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myshtern Apr 30, 2008 6:31 PM

DENVER | Transportation Thread
 
I havent heard anything about the light rail in a while. Any updates? When will things start rolling for the westward lines and union station?

blm3034L!fe Apr 30, 2008 6:42 PM

They have Billions of dollars and until 2017 / 2018? It's been almost 2 years already and not a damn thing yet!!!

I'd say maybe in 2010 you "MIGHT" see something start up? "MIGHT" being the Key word. :notacrook:

GOD I wish Union Staion Partners would have been the chosen team, this is one of the most frustrating things taking place in this City. Or lack there of! It's a damn good thing there is 15+ Cranes in the City other wise I guarantee you every Denver forumer would be BITCHING about Union Station Daily!!! :hell:

DenverInfill Apr 30, 2008 7:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by myshtern (Post 3521070)
I havent heard anything about the light rail in a while. Any updates? When will things start rolling for the westward lines and union station?

Construction on the West Corridor has recently started. Great progress has been made on the Union Station plan. After several years of refining the master plan and finding a way to overcome a $300 million funding gap, the partner agencies and the master developer have finally achieved a fundable/buildable design and have a signed agreement. The final EIS reflecting the revised plan is going through the process and a Record of Decision should be issued this fall. Meanwhile, design for the whole DUS project will be at 30% by August. In May, the consultant to design the public spaces will be selected. Construction on the first "wing" building next to DUS, as well as the Wynkoop Plaza, will start in January 2009. Construction of transit elements will begin in November/December on the new light rail station, which will be completed by Fall 2009. Once the new light rail station opens, then the existing light rail station will be immediately demolished and construction will begin on the underground bus terminal and commuter rail station.

HigherHigher Apr 30, 2008 7:02 PM

They have been doing quite a bit work in the past two years, but it is not neccessiraly all visible work to you and I.

West corridor:
• In early 2007, the West Corridor project team conducted an internal Value Engineering (VE) exercise to look at ways the project could be more efficient and cost-effective. As a result, FTA requested that an Environmental Assessment (EA) be completed to fully identify and document any impacts of VE.
• By July 2007, final design reached 65 percent.
• In summer 2007, removal of the old rail along the corridor was completed and utility relocation began.
• RTD issued a Draft EA for public comment in fall 2007. A Finding of No Signifi cant Impact decision from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)
was received in November 2007, with the Final EA issued in late 2007.
• Major construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2008 with the line opening in 2013. (There was an article in the Post regarding the Kipling Street Light Rail bridge as one of the first to get underway)

Union Station:
Work is still being done on the Environmental Impact Statement and is expected to be complete this Fall. The last I heard is that visible work will begin late Fall or ealry next Spring. Lastly, the RFQ has been issued for all of the landscape/streetscape work.

HigherHigher Apr 30, 2008 7:07 PM

There is also a large presentation posted on www.denverunionstation.org with some new renderings of the future station and build out of surounding lots.

blm3034L!fe Apr 30, 2008 7:21 PM

I Stand Corrected!!!

Top Of The Park Apr 30, 2008 7:26 PM

An interesting tidbit....
 
Just found out the plan to replace RTD's biggest bus garage, Platte Division... with its 500 plus buses, with the Commuter Rail Division, including maintenence (looks like this operation will be privitized). The RTD District Shops & Dispatch would stay where it is and RTD would build two medium sized bus garages, one on I-76 west of I-25. Although it is not a done deal, there is talk of Light Rail going north via The Denargo Market. There is no exact time table in place.

MitchCPC Apr 30, 2008 7:45 PM

Thought I saw on the news a while ago somewhere out west they were relocating utilities at a location where they were going to lay track and somebody hit a water main and it flooded a man's house

BroncoCSU05 Apr 30, 2008 8:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HigherHigher (Post 3521145)
They have been doing quite a bit work in the past two years, but it is not neccessiraly all visible work to you and I.

nor should that "invisible" work should have taken this long either. they've fucked up in many an area, time tables are way off and this thing is quickly starting to look like the big dig in Boston. If you're going to honestly tell me with the work they've done that it should have seriously taken this long, you need to get out of the "government contractor" mindset and realize that things can (and do) get done MUCH quicker when you actually give two shits about it. Especially when it's a no-brainer that costs are eternally rising for virtually everything. There's no excuse these "studies" should be running the length of time and cost that they do. But hey, that's government work for ya, right?

