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TakeFive Jul 27, 2020 5:23 PM

Cirrus is known for his BRT Creep reference, but this would be more of a leap.

Pandemic Forces Austin And Capital Metro To Consider A Less Costly Start To Project Connect
JUL 22, 2020 By SAMUEL KING | KUT
Quote:

During a virtual community meeting, the city and Cap Metro unveiled a proposal that would fund $7 billion of the $10 billion plan with a timetable of 10 to 15 years.

The plan would still include the proposed Blue and Orange light rail lines and downtown transit tunnel, but the Gold Line would begin as a rapid bus line and be converted to a train line later. Only three new MetroRapid bus lines would be built at first, instead of the seven lines in earlier proposals.
They have also changed some of the routes.

Didn't know previously but they plan to raise property taxes for funding (as if property taxes in Texas were such a value)
Quote:

The $7 billion package would mean a potential tax rate increase of 8.5 cents, or $276 more a year on a property with a value of $325,000. It would mean $425 more a year for a home valued at $500,000.

The City Council will decide next month whether to place a tax rate election on the November ballot.

TakeFive Aug 4, 2020 7:28 PM

CDOT awards 6 cities with grants to revitalize main streets
Aug 3, 2020 by: Dara Bitler/KDVR
Quote:

CDOT says the $4.1 million initiative is providing financial assistance to communities seeking to make creative modifications to state roadways or other public spaces as a way of promoting social distancing and economic activity.
Grants have been given to Alamosa, Aspen, Littleton, Frisco, Silt and Oak Creek.

Small potatoes, yes, but for small communities it's greatly appreciated.
Quote:

CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “The program has additional capacity, so we encourage localities to take a look at other cities’ solutions and explore how these funds could benefit their own community.”

TakeFive Aug 27, 2020 11:04 PM

RTD Names Woman — Debra Johnson — To Lead Agency In Historic Decision
August 25, 2020 By Danielle Chavira -CBS4 Denver
Quote:

DENVER (CBS4) – RTD announced Tuesday night its board of directors named Debra Johnson as the agency’s next general manager and CEO. The choice comes after a months-long and nationwide search for a new leader.

Johnson is also the first woman to hold the position ever. She has 25 years experience as a transit executive, most recently as Deputy CEO at Long Beach Transit in Long Beach, California.
https://denver.cbslocal.com/wp-conte...credit-rtd.jpg
Photo courtesy RTD via CBS4

It sounds like RTD may not lose as much revenue as they had feared. Having already cut service by 40% it appears as though they may at least hold to that level of service.

TakeFive Aug 27, 2020 11:34 PM

https://townsquare.media/site/49/fil...jpg?w=980&q=75
Photo courtesy of Dave Jensen - Retro1025

After nearly 70 years, Fort Collins sees second restored streetcar on the tracks
July 4, 2020 - The Coloradoan
Quote:

This is the first time in almost 70 years that both of Fort Collins' restored street cars are operating on the same line since Fort Collins dismantled its streetcar system in 1951.
Lots of photos at the Coloradoan.

Fun video.

Brainpathology Sep 17, 2020 3:18 PM

I can't tell from reading the captions on the photos.. can someone please tell me how long it's been since these cars have been on the same line together?

BG918 Nov 11, 2020 11:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TakeFive (Post 8993184)
Cirrus is known for his BRT Creep reference, but this would be more of a leap.

Pandemic Forces Austin And Capital Metro To Consider A Less Costly Start To Project Connect
JUL 22, 2020 By SAMUEL KING | KUT

They have also changed some of the routes.

Didn't know previously but they plan to raise property taxes for funding (as if property taxes in Texas were such a value)

This passed last week in Austin. It will be one of the most ambitious transit projects for a city its size, similar to what Fastracks was back in 2004.

So we know RTD is a complete dumpster fire but what is next for transit in Denver? Colfax BRT? L Line extension from 30th & Downing to 38th & Blake? None of these are transformative for our city and region.

TakeFive Nov 12, 2020 2:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BG918 (Post 9103886)
This passed last week in Austin. It will be one of the most ambitious transit projects for a city its size, similar to what Fastracks was back in 2004.

I plum completely forgot about Austin's transit initiative.

The Good News is that they passed the ballot initiative; what's also good is that the increase in property tax (starting at ~$28/mo. for average homeowner) is permanent. The Bad News is that trying to unpack exactly what they're getting is no longer possible. The $7.1 billion figure is based on 45% FTA grant funding; otherwise they just build what they can.

Initial Investment
The Initial Investment includes 27 miles of rail service and 31 stations:

This includes phase one of the Orange line. Estimated cost at $2.5 billion which also includes costs for enhanced bus service at each end.

