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Oct 2015-Jan 2016 Quarterly Newsletter

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Eagle P3 Project Quarterly Newsletter - October 2015-January 2016

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Commuter rail vehicle traveling along the University of Colorado A Line over Sand Creek between the Central Park and Peoria stations.
Commuter rail vehicle traveling along the University of Colorado A Line over Sand Creek between the Central Park and Peoria stations.

Airport commuter rail officially named

The University of Colorado (CU) and the Regional Transportation District (RTD) are partnering to name RTD's A Line, a commuter rail service from Denver's Union Station to Denver International Airport. In October, RTD announced the line will open to the public on April 22, 2016.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with the University of Colorado for this first contract through our corporate partnership program," said Chuck Sisk, RTD Board Chair. "We believe that branded sponsorship is an emerging marketplace with many valuable opportunities for the local and national business communities."

The rail will be named University of Colorado (CU) A Line. The agreement covers the CU naming and logo on RTD digital and print materials for the A Line.

CU will also advertise on RTD's new Flatiron Flyer, a bus rapid transit (BRT) service along U.S. 36 between Union Station and Boulder. The service is scheduled to launch in January 2016.

The naming rights agreement is part of the university's local, national and international branding efforts. Through this campaign, CU seeks to publicize all four campuses, including flagship CU-Boulder, Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CU-Denver and CU-Colorado Springs.

"The University of Colorado is excited to partner with RTD on this initiative that brings together the state's leading public higher education institution with the crown jewel of the largest and newest public transportation project in the United States," Bruce Benson, president of the university said in a CU news release. "CU is kicking off a major marketing initiative next month and the University of Colorado A Line and Flatiron Flyer will be important parts of the effort."

The partnership contract extends $5 million to RTD over the next five years, with the option to be extended an additional five years.

This is the first naming rights agreement under RTD's corporate sponsorship program and the first for the new transit lines that open in 2016. With this RTD board-approved program, businesses and organizations can market their brands throughout the Denver area, allowing them to connect with riders of one of top transit systems in the nation.

Get more information about the corporate partnership program here. Learn more about FasTracks commuter rail services.



Train Testing on the A Line
Commuter rail trains testing at the Peoria Station in Aurora in October 2015

The trains keep chugging along!

RTD and DTP continue robust testing of the University of Colorado (CU) A Line, the commuter rail line that will travel between Union Station and Denver International Airport.

Scheduled to open April 22, 2016, the CU A Line will see trains running at a regular basis prior to opening for service.

Currently, the testing staff operates the trains at up to 79 miles per hour along the line - the maximum speed at which the trains will travel.

During the routine test runs, the gate arms at the crossings will generally come down for about 2-3 minutes. For safety reasons, the gate arms may stay down for longer in order to ensure safe passage of the trains at roadway and pedestrian crossings.

The public is asked to remain patient and only cross the tracks when it is safe to proceed on designated roadways and walkways.

Additionally, operators are undergoing classroom training to learn about operating one of the new commuter rail trains.

"Behind the wheel" operator training will occur later this year in order to familiarize the new operators with the CU A Line and the appropriate speeds to travel at different segments of the line. This will also allow the vehicle burn-in period to occur, or reaching 1,000 miles of testing, prior to opening to the public.

With spring 2016 a short time away, the frequency of trains running along the line will increase as we prepare for opening day.

In 2016, similar testing procedures will occur on the Gold (G) Line and the Northwest Rail (B) Line Westminster Segment. Both are scheduled to open in 2016 as well.

During testing and into regular service, it is imperative that the public remember to stay safe around train tracks. Find safety information and resources here.



Public tour of Eagle P3 project
Attendees of the CU A Line bus tour learn about the project and construction details

Public bus tours come to a successful close

The public bus tours for the University of Colorado A Line to Denver International Airport and Gold (G) Line/Northwest Rail (B) Line to Arvada, Wheat Ridge and Westminster have come to a close for the year, but not without resounding success. This season, 18 tours were held and more than 500 attendees had a chance to see the new commuter rail lines up close before they open for service next year.

The two-hour bus tours followed the alignment the commuter rail trains will take and pointed out the various stations and RTD Park-n-Ride locations. Participants also learned about the new commuter rail cars in detail and saw firsthand various improvements for added accessibility such as new sidewalks, which the project brings to some of the station areas.

Commuter rail trains are currently under testing and commissioning for the University of Colorado A Line, in preparation for opening day on April 22, 2016.
Public Bus Tours Come to a Successful Close

Participants on the Gold (G) Line/ Northwest Rail (B) Line Tour saw progress leading to opening day in Fall 2016, including completion of work at stations and the overhead power system, which will soon power the commuter rail trains for testing on these corridors.

Tours are still available for the commuter rail maintenance facility (CRMF), where the vehicles for the University of Colorado A Line, Gold (G) Line/ Northwest Rail (B) Line, and North Metro Rail Line will be stored, maintained and operated from. The tours of the commuter rail maintenance facility, located in northwest Denver occur the first and third Tuesday of each month from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information or to reserve a space on the CRMF tour, contact Joshua Solis at or 303-297-5284.