Teshadoh May 1, 2008 3:06 AM

RTD can't do anything about the timeliness of the studies b/c the federal government requires heavily intense environmental planning on all funded projects. Yes it is politics, but much of it is political because of the past - transportation projects that damaged the environment, killed wildlife habitat, destroyed historic structures & made negative social impacts on minorities & economically depressed areas. It's a pain - but it's better to get it done right the first time.

DenverInfill May 1, 2008 4:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BroncoCSU05 (Post 3521309)
...you need to get out of the "government contractor" mindset and realize that things can (and do) get done MUCH quicker when you actually give two shits about it. Especially when it's a no-brainer that costs are eternally rising for virtually everything. There's no excuse these "studies" should be running the length of time and cost that they do. But hey, that's government work for ya, right?

Thank you for insulting every person who is working on the Union Station project. Yes, I'm sure none of them give "two shits" about any of it. They're all just mindless bureaucrats sitting behind their desks jerking off and gleefully joking with each other about how fun it is to screw the citizens and waste the public treasury. I bet right now they're plotting their next "unfortunate delay" in the project that will extend the project schedule another few years and add a couple hundred million dollars to the project budget.

Or, perhaps they are people like me (although I'm not contractually involved in any aspect of the DUS project) who are passionate about urban planning and development and who are trying to do the best they can with an incredibly exciting yet challenging project that was underfunded from the get-go by a couple hundred million dollars and that then experienced unprecedented construction cost increases and unexpected rulings from government agencies that created a massively complex engineering/financial puzzle that was finally solved only a few months ago and is now working toward actual design and construction, pending, of course, all of the necessary local, state, and federal regulatory hurdles that need to be addressed, public involvement expectations, pressures from labor and other special interest groups, a national recession, uncertain real estate markets, and fucked-up financial markets.

myshtern May 1, 2008 5:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DenverInfill (Post 3522338)
Thank you for insulting every person who is working on the Union Station project. Yes, I'm sure none of them give "two shits" about any of it. They're all just mindless bureaucrats sitting behind their desks jerking off and gleefully joking with each other about how fun it is to screw the citizens and waste the public treasury. I bet right now they're plotting their next "unfortunate delay" in the project that will extend the project schedule another few years and add a couple hundred million dollars to the project budget.

Or, perhaps they are people like me (although I'm not contractually involved in any aspect of the DUS project) who are passionate about urban planning and development and who are trying to do the best they can with an incredibly exciting yet challenging project that was underfunded from the get-go by a couple hundred million dollars and that then experienced unprecedented construction cost increases and unexpected rulings from government agencies that created a massively complex engineering/financial puzzle that was finally solved only a few months ago and is now working toward actual design and construction, pending, of course, all of the necessary local, state, and federal regulatory hurdles that need to be addressed, public involvement expectations, pressures from labor and other special interest groups, a national recession, uncertain real estate markets, and fucked-up financial markets.

I develop real estate, not on a large commercial scale, but well enough to know that things just arent supposed to move this slowly. I'm sure the project is being done by guys just like you, students and professionals of urban planning design; not financiers who are looking out for their pockets and need the project done on time. It's fun to do impact studies and whatnot but I'd like to see a study done on the public cost and impact of the time that all of these impact studies take :D

The only thing I'm not sure about is how much of this delay is a result of the federal funding deal.

myshtern May 1, 2008 5:05 AM

I wonder how much money developers and property owners of the area surrounding union station would be willing to pay towards the light rail project and union station redevelopment if those puny height restrictions would be removed.

I still can't believe that a majority of the area surrounding the transportation hub of Denver will be limited to 20 stories.

Eliyah78 May 1, 2008 5:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by myshtern (Post 3521070)
I havent heard anything about the light rail in a while. Any updates? When will things start rolling for the westward lines and union station?

They've recently begun heavy construction along the consolidated right-of-way in Lakewood. Ground excavation has started for the Kipling light rail bridge. Other areas west of Sheridan have had some digging done as well.

twellsie May 1, 2008 6:04 AM

Hey Ken, what is your opinion on this giant hole over the train shed where people wait for their trains? I'm seeing the pictures but I don't get it. If the answer is: well we have a view plane, then the view plane has got to go. If the other answer is: we have some little coverings, I still don't get it. This is supposed to be the center of the transit system with thousands and thousands passing through every day right? It makes no sense to me whatsoever. Your illumination would be appreciated.

