March 20, 2019

Keeping “Golden” in Our New Light Rail Station Name

The Jeffco end-of-line station (RTD photo).

I come across a lot of head-scratchers, but this one stands out. The Jefferson County Commissioners are insisting on naming the new light rail station “Jefferson County Government Center,” and are refusing to discuss any possible alternatives. I’m not a marketing person, but it seems to me that “government center” just isn’t a very effective marketing approach, and that anyone using the light rail station to get to the Jeffco campus will easily figure out which line and which stop they need, regardless of what the station name is. But the station serves much more than just the Taj; it also serves Colorado School of Mines, MillerCoors, downtown Golden, other Golden neighborhoods, and other portions of unincorporated Jefferson County. The station name ought to be much more focused on helping to draw visitors to all of those other locations.

The RTD board will make the final decision on May 17, and the RTD staff is recommending “Jefferson County Government Center – Golden Station.” It’s not a great name, but it is a lot better than the county’s choice and at least it is much more fair to Golden (and Golden has contributed a great deal to the project). The Golden City Council sent a letter to the RTD Board expressing our support for their staff recommendation.

What can you do? First, send an email to Golden’s two RTD board representatives, Lorraine Anderson (lorraine.anderson@rtd-denver.com) and Matt Cohen (matt.cohen@rtd-denver.com). Lorraine (who represents most of Golden) told me she is planning to support the county’s proposal (i.e., I believe she opposes including “Golden” in the name). Matt (who represents a small portion of southern Golden) is supporting the staff recommendation (i.e., including “Golden”). Second, send an email to the county commissioners (fgriffin@jeffco.us, drosier@jeffco.us, jodom@jeffco.us).

Please be polite and respectful, but you can clearly express your preference and ask that they think about the long-term benefit to everyone if we use a name that includes Golden, in addition to the simple issue of fairness.

Finally, if you are able, you can attend the RTD board meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17. I believe the meeting is at the RTD building in LoDo (1600 Blake St. right next to the Market Street Station).

The Skinny on EcoPasses

Photo by flickr user writRHET.

I’ve heard more queries lately about starting an RTD EcoPass program in Golden, and Rick Muriby at the city’s planning department (and our transit point person) provided the following low-down. It more-or-less boils down to an individual neighborhood having a high enough participation rate that the numbers work out, and that’s probably going to be pretty tough to pull off now but it might start to look more promising when the light rail and our own new community bus come online in 2013.

Rick’s info:

The City has begun looking into the Neighborhood EcoPass program, and staff’s thinking has been that this may be a great initiative for some areas of town once the light rail station and the proposed circulator service (which now has committed funding) begin operation in May 2013.

I’ve talked to representatives at RTD who manage the program and it’s been successful in several neighborhoods in Boulder where a high percentage of neighbors opt in and reduce the cost for all. RTD requires that an HOA or the City sponsor the program for a given neighborhood and that a “NECO Contract” be signed. A survey is then given by RTD to determine the level of interest in paying into a Neighborhood EcoPass, and the results of the survey are used to determine the pricing scheme.
Here are the steps:

  • Either county / city government entity or HOA must be involved
  • Either county / city government entity or HOA must sign a NECO Contract
  • Survey must be taken
  • Survey determines the price

The main point I took away was that this is a great deal if a neighborhood can generate a high participation rate, which is generally dependent on whether or not the area is already served well with transit options.

Golden Secures Federal Funding: Pedestrian Bridge Over U.S. 6 and Golden’s New Community Bus

Looking across U.S. 6 at the new under-construction light rail station from the Golden Ridge side.


The construction site at the Jefferson County building: the new light rail line and station.


Some really terrific news that would have been easy to miss during the Indian Gulch Fire last week: Golden secured federal funding for two extremely important community projects. The first of those is our new Golden community bus. We’ve been working for a couple of years now on a plan to launch a new circulator bus in Golden. Our highest priority is to connect the light rail station at the Taj with downtown Golden, but our vision is that over time we’ll be able to connect all of our neighborhoods, our schools, and our community facilities like the Community Center. This federal funding – $1,237,000 – is incredibly helpful, and we’ll be able to pool it with funding from RTD, Colorado School of Mines, and the city to operate the bus service for a three-year trial period starting in 2013 when the light rail opens.

We also secured $1,220,000 in federal funding for a new pedestrian bridge over U.S. 6 at the new light rail station. In other words, if you live in Golden Ridge, Golden Terrace. Stonebridge, Eagle Ridge, Heritage Dells, or anywhere else near Heritage Road, you will be able to walk or bike to the new light rail station without having to cross U.S. 6. That will make your journey much safer, quicker, and more pleasant. You’ll be able to easily walk to the light rail station and catch the train to work, the ballgame, or whatever else you might head into Denver for. You can ride your bike, lock it at the station, ride the light rail, and then grab your bike when you return. Or, as some Heritage Dells folks I met with this morning pointed out, you can ride your bike into Denver (downhill) and catch the light rail back to Golden (uphill). We’ll match the federal funding with $750,000 from RTD and $300,000 from the city.

The funding is allocated through the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG). Councilor Marjorie Sloan and I represent Golden at DRCOG, and we’ve been working hard for months, along with city staff, to include the dollars for our two projects in this round of funding allocations. I’m really pleased we were able to pull it of.

West Corridor Light Rail Construction Update

The latest update from RTD on West Corridor light rail construction between the Taj and the Federal Center:

  • Work on walls and drainage continues near I-70.
  • Light rail bridge construction (pouring piers, footing work, and deck pours) is taking place on both sides of Indiana Street at 6th Avenue. Crews have stripped the wood forms from the north side of the bridge to expose the concrete setting of the bridge and begin the post-tensioning process between two spans of the bridge.  The wood forms will be placed on the south side to begin pouring there. The 6th Avenue eastbound on-ramp from Indiana will close March 16, 17 and 18 during nighttime hours.
  • Crews continue working on the bridge over Colfax.  They anticipate pouring the deck of the bridge within the next two weeks.
  • Ulysses Street in Golden is closed from 6th Avenue north to Mt. Vernon Road to raise the street and install retaining walls. Improvements to the Lena Gulch on Ulysses at 6th Avenue will be winding down soon.  Retaining wall construction could begin within the next few weeks.
  • Work at the Jefferson County Government Center including excavation and retaining wall construction has begun. The current bike path has been detoured down Johnson Road to Jefferson County Parkway.
  • Wall construction on the south side of 6th Avenue west of Simms/Union is near completion.  Excavation and wall construction on the north side of 6th Avenue from Indiana to Colfax is on-going.
  • Construction of the tunnel under Simms/Union will begin this week with the removal of the center median from 4th Avenue to 6th Avenue.  Once the median has been removed, crews will work nighttime hours to build the bridge support under the roadway.