from the former site at a rate of $1.90 a casket. Most of the major cemeteries in the area are private or semi-private, making death even more shrouded from the average person.

As we enter a month where many believe the veil between the land of the dead and our world is lifting, it feels appropriate to explore where death lies.

This series aims to uncover death throughout Denver, giving access to a world that usually isn’t seen on an average bike ride. While some will be rides through cemeteries proper, other haunts and areas of interest will be explored throughout the next couple months. Welcome to The Death Rides.

Featured Image is the author’s bike posed in front of the Fairmount Mausoleum

The Cheapest Meal In The Front Range: A Review of the Bike Ride and Security at Dicks Sporting Goods

Last Memorial Day Weekend, I took a trip up to Commerce City to go see a Rapids Game with a couple of friends. Starting my journey near Station 26 in North Park Hill, I navigated by path through the Central Park/Northfield area.

The thin bike lane along Central Park looked like a death trap, especially with the high amount of traffic on that 2PM ride up to the rendezvous location. Parking at the art show that we were going to immediately before was also a pain, with 1 bike rack nearby and myself having to lock to a pole.

Thankfully, it was a fairly short ride to the park from the Northfield/Central Park art fair. The one issue that we noticed was the light have any sort of lead for bicycles, so using the multipurpose path to the stadium was a risk crossing the street.

The stoplight in front of Dick’s Sporting Goods

Perhaps the most intense part of the ride was the worry that there would be no security at the official bike parking lot, The Burgundy Lot. When we got there, there was not a guard. Additionally, the racks were no rooted anywhere, making it so it could be easy to carry them elsewhere. Thinking the guard was late, we went over to the Centennial 38 tailgate.

The Burgundy Lot AKA bike parking.

For me, the highlight of my experience was the Centennial 38 Tailgate. For $10, you can have all-you-can-eat and drink experience. The community was really cool and tight, with everyone from a guy making Megadeth references to a friend wearing a shirt, to a lady dancing and drinking from a full bottle of wine, it felt like a crew that I would be part of. I had about 3 slices of pizzas and 4 beers before we wandered back to the bike parking.

When we arrived, we saw there was no one dedicated to watching the lot. After talking to a security guard, they said that there was someone that was supposed to be watching it, and let us know that he would watch the bikes until he was relieved by another guard. Knowing that, we went into the game, watching as the Rapids lost to Tennessee.

When we left the game, it did not appear that there was dedicated security there. We also appeared to be the only ones parked there. Thankfully, nothing had been stolen, but we were left wondering if things were safe at the lot or not, and managed by a guard the entire time. We rode back around 9:00 PM, with small bike lanes and less cars defining the trip, along with a stop light that was impossible to reach without leaving the sidewalk.

Overall, I would love to know and see a security guard managing the bike lot at all times. As someone that used to work security, I know the fear of losing a bike is both real and has manifested when said bikes aren’t being watched. Though the booster organization Centennial 38 made things worthwhile in the end, lacking security would lead me to hesitate next time I go up there.

To buy Tickets for the Rapids game, go here.

To learn about the booster organization, Centennial 38, go here.

Featured Image is of the Burgundy Bike Lot

I Rode the Pegasus Service Up to Frisco this Memorial Day Weekend. Here is What I experienced.

To preface this review, I would like to note that u/the_climaxt gave a great review of the inaugural trip that they took on Pegasus here that I would recommend to anyone. The purpose of this review is to fill in some of the gaps, and speak to the connections that someone would make once they reach their destination.

When I made it to Union Station around 7:45 for my morning departure, I had no real idea where the Pegasus shuttle would be. After it reaching 8:00, I called the customer service line of pegasus, with a representative telling me to meet over by Tupelo Honey. Later, I learned from a driver that there was signage, albeit really small, over in the pick up area.

It was about 8:05 AM as we boarded. The driver was having issues with the QR scanner that he was given, so we manually showed him our tickets on our phones. Besides myself, there was one other person in the van that was visiting a friend up in Frisco.

USB chargers and WiFi are on board Pegasus, along with an area in the back to store larger pieces of luggage. In talking with the driver on the way up, he said that we were still among some of the first people using the service, noting that the gloomy and raining Memorial Day weather may have deterred people. Additionally, he said that, while it was only myself and one other person that showed up for the ride on Pegasus, two other folks had tickets and did not show up.

Along with talking about how the service was so far, we chatted about what I was going to do up in Frisco, the cost of plane tickets, and topics related to furniture. The driver was very friendly, and made the experience that much better. The one stop that we made at the Denver Federal Center took about 3-4 minutes, and we did not stop in Idaho Springs because no one had indicated they were going there/no one from there had bought a ticket.