SnyderBock May 1, 2008 8:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twellsie (Post 3522460)
Hey Ken, what is your opinion on this giant hole over the train shed where people wait for their trains? I'm seeing the pictures but I don't get it. If the answer is: well we have a view plane, then the view plane has got to go. If the other answer is: we have some little coverings, I still don't get it. This is supposed to be the center of the transit system with thousands and thousands passing through every day right? It makes no sense to me whatsoever. Your illumination would be appreciated.

That is the only thing I don't like with the current plan -- the Commuter Rail terminal canopy. If they are going to build a canopy like being shown in renderings (with a big whole in it's roof), then it would be best that they save more money and not build one at all. At least then, RTD can add one in the future and do it right with a fully enclosed glass canopy like what was recently constructed in Germany.

I actually like what they've done with everything else. I didn't at first, but I have studied the plans in detail and have found them to be a very efficient and effective design which will be a success.

Top Of The Park May 1, 2008 8:28 AM

The new diagrams make it look like a european style canopy with no hole. Check out the site HigherHigher mentions a few posts back.

DenverInfill May 1, 2008 12:44 PM

At the last EIS BOG meeting I attended, they specifically said the canopy is a placeholder only. It has not been designed, but they need to show something in the renderings otherwise people will say "what, aren't you going to have any shelter/protection out there?". Plus they also had to have something to put in the line item in the budget.

RTD has a requirement that a certain percentage (I think it's 40% or something like that) of the platform area have shelter. The view plane is also an issue. Directly in the center of the station in line with the big windows is likely to be no canopy at all. There seems to be a very strong desire in the community to not block the view of the station from down 17th Street.

The Union Station project isn't really "delayed" that much anyway. If you look in the original FasTracks plan, there was several years put in place for all that has or is yet to transpire: selection of the master developer, refinement of the plan, completing the EIS, costing out and doing the design, then at least four years of construction. Keep in mind that under the current timetable, the commuter rail station will be completed for at least two years before the first commuter rail train arrives.

DownhomeDenver May 1, 2008 12:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BroncoCSU05 (Post 3521309)
nor should that "invisible" work should have taken this long either. they've fucked up in many an area, time tables are way off and this thing is quickly starting to look like the big dig in Boston. If you're going to honestly tell me with the work they've done that it should have seriously taken this long, you need to get out of the "government contractor" mindset and realize that things can (and do) get done MUCH quicker when you actually give two shits about it. Especially when it's a no-brainer that costs are eternally rising for virtually everything. There's no excuse these "studies" should be running the length of time and cost that they do. But hey, that's government work for ya, right?

Most assanine thing I've ever read. Thanks.

Giovoni May 1, 2008 1:10 PM

I hadn't actually had any impression that any of the projects were delayed at all. I didn't expect to see any real construction until the end of this year. I thought there ware several years lead time built into this.

glowrock May 1, 2008 2:34 PM

I think the moral of this story is that one shouldn't post when in a drunken stupor...

Aaron (Glowrock)

mr1138 May 1, 2008 2:53 PM

I don't think anybody is sitting around deliberately twiddling their thumbs. The rail lines themselves are much larger, longer, and more complicated construction projects than single site buildings. I'm sure it's true that Union Station is extremely complicated in its design. But even if they had a design ready two years ago, I wouldn't have expected to see construction yet. FasTracks and the rail passengers it brings is the heart and soul of the development. There would be no reason to start on the project right now, they're trying to time its completion with the opening of the first rail line.

BroncoCSU05 May 1, 2008 3:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by myshtern (Post 3522357)
I develop real estate, not on a large commercial scale, but well enough to know that things just arent supposed to move this slowly. I'm sure the project is being done by guys just like you, students and professionals of urban planning design; not financiers who are looking out for their pockets and need the project done on time. It's fun to do impact studies and whatnot but I'd like to see a study done on the public cost and impact of the time that all of these impact studies take :D

thanks, at least someone else can see it for what it is.

Quote:

Originally Posted by DownhomeDenver (Post 3522753)
Most assanine thing I've ever read. Thanks.

obviously you're used to the phrase "good enough for government work". but seeing the current state of this country, i can't say i'm surprised by anything, really.


and glowrock, it was posted in my "need to be lucid since i'm an engineer in the private sector" mentality. nothing drunk about my rant at all.