Intended to be built simultaneously, the Blue line will go to the airport. Estimated cost is $1.3 billion. This line is similar to RTD's R Line in that it will start at the north end of the Orange Line route before heading east to the airport. This hasn't worked so well in Denver but from downtown Austin it may not be so bad.

$2 billion has been allocated for a downtown tunnel running 1-1.5 miles.

It's Go Time

A lot of the previous details are no longer readily available. It's just as well as at this point the new property tax will fund the NEPA process for the Orange and Blue lines (etc.). This will include an up-to-date estimation of costs and various details. The Orange Line is a 'textbook' line and should have no problem qualifying for an FTA grant. The Blue Line however may have trouble meeting FTA standards. What they would choose to do in this case is TBD. Fair to say they have a long way to go. I wish them well.

For Comparison to RTD: per Wikipedia
Quote:

As of September 2020, the 113-mile (182 km) urban rail transit system includes 74 stations on 12 lines: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, L, N, R, and W.[1]

TakeFive Nov 12, 2020 3:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BG918 (Post 9103886)
So we know RTD is a complete dumpster fire but what is next for transit in Denver? Colfax BRT? L Line extension from 30th & Downing to 38th & Blake? None of these are transformative for our city and region.

Timely question as the DBJ recently ran an article relative to RTD's more immediate future.

New RTD leader addresses finances and route prioritization issues
Nov 9, 2020 By Ed Sealover – Senior Reporter, Denver Business Journal

Glossing over the needless rehash and getting down to current business:
Quote:

Johnson said several times during her inaugural media briefing that her decisions will be guided by a need to optimize the fleet and personnel that RTD has. That includes studying whether it has the optimal amount of trains ... and assessing the trade-offs between focusing service on subsidized transit-dependent riders and waning suburban riders who tend to pay 100% of their assessed fare-box costs.

That question is a key one for both downtown employers and those who have chosen to location along transit lines in suburban communities like Lone Tree. Such companies depend on RTD both to bring workers from lower-cost suburbs into the core urban area and to transport workers to more far-flung areas without forcing them into interstate traffic congestion — and in a time of budget cuts, such needs sometimes can be pitted against each other.
Tell us something compelling.
Quote:

“We do have different elements of service, and some of it is core service,” Johnson said. “I think what we need to do is assess the optimal service delivery model … to maximize the assets that we do have and to balance tradeoffs.”
Wow, now I'm excited; wait... what does this even mean?

TakeFive Nov 12, 2020 3:28 AM

Colfax BRT

PLANSIT is welcome to correct, clarify or even update us but AFAIK, the Colfax BRT is going through the final NEPA process to quality for an FTA grant which should be a no-brainer.

Towards this goal there was some money in the Elevate Denver Bond money for this.

I found an update as of Aug 13, 2020.

https://www.denvergov.org/content/de...olfax-brt.html
Quote:

DENVER - The City and County of Denver is taking important steps forward on its Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, which will help move more people, more efficiently on East Colfax Avenue. Denver has selected Parsons Transportation Group to complete the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and preliminary design for the project following an evaluation of proposals that were submitted by shortlisted consultants this spring. The City will now enter negotiations with the consultant and expects to bring a contract to Denver City Council for approval this fall.

To date, Denver has secured $55M in funds for the East Colfax BRT through the Elevate Denver Bond Program...
The City of Denver is primarily responsible for funding the this project and whatever additional monies needed have not been identified. I suspect an additional $50 million plus in funding will be needed.

PLANSIT Nov 12, 2020 4:34 AM

As mentioned, Colfax BRT is moving through preliminary engineering and environmental clearance to compete for FTA Small Starts funding.

Next in line is probably Federal Boulevard which is currently in Alternatives Analysis and conceptual design phase. Next step would be Design/NEPA, but no funding is currently identified for that phase.

Both are CCD efforts, but are in RTD’s Regional BRT Feasibility Study.

BG918 Nov 13, 2020 3:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PLANSIT (Post 9104102)
As mentioned, Colfax BRT is moving through preliminary engineering and environmental clearance to compete for FTA Small Starts funding.

Next in line is probably Federal Boulevard which is currently in Alternatives Analysis and conceptual design phase. Next step would be Design/NEPA, but no funding is currently identified for that phase.

Both are CCD efforts, but are in RTD’s Regional BRT Feasibility Study.

So no new rail lines even in discussion for the near or distant future? As much as I'd like to see an intercity line I don't see the political will for it with the current state of affairs at RTD.

TakeFive Nov 20, 2020 8:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BG918 (Post 9105089)
So no new rail lines even in discussion for the near or distant future? As much as I'd like to see an intercity line I don't see the political will for it with the current state of affairs at RTD.

There's always things being planned... but yeah, in the near term it's hard to see funding intercity rail.

FWIW:

Pelosi's $3.4 Trillion Dem Heroes Act was substantially designed to rescue Blue State urban centers. Republicans laughed.

