Engaging RTD’s southeast area

Gary Lasater Guest columnist
Posted

When I ran for the Regional Transportation District board last year, I committed to hold meetings throughout RTD District G. I am fulfilling that commitment, having held a town hall meeting in Parker on June 26, where nearly 40 citizens attended.

Having served in public office for nearly 17 years in Parker, first as mayor then as councilmember, I understand the importance of the interaction between RTD and our citizens. Since being on the RTD board, I have a better sense of the agency’s inner workings. I felt by hosting the town hall meeting, we could better determine the issues residents care about. It’s important to have an ongoing dialogue about RTD services and let people know they can contact me with comments or concerns. I can’t promise I will be able to fix all issues, but I will definitely try to improve things.

At the meeting, RTD staff provided updates on the P route bus service as well as proposed annexation for areas contiguous to the district that want to be in the service area. I heard from riders that they want more RTD services. In fact, the Town of Parker developed a program to provide free Call-n-Ride services this summer to help boost ridership. This is in hopes of retaining current bus service and making a case for expanded transit services in the future.

FasTracks, RTD’s voter-approved transit expansion program, was also discussed. The program will build 122 miles of rail, 18 miles of bus rapid transit service, add 21,000 parking spaces, redevelop Denver Union Station and redirect bus service to better connect the eight-county Denver metro region. I supported the FasTracks program from the beginning and was involved in the Metro Mayors Caucus to help pass this transit investment.

Riders in this area will benefit from an extension of the Southeast Rail Line, which will connect the most southern edge of District G to the entire region. The project will add three stations to the existing line, at Sky Ridge Medical Center, Lone Tree City Center and RidgeGate Parkway. This project was recently accepted into the federal grant funding process, which doesn’t yet secure federal funds, but is an important step in determining if the Southeast Extension remains a good candidate for federal funds. Also, residents will be able to travel on one train from Lincoln Station, and eventually from the RidgeGate Parkway Station, via the I-225 Rail Line to the Peoria Station to connect to the train to the airport in 2016.

I’m pleased to report that RTD is making significant progress on the entire FasTracks program. The West Rail Line to Golden opened in April. Meanwhile, construction is advancing on Denver Union Station, the East Line to Denver International Airport, the Gold Line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge, the first segment of the Northwest Rail Line to south Westminster and the I-225 line.

In order to keep dialogue going, I would like to host meetings twice a year. This will give me a better sense of the issues and I’ll do what I can to benefit my district.

Email your comments and questions to Gary.Lasater@rtd-denver.com. For information visit www.rtd-denver.com.

Gary Lasater is an RTD board director representing District G, which includes all of Lone Tree and Foxfield; portions of Aurora, Centennial and Parker; and portions of unincorporated Arapahoe and Douglas counties (including Meridian Village).

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