on November 24, 2016 by in Golden News, Comments Off on Disappointment over Gold Line delay

Disappointment over Gold Line delay

The 11-mile Gold Line commuter rail connecting Denver Union Station to Wheat Ridge, via Arvada and Adams County, was expected to be completed this fall, but RTD officials now say it won’t open until next year.

“Everyone is anxious to get this resolved, but considering what needs to be done, it’s not going to be by the end of the year,” said Natalie Menten, RTD director for district M, which includes Lakewood, Wheat Ridge and part of Arvada.

The G Line is being built and managed by Denver Transit Partners, which has been under fire for its handling of the University of Colorado A Line to Denver International Airport.

RTD had initially set an opening date for some time in October, then announced it hoped to open the line by Dec. 20. On Nov. 21, the organization officially announced that the line would not open until some time in 2017.

The problems stem from a software glitch that causes the crossing arms at at-grade crossings to come down too early and stay down too long.

“With that happening, the fear is that people will start to ignore the crossing and go around unless there is someone there,” Menten said, adding that it’s a safety concern.

Currently, the RTD A Line, which opened in April, and the B Line to Westminster, which opened in July, are operating on a waiver from the Federal Railroad Administration. Flaggers, who are paid by the contractor, are stationed at the crossings to ensure public safety. These lines are on waiver through February, while the software glitch is worked out.

However, Debra Baskett, senior transportation and mobility planner for Westminster, said they haven’t had any customer complains about how the B Line runs.

“We’ve been lucky because a lot of people are riding the train,” Baskett said. “We’re really excited about it becuase our vision of Westminster is that we’re an urban center.”

The G Line will not open until the A Line and B Line are fixed, Menten said. And that urban center is something Arvada wants to create as well.

“I’m disappointed that they haven’t worked out the problems with the gate crossings because the city has worked very hard to uphold our end of the bargain to have the transit hub ready,” said Arvada Mayor Marc Williams. “I’m also disappointed for the merchants of Olde Town because they are looking forward to the positive impacts of the commuter rail coming to Arvada.”

Most of all, Williams said he is disappointed for the residents who won’t have access to the train until 2017.

But despite the disappointments, Williams agrees that public safety should be the number one priority.

“Although I’m frustrated by the delays, it’s more important that Denver Transit Partners and RTD get it right so that public safety is maintained.”

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