BroncoCSU05 May 1, 2008 3:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mr1138 (Post 3522978)
I don't think anybody is sitting around deliberately twiddling their thumbs. The rail lines themselves are much larger, longer, and more complicated construction projects than single site buildings. I'm sure it's true that Union Station is extremely complicated in its design. But even if they had a design ready two years ago, I wouldn't have expected to see construction yet. FasTracks and the rail passengers it brings is the heart and soul of the development. There would be no reason to start on the project right now, they're trying to time its completion with the opening of the first rail line.

i don't think anyone is sitting around idly either, just the efficiency on it is pure crap. it's the reason why half of the country doesn't trust taxes (sadly enough).

SnyderBock May 1, 2008 4:49 PM

I think it's simply a vocal minority which wants a big whole in the canopy so they can see Union Station in it's entirety from 17th Street. I think the non-vocial majority -- which doesn't bother wasting their time going to meetings and expressing their opinions or even bother keeping up with this project in anyway -- would rather be sheltered fully (100%, not 40%) from the elements while waiting on the commuter rail platforms.

Perhaps this will encourage some people to actually use the historical Union Station to wait (as it was once used)? Also, perhaps when it's all designed and built, maybe it will look great and function adequately? The best thing is to wait and see. It's beyond our control, so we have to embrace whatever is designed. It does little good to complain to one another about it. I have tried writing the proper channels and am just ignored.

In the end, the only good idea, is an idea that satisfies the vocal minority.

5280 May 1, 2008 5:19 PM

My firm has been working on some of the legal aspects of this project, and I can assure you that everyone is working very hard, and that people have done some great work to overcome what seems like one obstacle after another.

And yes, when you deal with government and federal funds, everything is about 100 times more complicated and takes ten times as long. Any CYA mentality that is present in the private sector must be taken to laughable extremes when dealing with public money.

People looooove launching lawsuits at these kind of projects.

Top Of The Park May 1, 2008 5:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SnyderBock (Post 3523267)
I think it's simply a vocal minority which wants a big whole in the canopy so they can see Union Station in it's entirety from 17th Street. I think the non-vocial majority -- which doesn't bother wasting their time going to meetings and expressing their opinions or even bother keeping up with this project in anyway -- would rather be sheltered fully (100%, not 40%) from the elements while waiting on the commuter rail platforms.

Perhaps this will encourage some people to actually use the historical Union Station to wait (as it was once used)? Also, perhaps when it's all designed and built, maybe it will look great and function adequately? The best thing is to wait and see. It's beyond our control, so we have to embrace whatever is designed. It does little good to complain to one another about it. I have tried writing the proper channels and am just ignored.

In the end, the only good idea, is an idea that satisfies the vocal minority.


There isn't a hole in the canopy now....check last page

bunt_q May 1, 2008 5:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by myshtern (Post 3522357)
I develop real estate, not on a large commercial scale, but well enough to know that things just arent supposed to move this slowly. I'm sure the project is being done by guys just like you, students and professionals of urban planning design; not financiers who are looking out for their pockets and need the project done on time. It's fun to do impact studies and whatnot but I'd like to see a study done on the public cost and impact of the time that all of these impact studies take :D

Yes, actually, they are supposed to take this long. If you don't like it, talk to Congress (and the environmental groups). It's not private sector real estate (although, why don't you talk to a California developer and see what he has to say about how long development "should take.")

NEPA is a good thing. And the fact that EISs take so long is (somewhat) intentional. If this were a highway project through environmentally sensitive lands, you'd be damn happy it takes this long, because it would take you time to mobilize the opposition, and you'd be happy they were putting real time into studying it and pre-engineering it as well. As a matter of fact, if you lived along the West Corridor in Lakewood, you'd be damn happy the EIS takes two years, and you'd probably be trying to slow it down. You wouldn't give two sh*ts about "seeing construction start" - you'd want to make sure that the designers and planners of the project are taking all of the environmental (natural *and* human) consequences into account, and you'd want to be sure they are doing everything they can to minimize them.

What you have to understand about an EIS is that it's not really about the final report, it's about the process. And it *is* a deliberate process. And the alternative is much, much worse (at least from the enviormental standpioint).