RTD service change process underway

Every year in January, May, and August, RTD introduces bus and light rail service modifications to help enhance service for passengers and enable better connections with bus, light rail and specialty services.

These changes are based on traffic pattern studies, ridership, economic factors, and community feedback as we strive to create the best-possible transit experience.

With the introduction of bus rapid transit (BRT), commuter rail and additional light rail services in 2016, RTD will be implementing multiple changes. The 23-mile University of Colorado A Line will open in spring of next year, and will travel between Union Station and Denver International Airport with six stations along the way.

With the opening of a train service, bus service will be impacted.

Service changes are proposed for Routes 6, 19, 24, 28, 32, 34, 37, 38, 40, 42, 43, 44, 45, 47, 54, 65, 73, 121, 153, 169L, 410, 483, 47x, AF, AS and AT.

These service changes may include changes to existing schedules and frequencies, or could include the discontinuation, merging or creation of routes.

The public is highly encouraged to participate in this process. Get more information on service changes here.



Photos: Eagle P3 project station art

 



Wheat Ridge ● Ward Station brings neighborhood improvements

Wheat Ridge-Ward Station construction
Construction continues at the Wheat Ridge • Ward Station as the G Line heads toward opening day in 2016

If you have been watching construction progress at the stations that will serve the University of Colorado A Line, Gold (G) Line and Northwest Rail (B) Line to Westminster, you may have noticed some of the accessibility and infrastructure improvements that come with the installation of new stations.

Neighbors of the Wheat Ridge ● Ward Station, located just east of Ward Road and 50th Avenue in the City of Wheat Ridge have had a front-row view of the most prevalent changes on the Gold (G) Line. Historically best known for the candy aroma from the nearby Jolly Rancher factory, which closed years ago, the area is now home of the end of the line station for the Gold (G) Line.

Before the first train pulls into the station with passengers, Denver Transit Partners (DTP), the constructors of the Gold (G) Line, will have constructed a new Park-n-Ride (PnR) for the station, which will replace the existing RTD PnR currently located at Ward Road and I-70. The new PnR will have 290 surface parking spaces on opening day, with plans to expand to 440 spaces by the year 2030.

In addition, three access points will be added to the Wheat Ridge ● Ward Station:
  • East entrance - Ridge Road just west of Tabor Street will be extended to connect the roadway to the east side of the station
  • West entrance - at 50th Avenue for access via Ward Road
  • North entrance - Additional vehicle and pedestrian access will be added from the north side of the PnR through the extension of Taft Court just south of 52nd Avenue
As part of the roadway extensions for the new entrances, traffic signals will be installed at intersections, as well as improvements of new curbs and sidewalks leading into the stations for better and easier pedestrian access.

The Gold (G) Line is scheduled to open in Fall 2016 and will offer a 26-minute ride between the Wheat Ridge ● Ward Station and Union Station in Downtown Denver. See information about G Line stations here.

To learn more about plans for the area around the Wheat Ridge ● Ward Station, visit the City of Wheat Ridge website.



Eagle P3 Open House
Left: RTD Director Barbara Deadwyler and RTD Interim General Manager and CEO Dave Genova perform a ribbon cutting for the Central Park Station Park-n-Ride. Right: Event attendees mingle and enjoy refreshments while learning about the CU A Line.

Final CU A Line open house a success!

As the University of Colorado A Line heads toward opening day on April 22, 2016, RTD and DTP hosted the project's final open house at the Central Park Station Park-n-Ride on Saturday, Sept. 26. The open house was attended by more than 650 members of the community.

The festivities were kicked off by RTD Director Barbara Deadwyler and RTD Interim General Manager and CEO Dave Genova as they held a ribbon cutting for the brand new Park-n-Ride and bus transfer facility, which opened publicly on Sept. 13. RTD Directors Tom Tobiassen and Paul Solano, and State Representative Angela Williams were also in attendance.

With construction winding down and the project heading toward the opening of the University of Colorado A Line, the open house focused on the testing and commissioning process, safety around the new rail lines, how to access and utilize stations, the fares to utilize the system and how bus routes will change along the line.

Also, crossing simulation built by RTD's body shop was on-site to show those in attendance how to successfully cross the rail lines at roadways or station platforms.

For additional information on the University of Colorado A Line Open House, please follow this link.



Economic impacts continue to soar

The Eagle P3 project continues to have strong impact on the city by contributing more than $1.319 billion to the local economy, as of September 2015.

As the project draws nearer to opening day, there will be a decrease in project staffing requirements, but the project is still employing 1,120 people, adding even more value to economy by putting people to work.

With more than 6,900 employees having worked on the project to date, RTD and its contractor are extremely pleased to have provided contracting and job opportunities for various organizations and individuals over the last five years, exceeding 625 firms.

RTD's operating and maintenance contractor, Denver Transit Operators (DTO), a part of the Denver Transit Partners team, is in full swing with a hiring expectation of 230 people. DTO will provide the operations and maintenance of the commuter rail system for 29 years once the design and construction phase is complete. Please visit the Denver Transit Partners website for a listing of current career and contracting opportunities.

Current economic impacts
  • DTP wages paid: $219 million
  • Equipment, services and supplies: $537 million
  • Subcontractors: $563 million




Eagle P3 progress photos

 



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