Frisco Transfer Station

We got to Frisco around 9:45 ish. I began my journey in Frisco by doing some hikes up near Rainbow Lake, slightly battling the elements including rain and wind. Around the time that I walked along the marina after my hike, I ducked into a bar and grill in town and waited for it to blow over while getting lunch.

One of the things that I appreciated about Frisco was the fact that wayfinding was something that was fairly straightforward. Signs like the one on the right were everywhere, with the delineation between multi use paths like the one on the left versus streets downtown for pedestrians made very clear.

The bus shelters in town were great too, with protection from the elements being something that is further between in a system like RTD vs. Summit County’s free bus system. While I did not take advantage of it this trip, I will likely check it out next time I come around.

After ending my day up in Frisco at Outer Range Brewery about 3 minutes from the Frisco Transfer Center, I walked back to where I had gotten dropped off. Along my way back, I noted the different waiting areas for buses to cities across the county.

The driver left promptly at 5:45 and arrived back at Denver Union Station at about 7:18. The journey back was characterized by flurries that occurred after the Eisenhower Tunnel, with the driver noting that it had snowed on Memorial Day Weekend. We got back to the loading/drop off location at about 7:16, having to wait a couple of minutes for some drivers to pull out before being allowed fully to disembark.

Overall, the Pegasus experience and experience in Frisco was solid. If I had any complaints, they would be twofold. One, Pegasus needs a more dedicated area with better wayfinding, as it was something I was worried that I couldn’t even find. Two, it would be great if Summit County’s bus service would sync up with the Transit application, as I had no frame of reference as to where to go and did not want to download their in-house app to use the system. However, despite these criticisms, I enjoyed my time on Pegasus and in Frisco, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to skip traffic and the prices at the pump.

Featured Photo is the Author near a wood sculpture found near Frisco.

Correction: In an Earlier Draft, I mentioned that the street that Pegasus picked up on was Wazee in a photo caption. The street is in fact Wewatta.

Rolling to RTD Part 9: The W Line

Introduction

As the winter trudges on and snow falls on the ground, the days of riding intercity become less and less frequent. However, before this series completely goes into hibernation, I wanted to finish up with one of the most intriguing light rail lines: The W-Line.

Unlike other lines, the W-Line has a loose bikeway that comprises a majority of the stations. While many of the other light rail lines in the system often go through population centers such as Union Station or Olde Town Arvada, the W Line is incredibly suburban, ending at the Jefferson County Government Center.

Methodology

Like previous rides, I decided to choose the most direct and safest route to get to the end of the line. A portion of this review will also cover the W-Line bikeway, given that it is a major route in JeffCo.

Decatur/Federal

Coming from the Lakewood Gulch trail, I made it to Decatur-Federal. A station often used as a destination for Broncos games, Decatur Federal has a decent amount of bike accessibility from the east, though has the worst of the trappings of Federal Blvd if accessed from the west. It has a wide range of multimodal available, with bus lines lining the way along West Howard Place and scooters throughout.

From the station, I hopped unto the Lakewood Gulch trail and headed west towards my next destination.

Knox Station

Using the Lakewood Gulch Trail, I went down to the Knox Station.

The Station, similar to Decatur-Federal, was right off of the trail itself. One of the valuable aspects of it is the fact that it is near a good transit oriented development. Along with this, trail accessibility is a major boon for this location. I felt fairly comfortable jumping off the trail to the station, though I could see issues when it comes to car traffic on Knox Court at more impacted times of the day.

With bike facilities, a bus stop, and access to rideshare, Knox had the best of the trappings of stations along this route for people who walk, bike, and ride.

Perry Station

Perry Station had a lot of similarities with Knox, with the major difference being the lack of nearby development. At this station, there is a multiuse path just north of it that can be used to arrive at the next Station. With some bike parking facilities and a mix of apartments and suburbia nearby, this station acts as an in between for both residents of Lakewood and Denver.

Sheridan Station

At the end of Lakewood Gulch Trail lies the Sheridan Station. Similar to the Louisiana Pearl Station, it has an elevator that goes to the main street level. Unlike that station, there are a lot of nearby developments that make the station fairly “central”. Bike Parking is fairly abundant, albeit using the “hanging” parking scheme.

Heading westbound, the Lakewood Gulch Trail transformed into an icy mess. West 11th Avenue was snowy and felt removed from the rest of my journey. When I reached Harlan, I turned unto the W-Line Bikeway and headed towards Lamar.

Lamar Station

Lamar Station was one of the odd stations out of this line in a couple ways. With no bike or car parking and no central bus port, it felt like a pass thru station, made mainly for people that lived in the complex across the street and the occasional rider on the nearby bikeway. It was incredibly accessible on the trail, however, but lacked facilities that would be great to lock up a bike on a trip into Golden or into Denver.

