One of the most exciting and sometimes frustrating parts of living in a rapidly growing city like Denver is watching its infrastructure grow. Despite what seems like never-ending construction sometimes, there have been some very exciting moments in Denver public transportation growth and development. When RTD’s W Line opened in April of 2013, thousands of people turned out for the grand opening ceremony and free rides. When the A Line—the “Train to the Plane”—opened, 80,000 people rode it the first weekend.
All of the light rail excitement and growth is part of Denver’s FasTracks plan. By 2018, the plan will allow for better commutes to and from suburban areas, as well as to Boulder and the airport.
But as the rapid changes in Denver’s transit happen, it can be difficult to keep up with where you need to be and where to choose a place to live based on commute.
Here’s a quick guide to the present options and future changes that might impact where you live and how you commute.
If you’re located in Denver proper, as of 2016, you can take the light rail anywhere in the city and south, with Union Station as your hub. You can get limited access to the east and west via the light rail, and you can take the brand new Flatiron Flyer bus to Boulder or anywhere along 36 for $4.50 one way. Bus routes have changed in the city recently, but you can search RTD’s website for the best route if you intend to take a bus. Fare for local buses and the light rail is $2.25 each way. The notorious 15 Bus is the most central route in Denver, following Colfax across the city.
South Denver (Centennial, Littleton, Parker, Denver Tech Center, Lone Tree)
Denver’s FasTracks plan has southern light rail extensions scheduled for opening in 2019. As of now, your best bets for transit are the light rail stations with park and rides. Many people commute to the Broadway station as it provides the best parking and most options. Be aware about parking when you take the light rail as your local park and ride might require payment for out-of-county license plates.
East Denver (Aurora, Centennial)
While there is some limited light rail service to Aurora, the I-225 R Line is intended for completion in 2016 and will connect Aurora to Denver proper in a much more efficient way. For now, park and rides with current light rail lines are your best choice, especially to avoid the rush hour traffic on I-25 or I-70.
North Denver (Thornton, Westminster, Arvada)
For a long time, the northern suburbs were out-of-reach from most Denver public transit. Now, the Flatiron Flyer can connect those along the I-36 corridor to the city, and the FasTracks light rail extensions will connect Longmont, Thornton and other northern locations to Denver’s light trail system by 2018. For now, driving or the Flatiron Flyer are the best choices for commuting from the north.
With all of the growth Denver is seeing, there are going to be significantly more options for commuting from anywhere outside of the city itself. How do you currently commute? How will the upcoming change affect you? Leave a comment!