RTD’s West Rail Line Gallops Through Our District
In Lakewood, we’ve been waiting so patiently for so many years and now, suddenly, we see the FasTracks test cars swooshing over Sixth Avenue, Kipling and Wadsworth. As Chair of the House Transportation & Energy Committee, I’m especially excited when I see flashing red lights and the test cars gliding through the six stations in my House District 23 - Federal Center, Oak Street, Garrison, Wadsworth, Lamar and Sheridan.
I can’t wait to actually ride the light rails on the W Line Opening Day on April 26. And I encourage everybody to celebrate at the Lakewood Station Parties on Saturday, April 27 and enjoy free fares all that day.
Even if you don’t plan on riding light rail very often, the W Line is something to celebrate because it will ease congestion on Sixth Avenue and shorten the downtown commute for drivers. It will help keep our Lakewood air cleaner, and it will save energy. All good stuff.
As exciting as the opening of the W Line is, it is just one of many transportation improvements we’ve been working on at the Capitol. One thing we did was to fix CDOT’s budget process, freeing up funds to actually fix our roads. As a result, soon you’ll see the rebuilding of the intersection of Sixth and Wadsworth. The interchange will be widened for cars and bicycle lanes and sidewalks will be added on both sides. Not only will this improve safety and ease traffic through Lakewood, but the project will also create good-paying jobs for many years.
In addition, a bill soon to pass will allow Lakewood (and all other Colorado cities and counties) to use gas tax money to pay for more transit choices, such as circulator buses, bike lanes, and to improve their bus stations. We are also renewing tax credits for electric vehicles and working on projects to improve infrastructure for electric vehicles. That means adding more charging stations. I applaud the City of Lakewood for taking the initiative in adding car plug-in stations in the Cultural Center parking garage, and we hope to encourage more cities to do likewise.
In the longer-term, the Transportation & Energy Committee is seriously tackling the traffic on I-70 that so frustrates Lakewood folks going to the mountains to ski, hike and enjoy the views. We’re reviewing several technical proposals for a monorail, and it looks very promising. Mountain geology and geography make adding another lane for cars technically impossible and fiscally irresponsible, but the monorail option is looking more realistic, even more so than high speed rail. Monorail requires fewer tunnels (less costly and less damaging to the mountains), can climb steeper grades, handle more challenging weather, and would offload people closer to where they want to go. A monorail could also handle freight, meaning fewer big trucks on I-70, and riders might even bring their cars on the monorail.
As I keep thinking about the future of transportation, around the metro area and to mountain recreation, I would appreciate your insights and feedback.