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trubador Mar 11, 2011 7:06 PM

I like the idea of a station at Broadway and I-25, and if they had designed the tracks a bit different a station at 1-70 and I-25 would have worked, but only if the gold line, nortwest line, north metro line and east corridor line all passed through or accessed the station. As of right now, it doesn't look like that is happening, so we can probably forget it.

Octavian Mar 11, 2011 11:15 PM

Here is a map of another idea for a way to get through service to Union Station

SnyderBock Mar 12, 2011 3:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Octavian (Post 5197242)

I think that's totally viable. It's only a matter of time before that stretch of I-25 will need to be completely rebuilt, anyway. Freight Rail bypass could be incorporated into the rebuilding of I-25 in some way. Even if it's only 1 or 2 tracks, it would divert enough freight traffic off the CML to at very least free up the 3rd track closest to the Light Rail platforms and there is space between the two for a future platform, especially on down towards 18th Street and under the 18th Street Pedestrian Bridge.

Wizened Variations Mar 12, 2011 3:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Octavian (Post 5197242)

Great idea! Snyderbock suggested this a while back, and, your graphics show the idea
well. I have been won over to this idea with a couple of caveats:

1) Having a twin heavy rail track platform immediately north of the light rail station AS WELL as the loop back into Union Station Heavy Rail might be even better. The option to loop around into Union Station via the DUS light expanded station would be very good for daily Amtrak style trains connecting Denver with Dallas and El Paso. Two heavy rail tracks built immediately north of the Light rail station would be best for commuter style trains connecting Denver with Colorado Springs where we might have 20 or more departures per day. This would serve to reduce cross rail traffic for the DUS Heavy Station

2) I also like the idea that the light rail itself might be extended in some kind of loop over the heavy rail tracks approaching DUS, or even looped north over I-25. (Here, of course, the planning gets far more difficult.)

I am suggesting that the DUS Light Station does not HAVE to be a stub station, either.

Imagine light rail carrying 25,000 riders per day into DUS Light Rail from the East approach, and, a similar number leaving east. The north end of the “I” station layout would truly start to function, with even a significant number of riders choosing the Union Station light rail line approach from the south to go through the station to the east and south?

We need to get the ROW soon…
:notacrook:

Wizened Variations Mar 12, 2011 4:03 AM

What changes would be needed at the DUS Light Station
 
In order to put a two track heavy platform here, you would have to remove the north track, and make an X between the south and middle tracks. Light rail storate would be reduced from approximately 20 cars to 10 or so.

bunt_q Mar 12, 2011 6:26 AM

It's too late to spend too much time digging through FRA regs, and I'm admittedly not familiar enough to point right at the section. But I know as a rule of thumb, anything you want to do (and moreso if it makes sense) that combines freight rail with any other mode is going to run into FRA headaches. You start talking about sandwiching freight rail operations into an existing interstate highway ROW through a built up urban area... not only am I sure the FRA would give you headaches, there's probably somebody in Washington having heart palpitations right now, thinking anybody would suggest something so audacious, even if only on an online forum.

Cirrus Mar 12, 2011 6:54 AM

Oh I dunno. Ever been to Richmond?

http://www.railpictures.net/images/d...1291493386.jpg
source: Loyd Lowry on RailPictures.net

That's I-195. A couple of miles up the road it goes through a neighborhood with about Wash Park level density. Not exactly downtown, but not exactly sparse either.

And let me throw out another example: In Baltimore freight trains are allowed to use the same tracks as the city's light rail at night when the light rail isn't running. Yes, I said light rail, not commuter rail. They use the same Seimens LRVs as Denver.

I'm not saying you might not get headaches from FRA, FHWA, FTA, and every other agency in Washington (except EPA of course, since they won't have the staff to review anything once the Tea Party is done with them). Just because it's been done elsewhere doesn't mean they'll let you do it again, as our Union Station underground platforms prove. But it can be done in principle.

Octavian Mar 12, 2011 2:53 PM

In terms of accessing platforms at the CML, you could modify the Millenium and the other pedestrian bridge (the name escapes me) over the CML and add stairs or escalators that connect directly onto the platforms.