I'm not sure I would mind terribly if we went back to the "good 'ole days" of Robert Moseses ramming projects down peoples throats; of highways tearing out whole neighborhoods, and whole cities for that matter; and of filling in mile after mile of wetlands for the next subdivision - all without any review process. Just remember, without this horrible, horrible government process, for every Fastracks project that gets done faster, you'd have three projects that you *hate* moving right along as well.

Ask the folks in Clear Creek County if they'd be willing to forgo the process to speed up I-70 improvements. I *dare* you to...

ski82 May 1, 2008 6:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 5280 (Post 3523348)
My firm has been working on some of the legal aspects of this project, and I can assure you that everyone is working very hard, and that people have done some great work to overcome what seems like one obstacle after another.

And yes, when you deal with government and federal funds, everything is about 100 times more complicated and takes ten times as long. Any CYA mentality that is present in the private sector must be taken to laughable extremes when dealing with public money.

People looooove launching lawsuits at these kind of projects.

I think this is what Bronco is saying. Despite people working hard and caring about the project, it seems like progress is slow. It has nothing to do with the work Ken and everyone else is doing...its just frustrating to see the project come together as it has to, which is bureaucratically. This is the way these sorts of things have always been.

Like many others here, I wish the other proposal would have won the bid for the Station, but I don't prescribe to the notion that if E/W wasn't in charge of the project that everything would be smooth sailing, or even noticeably different.

ski82 May 1, 2008 6:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bunt_q (Post 3523462)
Yes, actually, they are supposed to take this long. If you don't like it, talk to Congress (and the environmental groups). It's not private sector real estate (although, why don't you talk to a California developer and see what he has to say about how long development "should take.")

NEPA is a good thing. And the fact that EISs take so long is (somewhat) intentional. If this were a highway project through environmentally sensitive lands, you'd be damn happy it takes this long, because it would take you time to mobilize the opposition, and you'd be happy they were putting real time into studying it and pre-engineering it as well. As a matter of fact, if you lived along the West Corridor in Lakewood, you'd be damn happy the EIS takes two years, and you'd probably be trying to slow it down. You wouldn't give two sh*ts about "seeing construction start" - you'd want to make sure that the designers and planners of the project are taking all of the environmental (natural *and* human) consequences into account, and you'd want to be sure they are doing everything they can to minimize them.

What you have to understand about an EIS is that it's not really about the final report, it's about the process. And it *is* a deliberate process. And the alternative is much, much worse (at least from the enviormental standpioint).

I'm not sure I would mind terribly if we went back to the "good 'ole days" of Robert Moseses ramming projects down peoples throats; of highways tearing out whole neighborhoods, and whole cities for that matter; and of filling in mile after mile of wetlands for the next subdivision - all without any review process. Just remember, without this horrible, horrible government process, for every Fastracks project that gets done faster, you'd have three projects that you *hate* moving right along as well.

Ask the folks in Clear Creek County if they'd be willing to forgo the process to speed up I-70 improvements. I *dare* you to...

I think there is a happy medium somewhere in here. Everyone knew what they were getting for quite some time. And in a time where things can change so quickly, I don't think its unreasonable too think that the public can obtain information, interpret info, organize and act more quickly then 10 years ago either. But, in an age where a process takes the same amount of time but the environment changes more rapidly, you are bound to run into problems. From my observation, it seems like by the time a study is complete the thing that was studied is irrelevant and the plan has changed. Time for a new study. Rinse and repeat.

midwestrabbi May 1, 2008 6:35 PM

Who PAYS
 
My question is , does anyone in Denver pay to ride light rail ? I have been riding from Clear Creek and see little to no one buying fares.

5280 May 1, 2008 6:37 PM

I would definitely concur with Buntie. The alternative is what I witnessed in Florida, where the Corps of Engineers barely considers a project before it slaps down a FONSI for some 2,000 acre development in the middle of wetlands. Because, you know, there's a housing shortage in Florida and all. If you don't have a careful and deliberate process that seeks input, you end up with new airport runways that send planes within a hundred yards of your bedroom window.

/off-topic and bitter

5280 May 1, 2008 6:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by midwestrabbi (Post 3523551)
My question is , does anyone in Denver pay to ride light rail ? I have been riding from Clear Creek and see little to no one buying fares.