Lakewood-Wadsworth Station

Lakewood-Wadsworth was a station that reminded me of several different overpass stations along the E-Line: Accessible via elevator, some but not complete protection from the elements, and some bike parking. Getting here from the W-Line bikeway, however, was slightly difficult.

Because of the lack of exposure, the path leading to the station had a thin stripe of snow on the Westbound side. Parts of the W-line had this issue, with some parts with zero exposure being nearly un-rideable at times.

Garrison Station

Garrison Station had all the trappings of a “neighborhood” station. Off the direct path of the W-Line Bikeway, the only accessibility to the station is through the neighborhoods with no bus nearby. Of note, however, is the fact the station is adjacent to a large apartment complex with a ton of parking. Across the tracks, there is some area for bike parking. While somewhat accessible, the amount of local car traffic and snowiness of side streets was off-putting for me.

Oak Station

Back when I lived in East Golden/West Lakewood, this station was the one that I most commonly used. With the bikeway going right through it, a small bus hub nearby, and a lovely view of the foothills, the Oak Station seems to have it all. It also is near fairly new development, and with nearby empty lots, could possibly be developed even more. My one qualm with it is that the large amount of parking both during my ride and during previous rides has often made it congested with car traffic.

Federal Center Station

Diverging from the main route of the bikeway down towards Union Blvd, I made it out to the Federal Center Station. Unlike the previous stations along the route, Federal Center was difficult to access as a bicycle rider, with no direct path outside of brief sidewalk surfing down union.

While there is some bike parking, what is of note is the enormous 1,000 space parking lot adjacent to it. The increased car traffic along it made it difficult to navigate via street, with me using an ADA ramp to descend down into the station.

The car centric nature of it negated the few bike parking spaces in the station, and made me feel “unsafe” to a degree along it. Going back towards the next station, I guiltily sidewalk surfed until I made it to the frontage road.

Red Rocks Community College Station

Veering far off the W-Line Bikeway, I made it to this station. In almost every way, I would not recommend riding to it unless you are headed eastbound and are using the sidewalk. Car traffic, while not awful, is fast, and the rolling hills often mean that you can lose momentum and go significantly slower around here.

Beyond this, as several alumni have told me, the station is not really positioned in an appropriate spot relative to its namesake, with a hill that has to be walked up and down to get the the college. All in all, it is a niche station that functionally serves one purpose: to get the the community college.

Jeffco Government Center

The end of the line gets you to to JeffCo’s government center. While it is a nice area due to the nearby bike and pedestrian paths around it, the fact that the W-Line ends there is somewhat baffling. Though it is helpful to government workers and anyone with business in government, not ending near downtown Golden feels like a missed opportunity. Despite this, there is a fairly bike-able path to golden that is nearby, and bike parking both at the station and in different areas of the government center.

Final Thoughts

The W-Line is a line that has a lot of potential, both realized and unrealized. With a bikeway that allows for ease of access for most of it and developments going along adjacent, it has the ability to be used by much more people if facilities along it are maintained and some sort of connection outside of the FlexRide Service in Golden. Perhaps, as some communities have done in the past, a fixed route circulator to downtown and points of interest would be of use. Until that happens, the W-Line, like the unfinished painting of George Washington, remains alluring but incomplete.

Featured Image is an artistic piece along the Oak Station

Searching for Humanity in Concrete: Loathing and Frustration at the Denver Tech Center

As some of you may know, I briefly took a job working for a startup that relocated to the Denver Tech Center in October of 2019, specifically the Greenwood Village section of it. I prepped myself for the move, realizing that it would make my normally 15-20 minute commute nearly an hour and 15 minutes from my apartment to the office. While there was a light rail station that provided nearly direct access to the area where my office was, the issues that RTD was facing in regards to inability to recruit and retain drivers began to show, as trains that I wanted to take either ran too late or ran too early.

