Pedaling to Parks: Globeville Landing

Park Address: 3901 Arkins Ct. Denver, CO 80216

Neighborhoods/Area of interest Served: Platte River Trail, Globeville-Elyria-Swansea, River North Art District, Cole, Layton, Curtis Park

A pit stop along the Platte River Trail with a Disc Golf course and several amenities, Globeville Landing Park feels like a juncture between several competing interests and points of interests that make it interesting.

History

Globeville Landing started its life as a section of a Superfund site. The EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment worked jointly on a project to remove much of the contaminated soil in the area, completing a fair amount of the work from 2003-2006. The largest controversy in its existence was a major project the began in 2017, where a $300 Million dollar flooding project that led to the exposure of the remaining garbage and contaminated soil began. The projects main goal as well was to eliminate a flooding area for Central I70 expansion project, a project that would increase pollution in the neighborhoods and required the demolition of at least 56 homes.

A City Draft for the initial Globeville Landing revamp, 2017

The park expansion was completed in 2019, resulting in the creation of several active play areas and a picnic area.

Impressions Today

Globeville Landing in 2022 both felt like a great area for children and families to do things and an area of several interlocking tensions.

For me as someone who rides a bicycle, the biggest source of tension was where the park is situated along the South Platte River Trail. South of the trail is one of the most trafficked areas in Denver: Confluence Park and the entrance to the Cherry Creek Trail. North begins the entrance to what I have called The Blight Loop, one of the most notorious rides in Denver.

Tension continues in several ways as you take a look around the park. From the characteristic industry of Northside represented by the Pepsi Bottling Plant and the Western Stock Show complex, to the construction of buildings throughout River North that promise housing for some, and represent gentrification for others, to the RTD line going to the northernmost suburbs in Denver right next to a highway, it feels like you are at the center of several different Denvers.

The biggest thing that attracts me to the park is the sense of peace that it gives in the midst of a long ride. It acts as a rest stop for me, a middle place between the crowds of Confluence Park and the area by REI and the smells and horrors along of the blight loop.

Ways to get there by transit: The 12, 44, and A-Line Bus drop off near the park.

Ways to get there by bike: The Park is right off of the South Platte River Trail

Featured image is the entrance to Globeville Landing Park

Introducing Pedaling Through Parks

Imagine, for a minute, a typical recreational bike ride that you take in Denver. Do you remember trails such as Cherry Creek and Platte River, or do you think of the difficult stretches that make life miserable, such as heavily trafficked streets or bad infrastructure?

For me, I think of the best places for activities throughout Denver: parks. While some of the closest large parks to me like many folks in the Capitol Hill are Cheesman Park and City Park, there are several other smaller parks that have some of the same charm I love in both of these parks, and have traits that are great beyond this..

In the spirit of this love, this blog series will mostly be a love letter to these more neighborhood based parks vs the larger regional ones, with posts coming out roughly once a week in regards to the series. It will be a little less analytical than the Rolling to RTD series, but will include bike-ability as a measure that I will factor into this love.

Stay Tuned.

Featured Image is a Section of Alamo Placita Park

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.

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.

I stood in 6 Degree Weather at an enhanced bus shelter on Colfax. Here is how it felt.

A couple weeks ago when the Denver Metro area was experiencing artic temperatures, I made the decision to celebrate getting on a new project for my job by going to a bar in Capitol Hill. Knowing that I did not want to walk all the way to my apartment in Uptown, I took the 15L to Broadway and walked from the Civic Center station.

While I was waiting for the bus, I felt the need to comment on the new, enhanced bus stops that have been built up and down Colfax in October of 2021. Here is my experience using the one located on Colfax and Josephine.

Disclaimer

While I was waiting at this bus stop at 10:00 at night, I should qualify that I waited upward of 15 minutes and was incredibly bundled up, which may not make my experience representative of the average 15 user.

The Shelter

The Colfax and Josephine Bus Stop

The stop itself had on arched roof, which appeared to protect the bench inside of it from the worst of the elements. Though with the initial promise of provided real-time information on where the next bus would be, the inside of the stop was more of a refuge with ad-display than anything else.

Noticeably, the small bench on the inside of the shelter was fairly unencumbered by the elements, contrasting to the bench that was on the outside of the shelter. For me, the biggest disappointment was that bench outside the shelter, which exhibited elements of hostile architecture that are commonplace for a lot of benches around Denver.

The trash can next to the stop was a welcome element for me, as many RTD stops along Colfax do not have areas to dispose, often placing the onus on drivers to dispose of trash.

Security wise, there was a camera on the top left of the bus stop. As a former security guard, I was curious about the quality of the video on the camera and wondering who exactly was watching it, my guess being RTD’s contract security, Allied Universal.

