January 23, 2020

Golden Companies Win Awards, and a FasTracks Train Test on the West Corridor

RTD photo.

Mayor Sloan wrote about a few things of interest in her newsletter on Friday:

  • Kudos to ERA and PharmaJet, two Golden-based companies that were recognized with Industry Awards by the Jefferson County Economic Development Commission.
  • The Golden Public Library’s One Book, One Golden program featuring the Craig Barnes book “Growing Up True: Lessons of a Western Boyhood.”
  • A shout-out to city staff by 3GL.
  • The first test run of a light rail train car on the West Corridor.

Check out Marjorie’s website for the full update (and photos of the light rail car!).

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).

West Corridor and FasTracks Update

West Corridor bridge over 6th Avenue at Indiana (RTD Photo)

RTD and some of the polling folks involved with FasTracks provided an in-depth briefing yesterday morning at the Metro Mayors Caucus meeting.  The FasTracks construction update is very encouraging: 48 miles of new rail lines now under construction, 8 projects under way, and the West Corridor to Golden is 75% complete.


The update on the latest public opinion research is even more interesting.  Some key findings:

  1. Mass transit and FasTracks remain very popular with voters.
  2. Voters really seem to get the value of a full buildout of FasTracks system, including the DIA line.  This is true even among people who themselves aren’t frequent travelers and won’t themselves use FasTracks.
  3. Voters blame the FasTracks budget challenges on the economy; they don’t blame RTD.
  4. Public support for a tax increase to complete the FasTracks buildout increased as the size of the potential tax increase grew.  In other words support for a 4/10 of a penny increase in the FasTracks tax was substantially greater than support for a 3/10 of a penny increase, which was itself substantially more than support for 2/10, and so on.  In fact, support for no tax increase was about 35% (and opposition to not increasing the tax was about 65%).  With respect to FasTracks, Denver Metro voters really value time (the length of time before the system is built out), even more than money (the amount of the tax increase).

RTD will make a decision soon about how much of a tax increase they will ask the voters to approve to complete buildout of the FasTracks system, so expect to see a lot of media coverage over the next couple of months.

The Denver Post has a story on that meeting.  This is one of those where the story isn’t quite accurate (MMC actually didn’t make a decision because we act on consensus and clearly didn’t have that, especially with the Littleton mayor), but the characterization of the gist was probably fair (most of the mayors expressed support for 4% because it means the system gets built out so much quicker and because voter support seems so much higher with that proposal than with lower proposals).