Or you could build a pedestrian tunnel connecting to the ground floor of the unbuilt building at 16th street and Chestnut. It could function as a 2nd train hall, designed in an ultra modern style. I have updated the map to illustrate what I mean.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UT...,0.006931&z=17

wong21fr Mar 12, 2011 4:12 PM

You know, I like the idea of relocation, but I really like the idea of tunneling LRT eventually as well because you can run it THROUGH DT and get the distribution network that I think is lacking. The more and more transit is sighted at Union Station the greater the need is to distribute the passengers throughout the rest of DT.

Of course, the all goes back to having a third option for LRT in DT, the highly expensive Broadway corridor.

The fun thing, is that we could likely see a lot of this in our lifetimes. A lot of this could be son of FasTracks. But, wow, is that going to a big pill to swallow in terms of cost. Which is a good rational for whatever the tax increase is going to be asked for in 2012 to be permanent.

electricron Mar 12, 2011 4:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cirrus (Post 5197644)
Oh I dunno. Ever been to Richmond?

There are other cities around the country with trains in freeway medians, or in the middle of city streets.

Austin
http://i.ytimg.com/vi/Tg4Zww3KuVo/0.jpg

Santa Fe
http://www.geraldbrimacombe.com/Sout...ong%20I-25.jpg

Michigan City
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1233/...8bd38997b0.jpg

Los Angeles
http://laist.com/attachments/la_zach...-extension.jpg

I think I'll stop at this point, but I believe I have proved that the FTA, FRA, and FHA have no problems placing rail near autos.

bunt_q Mar 12, 2011 4:41 PM

Actually, you haven't proved anything. Except that if you want to put rail near autos, you'd better plan on a fairly land-hungry buffer.

I'll exclude the LA and Michigan City pictures, because those (at least the LA one) appear to be electrified passenger rail (light rail in the LA case), which probably don't interact with freight rail and thus would not be subject to FRA rules. I don't know about Michigan City...

The Richmond photo was perfect though. And the Austin and Santa Fe ones are good too. Those buffer zones, see them? Interestingly, they look very similar in all three photos. Could that be a regulatory standard? Probably so.

So on the Richmond photo (or which ever one you want), but Richmond's is the tightest fit by far... trying to eyeball it from the photo. It looks like the two-track freight ROW is taking up about an equivalent 4-land highway ROW. At least 70-feet, I'd say? Santa Fe and Austin there (both 1-trackers) don't seem to be getting any relief on the buffer zones. I'd guesstimate 50-feet or so?

I never said it wasn't possible anywhere. I was responding to a very specific proposal that Octavian posted. Going to borrow Ken's rendering for the 16th St Bridge and his photo (I can't find a photo off hand, I'm not home this weekend). Tell me - where are we going to put a freight bypass here that is going to keep the FRA happy? Find me 50-feet of ROW.

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d9...nd_bridge1.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d9...nd_bridge5.jpg

I suppose we could barricade off a segment for a single track and that might satisfy the regs... but is that really our easiest or best option? That's all I was saying. Of all the potential options for making passenger rail in/out of Union Station work, I think relocating the freight rail, especially to a busy tight corridor like this, is not going to be our best option.

EDIT: Looking again - those Austin and Santa Fe pics might not be freight rail either. Anybody know? The Santa Fe train at least looks like one that probably does interact with freight rail at some point, but new track, concrete ties, I don't know, maybe not?

Point is - and I'm not sure electricron knows this - not all trains are the same and/or play by the same rules. (Interesting about Baltimore, I didn't know that...those tracks must be seriously overdesigned for what the light rail would otherwise need.)

Octavian Mar 12, 2011 4:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bunt_q (Post 5197894)
Actually, you haven't proved anything. Except that if you want to put rail near autos, you'd better plan on a fairly land-hungry buffer.

I'll exclude the LA and Michigan City pictures, because those (at least the LA one) appear to be electrified passenger rail (light rail in the LA case), which probably don't interact with freight rail and thus would not be subject to FRA rules. I don't know about Michigan City...

The Richmond photo was perfect though. And the Austin and Santa Fe ones are good too. Those buffer zones, see them? Interestingly, they look very similar in all three photos. Could that be a regulatory standard? Probably so.