I ride almost everyday and used to think the same thing, but people actually do. During the rare occasions they have someone checking, everyone seems to have paid. You see a person get removed every once in awhile, but not as much as you would think. Most people seem to have passes, which allows them to bypass the ticket machines.

DenverInfill May 1, 2008 6:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ski82 (Post 3523490)
I think this is what Bronco is saying. Despite people working hard and caring about the project, it seems like progress is slow.

Bronco directly implied that the people working on this project don't "give two shits about it." I disagree with not only his assessment of the project and its progress, but specifically with his characterization of the people who are working on it.

enjo13 May 1, 2008 6:51 PM

This is why so few projects (public or private) allow very much transparency into the process. Projects are complicated, this project is INCREDIBLY so. Having attended a few USAC meetings and break-out sessions I'm impressed by what they've done so far. They are about 6 months delayed at this point, as that is the length of time it took to work out the significant cost overruns (there where also issues with getting the paperwork in place for the actual money to start flowing).

Look at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn or the freedom tower project. Those projects are extremely complex and have gone through incredibly long design and vetting processes. This one is no different. Development takes time, and very rarely does the public get to see so clearly into the process. Its frustrating, but details that armchair QB's like us hand-wave around have very lasting and meaningful impacts when your actually designing the thing. Much less something that has to withstand the population and transit growth this area will see for the next 100 years.

enjo13 May 1, 2008 6:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 5280 (Post 3523560)
I ride almost everyday and used to think the same thing, but people actually do. During the rare occasions they have someone checking, everyone seems to have paid. You see a person get removed every once in awhile, but not as much as you would think. Most people seem to have passes, which allows them to bypass the ticket machines.

There are a LOT of Eco passes out there. Everyone related to Auraria campus (Faculty, students, administration, etc..) and most anyone who works downtown seems to have one.

bcp May 1, 2008 6:55 PM

this project is awesome...scope, scale, impact - it's going to be amazing. though i agree that we will rue the height limits in the CPV once there are 100k people getting off the trains each day.

that said - the major mistake is connecting the north side of lodo to the rest of the CPV. when the 18th street connection was yanked, we lost quite a bit....

buntie i'm not sure i'm with you on the reasoning behind the lenghty EIS these days. from the meetings i've been to it seems that the purpose is very CYA - "we listened to you and gave everybody a chance to do it, but here is how it's going to be done". changes enacted by citizens at meetins is VERY minor.

one outstanding example, unfortunately, would be the folks along Welton pushing away double track to 40th / 40th...and also pushing away trains direclty going to jobs in the W, SE and SW. Why? somebody stated emphatically that Downing street would lose "important historical buildings" if the loop was completed. i've walked it and driven it many times....there is not a SINGLE contributing / registered building along the route, but RTD let it die on the vine and we're left with an uncertain single-car light rail solution.

what did we lose? the creation of a major north station at 40/40...system flexibility with routing on a loop...billions in development potential...all based on a BS historical claim.

bunt_q May 1, 2008 9:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bcp (Post 3523616)
one outstanding example, unfortunately, would be the folks along Welton pushing away double track to 40th / 40th...and also pushing away trains direclty going to jobs in the W, SE and SW. Why? somebody stated emphatically that Downing street would lose "important historical buildings" if the loop was completed. i've walked it and driven it many times....there is not a SINGLE contributing / registered building along the route, but RTD let it die on the vine and we're left with an uncertain single-car light rail solution.

what did we lose? the creation of a major north station at 40/40...system flexibility with routing on a loop...billions in development potential...all based on a BS historical claim.

I agree with you of course - the NEPA process is an incredible NIMBY-power tool. But that's what it was *meant* to do, and most Americans, I'd bet you, wouldn't want to give that up.