First Impressions

When I began my first Lyft ride into the Tech Center to finish up the move of the startup’s office, I was struck with how it felt like every office park in Southern California, where I grew up. While Denver has giant skyscrapers in its Lower Downtown Area, the Tech Center feels is that, but with concrete car storage as far as the eye can see. From parking garages, to parking lots, to park-n-rides all throughout the RTD area, cars seem to be king in this area. Though RTD has a presence, including light rail 3-4 stations along the main stretch of the center and a couple of bus routes, that’s where transit ends. Going into the move, I was pessimistic, but ready to bear and grin due to the consistency of work.

denver tech center
An Aerial View of the Denver Tech Center, Photo From this BuiltInColorado Article

The Month in The DTC

Perhaps it didn’t help that RTD was constantly burdened by the driver shortage in regards to having consistent lines. Perhaps it didn’t help that it felt like snow removal in the DTC was geared towards making sure parking lots and streets were clear vs. sidewalks. Perhaps it didn’t help that, upon moving down there, my employer asked for the make and model of my car, assuming that I would be driving down to the Tech Center from Denver. The culmination of everything, however, was the fact that it felt inescapable. Company WiFi constantly had issues that none of us could resolve, yet the only refrain for most of us, who lived closer to downtown Denver, was to go to a nearby chain tavern when things went wrong. Bad periods of inclement weather in Late October meant that we had to work from home, with me hoping that a coworker would give me a ride.

There was zero way to effectively bike to the Tech Center from my apartment without waking up at 5:30 in the morning, and bike infrastructure was virtually non-existent without cobbling together a handful of trails and hoping that drivers would be generous. Even walking in the Tech Center felt like a struggle at times, with constant anxiety in regards to whether I would get hit when jaywalking to make my train on time. I could bear and grin for awhile because it was consistent 9-5 work, but something had to give. I tried to find the positives: at least I didn’t have to worry about the close quarter of a WeWork? After grasping at straws, I started to see the cracks in a bad way.

The Tipping Point: A No Good, Really Bad Halloween

While my Halloween costume from 2019, an RTD bus driver with a replica 15L, was a high point in my Halloween costume choices, the night after work heading home from the office broke me.

Image may contain: 1 person
A photo of me as an RTD Bus Driver, Halloween 2019

I remember the night well. I was taking the E line from the Orchard Station, the closest to where the office was, to the Alameda Station in Denver. After slowing down in approach to several stops, the entire train stopped between the Pearl and Broadway Stations. After about 2-3 minutes, passengers started to show concern due to the fact the delay seemed less of a pause and more of a full stop. 5 minutes later, the operator came on the radio, relaying to the passengers that the train was experiencing technical difficulties. Fifteen minutes after that initial warning, I was done. I held it together through the month of October solely based on the fact that I rolled with the punches that RTD was dealing me with my commute having to gradually get longer to catch the right train. After almost 30 minutes of being stopped, I felt like RTD had dealt a kick to the crotch that I couldn’t recover from. After the festivities of Halloween night ended, I cried, frustrated that I had fallen so far, and planned my escape from the Tech Center.

Aftermath and Reflection

I applied with my old company for a job closer to downtown and got it, albeit with slightly nontraditional hours, and started the healing process. It was late November of 2019, and I went into my job realizing that it would be a way for me to heal from a mental and an emotional perspective. While the healing was never linear, the process began then, with some lulls due to the global pandemic and shifts in my home life.

Looking back, I made the right decision. The Tech Center and the types of companies that it attracts are not for me. As someone that worked for a startup, I wanted the geographical positives of startup culture: being reasonably walkable/ridable/bike-able from my apartment, able to connect with people in my own age group near me, and close to places and spaces that felt human. Instead, I worked in the outskirts of suburbia, feeling like I was working for an anonymous company surrounded by anonymous companies. It felt more like working at Initech, where I was an anonymous face in a sea of anonymous faces, than a vibrant startup. The area surrounding also felt like a bedroom community, where, to quote a friend “Business Owners located offices there to take their clients to the nicer Illegal Pete’s”. When I couldn’t find humanity in the concrete, I escaped, and feel all the better for it.

Cover Photo is an Aerial Shot of a Hyatt located in the Tech Center

The Blight Loop: Or, a ride into our mistakes.

Denverites and Coloradans are spoiled by the large amounts of bike infrastructure. While there is incredibly substantive criticism of bicycle facilities, some of which I have participated in in the past, we live in a state where natural beauty is often just an hour or two away on a well maintained path.

The Blight Loop satisfies neither of these conditions.

While not a recognized route by any major entity in Denver, the loop is well known among the cycling community. Basically, it is a loop that uses two trails and bike infrastructure in Aurora and Denver, starting roughly around Confluence Park and ending in the Central Park neighborhood.

The Blight Loop’s northernmost portion.

Various cyclists have differing opinions on where the loop begins. To me, the loop starts once you pass the Globeville Landing Park near I70. Though the trail is still technically in Denver, it feels different, as the scenery quickly shifts and the river looks less like a place for recreation and more like a superfund site. While there are a handful of parks prior to the turn, they overall aesthetic feels “off” for lack of a better term. For instance, Carpio Sanguinette, one of the northernmost parks in Denver, seems more like a parklet than a full fledged facility. The smells start to change once you get to this point, with a larger mix of pollution from the Suncor Oil refinery, a stench from the river, and, if the wind is blowing the right way, the smell of animal chow from the Purina plant.