So on the Richmond photo (or which ever one you want), but Richmond's is the tightest fit by far... trying to eyeball it from the photo. It looks like the two-track freight ROW is taking up about an equivalent 4-land highway ROW. At least 70-feet, I'd say? Santa Fe and Austin there (both 1-trackers) don't seem to be getting any relief on the buffer zones. I'd guesstimate 50-feet or so?

I never said it wasn't possible anywhere. I was responding to a very specific proposal that Octavian posted. Going to borrow Ken's rendering for the 16th St Bridge and his photo (I can't find a photo off hand, I'm not home this weekend). Tell me - where are we going to put a freight bypass here that is going to keep the FRA happy? Find me 50-feet of ROW.

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d9...nd_bridge1.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d9...nd_bridge5.jpg

I suppose we could barricade off a segment for a single track and that might satisfy the regs... but is that really our easiest or best option? That's all I was saying. Of all the potential options for making passenger rail in/out of Union Station work, I think relocating the freight rail, especially to a busy tight corridor like this, is not going to be our best option.

EDIT: Looking again - those Austin and Santa Fe pics might not be freight rail either. Anybody know? The Santa Fe train at least looks like one that probably does interact with freight rail at some point, but new track, concrete ties, I don't know, maybe not?

Point is - and I'm not sure electricron knows this - not all trains are the same and/or play by the same rules.

That stretch between 15th St and 20th St is definitely the toughest one. Like I said in my original post, it would require a major reconstruction of this stretch, shifting I-25 west and use up the green areas on either side in Ken's diagram. But I don't know that it's more complicated than what was done with T-REX further south. A lane in each direction + light rail ROW. There were some pretty narrow spots.

It's just an idea. It very well may not be practical. It was merely a counter proposal to Cirrus original, since this would be primarily at grade without tunneling. Do you have any suggestions for adding capacity?

In terms of regulations, I don't know, but electricron is probably the person most familiar with these issues. Electricron, do you have any new information on alternate FRA Tier II compliance?

Myomi Mar 12, 2011 8:21 PM

The Austin line in question is freight and only freight...except for 1 Amtrak train a day. That is Union Pacific tracks, and it only runs in the median in the older part of the highway running close to downtown. The "newer" section of the highway has the rail on the east side of the highway.

Our poor excuse for metro rail uses another ROW that is actually owned by the city.

DenverInfill Mar 12, 2011 10:42 PM

I think this discussion is basically centered around a bunch of solutions in search of a problem. As SnyderBock and I have both stated, there is currently room next to the new light rail station in the CML ROW for additional passenger rail, plus there are two unassigned platforms at the new DUS commuter rail station for future passenger rail lines we haven't even planned for yet. Then, there's the very viable and logistically simple (i.e. relatively inexpensive) option of creating a second "Union Station" at I-25 and Broadway for anything needed beyond that.

Tunneling under Cherry Creek and other billion dollar schemes are fun to fantasize about in a SimCity kind of way, but in reality, when we don't even have enough money to complete FasTracks or launch a Denver-centric streetcar system, why are we debating solutions to a "problem" that we may not face for another generation or two for which there are several reasonably inexpensive solutions to anyway?

But I do enjoy the discussion, again, in a SimCity-esque way, but I hope you all are not actually stressing out about this issue or serious that we need to do something about it now because it's a crisis or something, because it isn't. I'm a planner, so I certainly support long-range planning, but at some point, you have to go with what you've got and recognize that the future will always present us with options and opportunities, including many that we cannot possible know about or understand today.

Pizzuti Mar 12, 2011 11:00 PM

I-25 and Broadway meaning down in Wash Park? Or up on 56th street where they intersect? I am assuming you're talking about the Wash Park area because it's closer to urban residential/retail but it's an awfully long way from Downtown.

Octavian Mar 12, 2011 11:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DenverInfill (Post 5198193)
I think this discussion is basically centered around a bunch of solutions in search of a problem. As SnyderBock and I have both stated, there is currently room next to the new light rail station in the CML ROW for additional passenger rail, plus there are two unassigned platforms at the new DUS commuter rail station for future passenger rail lines we haven't even planned for yet. Then, there's the very viable and logistically simple (i.e. relatively inexpensive) option of creating a second "Union Station" at I-25 and Broadway for anything needed beyond that.