You ever think that maybe democracies are at an inherent disadvantage in responding quickly to serious problems? (or in responding at all, if the problems are slow in coming... like the frog in slowly-heated water?) The only time anything gets done that really works or happens quickly is with "strong leadership" (which is a synonym for "cram it down your throat" - i don't buy the "convince the people they want it" leadership theory - it's just cramming). Our system is *built* for NIMBYism, as much as we here all decry it.

bcp May 1, 2008 10:12 PM

it's a great question....

i'd advocate that the pendulum has swung much too far away from strong leadership toward too many people (and non-experts) contributing toward decisions.

we dont want dictators, but we also elect people (including RTD board) to represent us and MAKE decisions...the EIS / NEPA process is like saying "we don't know, let's have a few thousand people help us make a decison"...instead of haivng elected leaders make them and move forward. if we dont like their decisions? well, elections are more frequent then record-of-decisions it seems.

i cant tell you how many times RTD employees, in casual conversations, have stated that they know how to build the best system, but are not allowed to move forward (keep in mind these are trained, experienced, transit experts...not elected, but they deserve some more slack on the line.)

myshtern May 2, 2008 6:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bcp (Post 3524143)
it's a great question....

i'd advocate that the pendulum has swung much too far away from strong leadership toward too many people (and non-experts) contributing toward decisions.

Ding ding ding - correct answer IMO. Government workers are terrified of accepting responsibility for decisions especially when they reap none of the benefits.

Quote:

Look at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn or the freedom tower project.
You really want to compare laying railroad down as complex as the freedom tower? When did the light rail project begin? Was it before 9/11? Now which is going to end sooner?

glowrock May 2, 2008 11:01 AM

What the hell???

Myshtern, FasTracks was approved in 2004, long after 9/11. What the hell are you talking about?

Aaron (Glowrock)

bunt_q May 2, 2008 2:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by myshtern (Post 3525069)
You really want to compare laying railroad down as complex as the freedom tower? When did the light rail project begin? Was it before 9/11? Now which is going to end sooner?

Absolutely it's every bit as complex. How many property owners are involved with the light rail? And the Freedom Tower? You've got a couple parties there to worry about, and essentially a clean site. Engineering challenge - sure, freedom tower wins, hand down. But as a complete project, I'd say it's a very fair comparison.

bcp May 2, 2008 2:17 PM

myshtern - when i talk about "too many non-experts contrbuting to a decision" i'm actually referring to the general public.

too many little old ladies...too many small-city-thinkers...too many 'change is bad' folks...they ahve the capacity to ruin our transit SYSTEM as we saw with kiling double-trackign up downing to create anurban loop (we have much too much of a line-by-line approach).

i'm all for a heavIER handed RTD - but that requries a blank check, and the feds require the EIS process...so, we're a bit stuck.

bcp

BroncoCSU05 May 2, 2008 3:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by myshtern (Post 3525069)
Government workers are terrified of accepting responsibility for decisions especially when they reap none of the benefits.


you are 100% correct in this assessment here. not to mention, they have a SERIOUS mental-mindblock in that they don't understand how to do tasks in parallel and efficiently manage a workforce. they most likely care about what they're doing, they're just very inept at actually doing it. more people from the private sector should be head-hunted and brought into the gov't system as high-level management. i assure you shit will get done then. today's model is too much wait for a decision before waiting for another one and hardly any streamlining/parallel processes going on. someone educate RTD's upper management on 21st century business practices...this isn't the days where you could sit back and wait forever for things to funnel through. you'll get absolutely KILLED (as the current 1.5 billion over cost already) in overhead if you're not the aggressor in the process.

Giovoni May 2, 2008 3:43 PM

I am going back to an earlier part of the thread for a bit because it's eaten at me for a couple days...

You know I really resent that the "these people are good intentioned" was even allowed to get brought into the arguement. Of COURSE they are good intentioned. No one here imagines that all the workers are handle-bar-moustache-twisting-cape-wearing-mincing dark lords bent on destroying all of RTD's well meaning plans. However, I NEVER ever learned in school that good intentions=good design.

But now I have to be VERY careful if I want to vent about something because I might hurt the designers' feelings. I can't stand that 16th is going to be open to cars.. can't say that though because the decision came from good intentions. I don't like that the plan has become a smear across the CPV instead of a central, focal station. Can't say that either.. because those changes came from good intentions as well. Other things I'ver really not liked about this whole process..they are all invalid now because everything I don't like came from good intentions.

Some people on here have written and written and written RTD and the people who are responsible for the planning of this project. Some have spent many many hours working on their own ideas, presented them here, revised them and waited patiently for responses that never came. Now they are reduced to just saying we have to wait and see because my input has been ignored. When someone vents that the people appear to 'not give two shits' about the process I think that's perfectly valid in this case. So is nearly all of the venting about the plethora of changes that have come since the plan passed in the first place. Is it going to change anything? On here of course not.. nothing does really. All of our cheering on of Tabor II, Spire, 4S and everything else doesn't change their design or get them to rise faster either, yet here we all are.