A User Created Photo from Carpio Sanguinette from Atlas Obscura

By the time you reach the turnoff for the Sand Creek trail, you get the unnerving feeling you aren’t in Kansas anymore.

The Oz is the Suncor Oil refinery from a architecture standpoint. Comparisons stop there, as the industrial noises, smells, and sights reach a fever pitch. The creek itself is the kind of place where a three eyed fish doesn’t seem like it would be an uncommon thing

Keep peddling on.

Small parklets similar to the ones in north Denver start to emerge, feeling more like appendages than actual parks. The trees and general flora fade in and out, as scenes from a city built in industrial warehouses, Commerce City, come into frame. A trailer chapel is a prominent feature that reminds me that god is there for truckers. For me, who knows.

A Mobile Chapel at a truck stop in Commerce City

The final circle of hell is the end of the Sand Creek trail. Due to I70 construction, parts of the trail are dirt and rocks. When I was a regular on nightshift, I would ride the trail at 2:00 AM, and would say a hail Mary before this stretch. A rough patch hit at the wrong angle could make my life a nightmare. While I am not sure if this section of the Sand Creek trail has been fixed since I last rode on it, it served as a reminder that the hardest stretch of the loop was over. Once the Sand Creek Trail was over, the trail shifted back to a multi-use trail, with the old Stapleton Airport tower within a mile of the park the trail drops you off in.

The Old Stapleton Airport

So, what is the Blight Loop? On paper, its a fairly easy route. Elevation gains are minimal, distance is not a big factor, and, outside of the gravel near the end, its need technically difficult. What it is, however, is a morality tale. A ghost of Christmas Past as you pass by the unhoused who have been ignored by the city for generations, of Christmas Present once the Suncor Oil Refinery is reached, and Christmas Future when the I70 construction is hit. Far from being a physically draining route, its a mentally draining one, and a reminder of how far we have to go.

Featured Photo is of the Author in Front of the Suncor Oil Refinery, Dated June of 2020

The Fast Pumping Artery to Golden: Save the 16L

When RTD proposed its series of cuts at a study session on December 19th, they slated 6 bus lines and special sports services such as BroncosRide, RockiesRide, and CU Denver Game rides to be completely eliminated. Outside of being slightly surprised about the game day lines being cut, I was dismayed to hear that the 16L bus was being eliminated as well. As a line that is one of the most direct ways for individuals to get from Downtown Golden to Denver County and vice versa, the 16L is a line that is worth saving due to the service that it provides.

Background

Before I go further into why I believe the 16L should be saved, I will admit my bias here: The 16L was my former bus. As someone that works just south of downtown, the 16L was a bus that I would take constantly from where I was renting to where I currently work. Beyond just being my former bus, however, the 16L is a valuable resource for residents of Jefferson County.

Running roughly from just west of Downtown Golden to the corner of Colfax and Broadway along Colfax over the course of a little over 45-50 minutes, the 16L is the closest that anyone can take to get to Golden proper given that the W-Line stops at the Jefferson County Government Center Station, roughly an 8 minute drive or 45 minute walk from Downtown Golden or its suburbs. Along the way, it passes by staples of West Colfax, including the Chuck Wagon Diner, Casa Bonita, and the Colfax Museum. It also passes by big box stores such as Wal-Mart and Colorado Mills before it takes a turn off Colfax into Golden.

Casa Bonita
An Exterior Shot of Casa Bonita

Why Is It Potentially Being Cut?

During the staff presentation of the service reductions, the justification for the routes to be eliminated were either that they were under-performing or that the route was a duplication of another service. Due to the fact that the 16L is a limited version of the regular 16, it was deemed to be a duplication of service and cut given that, out of all of the lines being eliminated, the 16L has the highest amount of ridership.

What is wrong with the 16?

To illustrate what a loss the 16L would be in comparison to its longer counterpart the 16, here are some maps of routes that each bus takes between two sample destinations: the Colfax at Auraria Station and Woody’s Wood Fired Pizza in Downtown Golden

The first route shown is the route that the 16 takes

Colfax 16
The 16 Route

While Google says that it takes about an hour and 10 minutes, my personal experience shows that it takes about an hour and 15 minutes on a good run.

Contrast this with the 16L

Colfax 16L.jpg
16L route

again, as a disclaimer, while google says it takes about 42 minutes, I would realistically say it takes about 45 minutes to 50 minutes from experience.