Presently, Transit systems are a financial 'train wreck' - especially in NE cities. With Denver RTD, at least they have the ability to right-size the service.

LooksLikeForever Nov 30, 2020 10:05 PM

Does anyone have any insight into if or when RTD will restore regular intervals on lines like the G and B lines? According to an article posted on April 8th (https://www.denverpost.com/2020/04/0...ovid-b-g-line/), RTD dropped its headways to 30 minutes from 15 minutes prior to the pandemic on the B and G line. The A line to the airport apparently still runs at 15 minutes.

I understand the difficult position that RTD is in with the pandemic: lower ridership and subsequently lower revenue. It's a vicious cycle.

However, I am currently looking to buy a home in a transit-oriented development along the G line. Part of their marketing material for the new development heavily features the proximity to the train, and thus, the proximity to downtown and beyond. However, in my mind I have some long-term concerns about the viability of the commuter lines. Nobody knows how the pandemic will reshape the workforce (more work from home meaning less people commuting in general? Will offices move out of downtown and spread out in the metro area?).

I guess I'm just trying to think 5-10 years down the line and whether living in a transit-oriented development basically across the street from a station will be worth the 'premium'. I enjoy taking the train whenever I can, but I haven't done it much in 2020 for obvious reasons. Is it possible that any of these commuter or light rail lines would be decommissioned? We already know that the R line had service cuts due to low ridership, but at what point could RTD just eliminate a line entirely for low ridership? I suspect ridership will take years to recover from the pandemic, if ever.

Does anyone have any insight from RTD on this, or any comments on my specific situation?

TakeFive Dec 1, 2020 9:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LooksLikeForever (Post 9120921)
Does anyone have any insight into if or when RTD will restore regular intervals on lines like the G and B lines? According to an article posted on April 8th (https://www.denverpost.com/2020/04/0...ovid-b-g-line/), RTD dropped its headways to 30 minutes from 15 minutes prior to the pandemic on the B and G line. The A line to the airport apparently still runs at 15 minutes.

I understand the difficult position that RTD is in with the pandemic: lower ridership and subsequently lower revenue. It's a vicious cycle.

Over the long term that G Line will be golden. bunt assured me of this a few years ago and I always trust bunt.

As a personal anecdote I'm ready and waiting for my first vaccine shot in January with the booster coming in February. That puts me on a schedule to be out doing rideshare hopefully by the end of February. I can't tell you how ready I am to get out of the damn house and I assume this applies to the rest of the population as well. By 2022, I expect to be meeting and chatting with people from all over the U.S. and the world.

With respect to rail transit, RTD has over a $5 billion investment and a rail specific tax to pay for this so no, rail will never be de-commissioned. I look for rail to ultimately thrive alongside more urban bus routes.

TakeFive Dec 1, 2020 9:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LooksLikeForever (Post 9120921)
However, I am currently looking to buy a home in a transit-oriented development along the G line. Part of their marketing material for the new development heavily features the proximity to the train, and thus, the proximity to downtown and beyond. However, in my mind I have some long-term concerns about the viability of the commuter lines. Nobody knows how the pandemic will reshape the workforce (more work from home meaning less people commuting in general? Will offices move out of downtown and spread out in the metro area?).

I guess I'm just trying to think 5-10 years down the line and whether living in a transit-oriented development basically across the street from a station will be worth the 'premium'. I enjoy taking the train whenever I can, but I haven't done it much in 2020 for obvious reasons. Is it possible that any of these commuter or light rail lines would be decommissioned? We already know that the R line had service cuts due to low ridership, but at what point could RTD just eliminate a line entirely for low ridership? I suspect ridership will take years to recover from the pandemic, if ever.

Does anyone have any insight from RTD on this, or any comments on my specific situation?

Couple of market related guesses.

Your point about work-from-home is fair although I wouldn't be overly concerned about this. While there may be a new enthusiasm for development in the suburbs I don't see it hurting downtown - perhaps a little at the margin in the near term. Then there's this:

Census survey shows 184,000 Arizona families fear losing their homes in near future
NOV 25, 2020
Quote:

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A survey based on Census data shows many Arizonans fear losing their homes in the very near future... The results show more than 10% of Arizonans are not current on their rent or mortgage payments and have little confidence they can pay up next month. Of that 10%, 40% of them believe they will get kicked out of their homes in the next two months. That translates into 184,000 Arizonans.
I couldn't say what Denver will experience but the percentages could certainly be similar.

It's also hard to say how disruptive this may be to the market. It could have a moderating affect on values. It may be best to wait a few months to see how the pending pandemic repercussions play out. That said, I wouldn't expect any dramatic changes so consider your own personal circumstances as well as specific market conditions where you are interested in buying. It's also possible for foreclosure opportunities to pop up where you are looking.


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