Of course the designers and engineers and planners and other people who are working on Union Station and Fastracks in general ACTUALLY care, and of COURSE they are well meaning, probably well trained, good people who don't piss on the Union Station Master plan before leaving at night to go home and have a dinner of roasted babies.

However, the companies that are their bosses are still, in my opinion (which aparently I have to add now all the time too because it's not understood that EVERYTHING on here is opinion) suspect. I just don't think you can gloss over the fact that E/W was granted a near monopoly on development in that part of downtown and they should be watched MUCH more closely than it seems like they have. And if they are good businesspeople then they really ought to press the advantage as far as they can. As far as I've seen the city and RTD have not done enough asking if whats good for E/W is good for the city. (just again - my opinion - and I'm sorry if the CEO's of E/W are crying right now because I know.. they are basically all good people).

bcp May 2, 2008 3:43 PM

its worse than you think...

RTD brings in transit / planning experts (Parsons Binkheroff and many others) to run the show....these experts and then caught between knowing how to do a great system and being marginalized by:

- line-by-line in-fighting
- limited budget
- having to listen to excessive community input

bcp May 2, 2008 3:46 PM

bravo giovani....

instead of "watching" E/W....some natural, market-driven competition would have worked just find (and required zero additional gov't oversight)

Giovoni May 2, 2008 3:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bcp (Post 3525481)
myshtern - when i talk about "too many non-experts contrbuting to a decision" i'm actually referring to the general public.

too many little old ladies...too many small-city-thinkers...too many 'change is bad' folks...they ahve the capacity to ruin our transit SYSTEM as we saw with kiling double-trackign up downing to create anurban loop (we have much too much of a line-by-line approach).

i'm all for a heavIER handed RTD - but that requries a blank check, and the feds require the EIS process...so, we're a bit stuck.

bcp

Was that really the fault of little old ladies and small city thinking? What I mean is .. RTD is dying for money right now to make Fastraks work. When you're looking for things to cut why not cut things that people are complaining loudly about? Even if everyone knows it's a vocal minority of boobs, there will be time to fix things like this in a couple decades. Sucks.. but one track is better than 0 and they HAVE to make some sacrifices along the lines somehow.

myshtern May 2, 2008 4:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by glowrock (Post 3525246)
What the hell???

Myshtern, FasTracks was approved in 2004, long after 9/11. What the hell are you talking about?

Aaron (Glowrock)

I really don't know much about this sort of stuff, I really was asking :) In all seriousness though, you say it was approved in 2004 but I'm sure the design and plans were worked on for years prior to that, 2004 is only when voters decided to pay for it.

Quote:

Absolutely it's every bit as complex. How many property owners are involved with the light rail? And the Freedom Tower? You've got a couple parties there to worry about, and essentially a clean site. Engineering challenge - sure, freedom tower wins, hand down. But as a complete project, I'd say it's a very fair comparison.
As far as I'm concerned, the project is broken down into 2 parts. The design and construction of union station and laying down the actual rail.

The whole union station design seems to be fudged to me, simply because of the horrible zoning surrounding it and the construction shouldnt take more than a year.

While laying down the rail should have been done with an army of negotiators spread in each direction of the line for property followed by an army of laborers laying down rail. We can make this as complicated as we want and draw out the process for 30 years. If we want to get things done, things need to be broken down in the simple segments and attacked with an overwhelming force. Like I said though, I dont know what's necessary for the federal funding. I may seem rudimentary but let's not make anything overly complex in our heads, we're building a freaking railroad.

DenverInfill May 2, 2008 4:58 PM

Keep in mind, Myshtern, that it's just not light rail. It's also a huge (900' long) fully underground 22-bay bus terminal, 8 commuter rail tracks and platforms (partially depressed to allow for at-grade boarding), a big public parking garage, Mall Shuttle and Downtown Circulator lanes/stops, renovation of the historic station, a massive amount of utility relocation/reconstruction work, a hugh stormwater drainage project, acres of public spaces/plazas, etc., rebuilding every street in the vicinity, and over a million square feet of office/residential/hotel development. The fact that all of that is scheduled to be built in 4 years is quite an accomplishment. This is on par with DIA or TREX.

Yay!! Post # 2,000!! :banana:


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