As you can see, the stop that the 16 takes at the Decatur-Federal station causes roughly a 20-30 minute difference from its counterpart, the 16L, which for many RTD services is the equivalent to a run. Even though, in the planning document, more runs of the 16 would be added, that would still not stop the fact that the prolonged stop at the Decatur-Federal station would make the trip from Denver to Golden more than an hour every time.

Conclusion

If the 16L had been cut by the time that I was working in Downtown Denver, I would have been unable to work in Downtown without having a commute longer than an hour from the Lakewood/Golden cusp to Civic Center Park. While RTD believes that bolstering the amount of 16 buses would alleviate the issue, all it would do is create a steady amount of longer trips from the Golden/Lakewood area to Denver, frustrating riders even more and driving down ridership in favor of an alternative like car commuting. For this reason, the 16L should be spared from the chopping block that is the service cuts RTD is considering, as it is the artery that makes the heart of RTD beat.

Featured image is credited to Paul Albani-Burgio from Colorado Community Media, and portrays a 16L bus bound for Civic Center at the 10th and Washington stop in Golden.

 

Proposed RTD Cuts: What You Need To Know

I just attended the study session for RTD’s service reductions. After the initial presentation on broad themes related to service cuts for RTD, there was discussion on what would specifically be cut. Here are routes that will be reduced/eliminated that you need to know about.

Bus Eliminations/Reductions

1. 16L On West Colfax- Runs from Civic Center Park to Downtown Golden

This line holds a particular significance to me because it is the line I would use in the past to get to work. If it wasn’t running, my work commute would increase from roughly 45 minutes to an hour and 20 minutes. The detour the 16 takes when the 16L is not running is something that inconveniences a lot of people, including myself.

2. 55 in Arvada- Runs From Arvada Ridge to Olde Town Arvada

3. 99L in Lakewood – Runs from Southwest Plaza to Federal Center Station

4.  157 in Aurora- Runs from Aurora Metro Center to Buckley Air Force Base

5. 236 in Boulder- Runs from Table Mesa to Boulder Junction Stations

6. 403 in Highlands Ranch- Runs from Littleton Station to Lincoln Station

7. Special Services such BroncosRide, RockiesRide, and rides to CU Denver Games would be eliminated

Access-a-Ride Services and para-transit will not be affected.

Bus Reductions

0L (South Broadway)

Selected Peak period trips would be discontinued

1 (1st Avenue)

Service discontinued east of Alameda Station

16 (West Colfax)

Service added to offset elimination of 16L

27 (East Yale Avenue)

Service will be combined with Route 46 north of Yale Avenue and discontinued service south of Hampden. New south terminal at
Southmoor pnR.

32 (32nd Ave/City Park)

Discontinue service east of Downtown and west of Wadsworth Boulevard.

46 (South Dahlia Street)

Combine with 27 south of Yale Avenue, replacing former routing.

65 (Monaco Parkway)

Sunday from 30 minute to 60 minute frequency

67 (Ridge Road)

Reduce service frequency weekday and Saturday

99 (South Kipling)

Weekend Service Discontinued

125 (Youngfield/Ward)

Service north of Ward Road Station discontinued

130 (Yale/Buckley)

Reduce frequency from 15 to 30 minutes.

139 (Quincy)

Discontinue 5:13am, 5:41am 5:56am eastbound and 4:40am westbound trips

153 (Chambers) 

Reduce peak frequency from 15 to 30 minutes between Arapahoe Crossing and Peoria&Smith Road Stn. 437

206 (Pearl/Manhattan/Fairview High School)

Discontinue weekday mid-day service (930am to 230pm); remove route between BJDS and Arapahoe/55th

483 (Parker Road/Lincoln Ave)

Reduce peak frequency from 30 to 60 minutes.

JUMP (Boulder Lafayette Via Arapahoe

Reduce frequency to hourly wk mid-day, east of 63rd/Arap-Lafayette

Free Mallride

Service reduced from 90 seconds to 3 minute intervals.

Rail Changes/Eliminations

1. D Line- Runs from Mineral to 18th and California, would be eliminated on Weekends. C Line would have added weekend base period service frequency

2. H-Line-Runs from Florida to 18th and California, would have reduced Saturday Frequency

3. R-Line-Runs from Ridgegate to Peoria, would be reduced to 2 trains per hour

Commuter trains would not be affected.

Concerns From the Board

The board of directors had some concerns when they were presented with this plan publicly for the first time. Director Judy Lubow asked in regards to whether staff had put together a plan or hired a consultant in regards to retention for drivers. Director Jeff Walker was curious about if they could retain more employees by finalizing cuts before the next round of service changes in May. Shontel Lewis spoke from the logistical aspects of hiring drivers, speaking about issues regarding class sizes, number of supervisors per garage, and the issue of whether service reductions would actually cut down on mandated overtime, a common theme that emerged among the directors. The response in regards to the mandated overtime question was the same in every instance, with staff stressing that, while it should still be available, it should not be required.