Final Thoughts

As I boarded the bus, I thought about the station I left. While a vast improvement over existing infrastructure, I feel like there were a couple key elements missing. Having some sort of heating elements would be appreciated, along with some sort of mechanism at the station to alert the oncoming driver of your intent to board, something important given the times that drivers may pass someone by given their inability to see the person. Overall, however, I believe the stops are a step in the right direction, serving as an element once Colfax adopts BRT buses in the mid-future.

Featured image is a shot of the Colfax and Josephine bus shelter.

EDIT: As a clarification for this article, real-time bus displays do exist. However, they are mainly located at the primary stations along Colfax, and were glitchy when I went up to them. This is one I took earlier tonight around 6:30 PM. This was reported to RTD

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

The Last 4224 Feet: A walk down the Future L Line Extension

While much of the focus on the conversation of light rail expansion is being given to the B Line, the long delayed Boulder extension is not the only part of FasTraks, an initiative voters passed to expand light rail systemwide in 2004. The L line, a line that currently connects LoDo to both Five Points and the RiNo Arts District, has also been unrealized. A great recent piece for Denverite by Kyle Harris details the history behind the long stalled line.

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Proposed L line Extension

The 4224 feet, or .8 miles, that the rail would run down was something that I wanted to profile for this piece, showcasing what is, and what could be. Unlike my reviews of light rail line and bike friendliness, I mostly focused on the neighborhoods and what a built at L line could look like. Additionally, rather than bike, I opted to walk during this journey.

The Current End (30th and Downing)

The Northeast Corner of 30th and Downing

30th and Downing as an intersection has always seemed like a hodge podge of buildings that scream Denver in different ways. Within the block radius of the station itself, The Black Western Museum, a Gem Market, and a Beer Spa exist the serve the community in their unique ways. Adjacent to the east and west of these businesses are largely residential neighborhoods.

The station itself evokes the same energy of the end of the B-Line. For me, a strong feeling of “now what?” Is something I feel as I walk along it. Heading north towards the next proposed station, I thought about the large width of the current road, seeing the possibility of the train paralleling it in a similar that it does to Welton.

33rd and Downing

33rd street intersects at a perpendicular angle to Downing. As I crossed at 33rd Ave on the right side of the street, the suburbs turned into another small shopping center.

An Aerial view of the shopping center

To me, the large parking lot seemed like the logical place to put a station. With a dollar store, a butcher shop, and a Chinese place, the small center seems ripe for transit to flourish there. Going northbound, the street began to narrow a tad, with the street becoming suburban for a short period of time.

Besides the shopping center, the development on the other site of the street intrigued me. Between that and the center, it seemed like 33rd and Downing could be a substantive area with transit oriented development if the expansion was completed

35th and Downing

Moving further down the street, I began to leave the residential neighborhood behind. To my right, a gas station stood across from a tire shop. Noting the irony of either becoming a light rail station, I continued down the block.

As I headed further down the street, the landscape became more barren, feeling like the predecessor to a major revitalization. To me, the defining aspect of 36th and Downing was a large, dirt field with dead plants.

While the station is supposed to be positioned at 35th Avenue, this felt like a natural place to put the station. Perhaps this may be reevaluated as work begins on the expansion.

38th and Blake

While the station itself is well known, the two paths leading to it give off distinctive feelings. Going straight on Downing takes you past a mixed use development and construction. To me, it made logical sense that, if the tracks were to go down this route, they would parallel the road until its end. Instead of taking this route, I decided to go right at the Walnut Street intersection.

Ending its suburban stretch with two dilapidated motor homes, Downing’s residential turned into Walnut’s commercial strip. A liquor store and a brewery/pizza place along with a large apartment complex were things that stood out to me the most on Walnut, along with one of my least favorite intersections in Denver at 38th.

The one way that I could see the L line ending here would be if it was elevated above traffic, using the current unused field by the 38th and Blake Station as a way to come into the station from the north. Most likely, however, I can see the route going straight from the end of Downing to 38th and Blake from the south.

Final Thoughts

For me, the overwhelming theme while going down Downing was how, beyond the absence of the L line, how many underutilized parts there were. From the mostly parking lots of the shopping centers, to the field just north of 36th Ave, it seemed to me to be a place that can be a boon both for the businesses that exists along it, and any future businesses that decide to take up shop there. Perhaps this is why recently RiNo Art District started to circulate a petition advocating for its completion. Whatever the case, the L line remains an unfinished project of RTD, hopefully one that comes off the shelf soon.

Featured Image is a mural at 37th and Downing by Gamma. You can find Gamma’s art online here.

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

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