Tunneling under Cherry Creek and other billion dollar schemes are fun to fantasize about in a SimCity kind of way, but in reality, when we don't even have enough money to complete FasTracks or launch a Denver-centric streetcar system, why are we debating solutions to a "problem" that we may not face for another generation or two for which there are several reasonably inexpensive solutions to anyway?

But I do enjoy the discussion, again, in a SimCity-esque way, but I hope you all are not actually stressing out about this issue or serious that we need to do something about it now because it's a crisis or something, because it isn't. I'm a planner, so I certainly support long-range planning, but at some point, you have to go with what you've got and recognize that the future will always present us with options and opportunities, including many that we cannot possible know about or understand today.

Ken, we're talking about it now because CDOT is preparing its state rail plan right now, where all these issues, freight rail, intercity passenger rail and its connectivity with Fastracks are being looked at at from the state level. The stub-end platforms may not be adequate, and there's no room at the CML unless the freight rail is relocated.

http://www.coloradodot.info/projects...reightRailPlan

SnyderBock Mar 13, 2011 1:40 AM

Maybe simply relocating just enough freight rail traffic to the eastern plains, to free up the 3rd track in the CML, would be all that's required. As far as I-25 and freight, because of restricted ROW, perhaps CDOT could look into trenching down the middle, laying freight track bypass (like Octavian was showing on his map) and then cover with traffic lanes? But yes, all these are decades out; 25-50 years.

TakeFive Mar 13, 2011 1:46 AM

Wow.... Didn't realize I'd been away so long. It took some effort to get caught up.....

......but that's because there was some good discussion and especially good comments.

I only have a few minutes before the Nuggets' game starts, so let me get started.

TakeFive Mar 13, 2011 1:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bunt_q (Post 5172124)
Two things here...

On your first point, I think they key thing is that RTD didn't plan to grade-separate a lot of these crossings (to save money, as with everything else in Fastracks), and Denver and Aurora are stepping in trying to find money to make it happen. Different governmental entities, different priorities. The better question is - what was RTD thinking? (I can tell you what they were thinking - they're on a tight budget, and the train comes first, so unless it's an absolute imperative, let the local governments deal with the negative impacts on local traffic.)

On the second point, what RTD puts out in a press release and what RTD staff says behind closed doors, or in a moment of honesty, are plainly two different things. Voters voted for two things - they voted for a proposed system, and they voted for a cap on permissible bonding to construct that system. The two cannot be separated. What the voters voted for is now impossible, so to say we have to get everything we voted for isn't an option. (I'll also point out - RTD put the proposed system out there as a carrot. That was a direct response to the criticisms that torpedoed Guide the Ride in 1997. But nothing that was actually on the ballot promised any particular line would get built. All of that was contingent on later planning processes.)

So, we go to another vote. If it passes, this discussion is pointless. But if the vote doesn't pass, then you can read that as the voters chose the $ bonding cap over the integrity of the complete system. That's the choice. So if it fails, and it very well could, we'll be looking at cutting things.

Waiting until 2060 isn't an option, because the Fastracks ballot language included both a percentage tax increase, and a cap on bonding. Without bonding, RTD would be stuck doing pay-as-you-go, and that would make it impossible to finish the system. To say nothing of the fact that the ballot language means once RTD's legal bonding authority is reached and repaid, the tax goes away.

It's not really time to discuss that yet, so it doesn't make press releases. And would be damaging to the efforts to finish Fastracks anyways, so why even go there. But every option now depends on an election. And if that goes badly, our discussion here becomes very relevant, very quickly.

In that case - if we end up making do with what we have, meaning, things have to be cut - I do not think the NW rail should be a priority. (The flipside of that is, in my opinion, the US36 BRT should be near the highest priority - it's about the best performing project in the system, certainly of the ones that are not funded.)

EDIT: Question... if push comes to shove... ignoring the issues with CDOT and getting funding for the highway bit... is there any reason we couldn't pursue New Starts funding for a real BRT system? Focus has been on the North Metro line being the next to go after a FFGA. But if the NW rail went away, at least for now, wouldn't that make a BRT system very attractive to the FTA? Or is there a built-in anti-BRT bias? I'm not familiar enough with the process to know.


:cheers: Awarded..... Best Damn Comment

TakeFive Mar 13, 2011 1:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cirrus (Post 5174793)

:cheers: Awarded... Most Tantalizing Visual


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