Another common theme was in regards to the Broncos, Rockies, and CU Denver ride services that would be cut. While Director Kate Williams stated that Broncos season ticket holders wouldn’t necessarily need the service, others pointed out how the services are often and entry level introduction to RTD that creates more riders.

Director Lynn Guissinger and others ask if certain cuts would be temporary, while others were not, another common theme among the directors. Guissinger also inquired about the possibility of Denver and Boulder buying out certain RTD routes to keep them funded, an allusion partially to Denver’s new Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and the role it could play with the agency during these times. Director Vince Buzek was the only board member to explicitly come out against the service cuts, saying that a “transit agency should provide transit” and noting that the amount of cuts for bus were greater than the amount of cuts for rail despite over 100 rail trips often being cut a day.

Perhaps the most poignant statement for me came from Director Bob Broom, who noted that, while R-Line ridership was up 4% compared to the rest of rail in Denver, the R-Line was still getting cut back to 2 trains per hour. Additionally, the suggestion by Director Angie Rivera-Malpiede that RTD hold pop-up events at stations in regards to the cut was a marketing idea that I wholeheartedly agree with. The section of the meeting adjourned with the promise of a full spreadsheet detailing the extent of the cuts, which will be added here in the morning.

What’s Next?

There will be 15 public meetings held by RTD in each district in regards to the service cuts throughout the months of January and February. This space will keep you updated in a later post on when those public meetings will be, and will keep you more in depth updated on the meeting located in Denver County. Stay tuned.

Was The Legend Ride fiction, though?

I initially posted about The Legend Ride to my personal blog GradWithATat because I received a journal from a security officer that worked at a hotel downtown detailing the incident. As a skeptic and journalist, I assumed the guy was just some merry prankster until I read the part about the second journal.

Something seems off.

I detailed my route  back when I was much more active with this blog platform and before joining DenverUrbanism as a contributor, and, after reading, as I have become to call him, Hercules’ story, I’ve noticed some interesting similarities. Ellipses are mine

My Ride

The initial couple of miles was decidedly suburban and terrifying. While most people fear cycling downtown. The stretch of area between the 11th Avenue Cherry Creek Trail and work is decently marked for a bike lane in the Golden Triangle area. The stretch from Dahlia to E Kentucky avenue, however, was a nightmare.

Hercules

I ride up S Dahlia and Evans, getting virtually 0 traffic from other cars and pedestrians. . . When I reach Dahlia and Kentucky, I make my usual left turn, taking another right unto Cherry and going through…

Glendale. Hercules is trying to describe going through Glendale, because at Cherry and Kentucky there is a sign that welcomes people to Glendale, Colorado.

My Ride 

While signage is a lot less defined on the Glendale section of the trail, it picks up past the Cherry Creek Mall once 1st and University is crossed. The most memorable part of this section is immediately after the mall, where a rabbit that I nicknamed “First,” seems to appear around 9:20 PM. this section of the trail comprises another 2-2.5 miles of the entire ride.

Hercules

I breezed through the sprinklers past the ave section of the trail, feeling a little chilly but still holding up fairly well. The 1st and University rabbit that is around mall seemed to be a little earlier on the trail than usual. She, along with a guy sleeping at the re-entrance up on the Univresity that I passed further.

Despite the decay in spelling and grammar, Hercules is describing the beginning of the Cherry Creek Trail, at least from where I usually enter. The “ave” section of the trail is the “Colorado Avenue” section of the area.

I used to take the trail in the AM as well, and First would also be on the trail around 6:15-6:30 AM, so Hercules isn’t lying when he says the rabbit is earlier than usual. Let’s do one more section, this time 2 separate passages for my ride

My Ride

While I will elucidate my thoughts on the country club later on in this blot (sic), the biggest frustration was a stoplight right at the entrance of the club at 1st and Gilpin, where I would be stopped at times to wait for one car to cross the intersection. After passing this light, it was a straight shot all the way to 11th and Speer.

From Downing to 11th was the most interesting stretch of people watching. From professional cyclists with interesting lights, to late night Lime and Ofo riders for the brief period when they were allowed until the ban, to a large homeless population that used the trail as refuge, it was an experience

Hercules

After passing the University, I took it easy until offramp. I made mad dash with impunity, before signaling alley.

That sounds like a good portion of my commute. I tracked my rides in Strava consistently during the time I biked to work on nightshift, and here is (roughly) where I ended up landing.

My Ride

My Commute_LI.jpg

Hercules makes it past University, which means he reenters the Cherry Creek Trail in the Downtown Denver section of the map, but there is no indication of where he exits.

Oh hey, a package just came, I’ll be back.

Weird, I usually don’t get Saturday deliveries…

Mail.jpg

Wait, this journal looks familiar. Oh no, it can’t possibly be… oh lord.

Hercules

It’s Hercules’ journal

Somehow, he knows I am unto him.

Night Shift Commute Part 2: The Bike Ride

It feels like yesterday. The first night ride into work. I remember the odd feeling as I powered down the Cherry Creek Trail, listening to Nine Inch Nails on the lowest possible volume while remaining completely vigilant of my surroundings. As “Copy of a Copy” hummed quietly from my pocket, I dodged sprinklers, the spare piece of trash, and had possibly one of the most interesting free sightseeing experience in the Metro-Denver area after 9:00 PM.

Suburbia

The initial couple of miles was decidedly suburban and terrifying. While most people fear cycling downtown. The stretch of area between the 11th Avenue Cherry Creek Trail and work is decently marked for a bike lane in the Golden Triangle area. The stretch from Dahlia to E Kentucky avenue, however, was a nightmare. A corridor that is steadily increasing in traffic, it boasted 4 way stops at the top of large hills, a traffic light halfway through that seemed to take an eternity to turn, designated parking past the light, and a protected pedestrian lane from Dahlia to Cherry at Kentucky (about a block) that cyclists were supposed to go in (spoiler, its against state law to go through). Even though this part of my commute only took about 12-13 minutes, it was always a very harrowing 12-13 minutes, with the closest encounters with cars happening along this stretch.

The Trail

Glendale Cherry Creek Trail.jpg
A Section of the Cherry Creek Trail in Glendale, CO, courtesy of the City Website

Glendale to 1st and University

Once I reached the trail at Exposition Ave and S Cherry Creek Street, it became a no-brainer. The trail is incredibly well marked, with stops along the way to get off to your end destination. While signage is a lot less defined on the Glendale section of the trail, it picks up past the Cherry Creek Mall once 1st and University is crossed. The most memorable part of this section is immediately after the mall, where a rabbit that I nicknamed “First,” seems to appear around 9:20 PM. this section of the trail comprises another 2-2.5 miles of the entire ride.

1st and University to 11th and Speer

Denver Country Club
Denver Country Club, an area I couldn’t pass through.

The most difficult turn of the route takes place around University and 1st. A sharp right with narrow mixed lanes where cyclists are encouraged yield to pedestrians, there is a raised surface at the bottom that acts as an impromptu “speed trap” to slow down riders. However it often ends as a “wipe-out point” if you approach it too fast, so braking was a big component of my time going down it. At night, there weren’t too many people going down it, but it was harrowing when a cyclist was going in the opposite direction and they had forgotten to put on lights.

After I reemerged on the other side of University, I would pass by the Denver Country Club to get back on the core of the trail. Like the turn under University, it was a mixed use pavement section, but it was incredibly frustrating to have to take a detour around the club and then get back on the trail. While I will elucidate my thoughts on the country club later on in this blot, the biggest frustration was a stoplight right at the entrance of the club at 1st and Gilpin, where I would be stopped at times to wait for one car to cross the intersection. After passing this light, it was a straight shot all the way to 11th and Speer.

From Downing to 11th was the most interesting stretch of people watching. From professional cyclists with interesting lights, to late night Lime and Ofo riders for the brief period when they were allowed until the ban, to a large homeless population that used the trail as refuge, it was an experience. This was always that stretch of the trail that, if anyone said “hey” I would keep peddling. I can’t think of anytime I would want to have a random conversation with a stranger on a trail after 9:30 PM on a weeknight. After passing 11th and Speer, I would take a right and turn off at the ramp. This section was the longest, topping in around 2.5 to 3 miles.

11th and Speer to Work

NigelPenhale.jpg
Cherry Creek Mural by Nigel Penhale. Find his work at nigeldesign.carbonmade.com

Once I reached the end of the trail, I reached the shortest section of the trail (1> mile). I would usually go down to 10th and Speer, go a couple of blocks through a protected bike lane, take a left unto Bannock and go a couple blocks up. Nothing too remarkable about this section outside of who I may have saw at the bars and restaurants along the way.

Conclusion

The night route to work, while cumbersome at the beginning, became a sort of meditation before the shift. It gave me the energy to get going, while keeping me cool until mid-June when the heat began to pick up and sun starting setting later. When I have my brief sojourn into the nightshift world next week, the fond memories of the Cherry Creek Trail and anticipation of riding it again will get me through.

Featured image is of a map of the route, showing major neighborhoods in the Denver Area. Initial section of trail is blacked out to protect privacy.