Monday, June 09, 2008

Light Rail and the Convention

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Now that we're getting closer to the convention more information is starting to trickle out on security and other issues. Today we will look at Denver's light rail system. We'll tell you what we know and what we think may happen.

Denver's light rail line opened in July of 2000 and expanded in November 2006. It has quickly become a widely used form of transportation for thousands of Denver area residents each day.
According to the Denver Post, the Secret Service still hasn't announced what kind of impact the convention will have on light rail.

Security requirements for the Democratic National Convention may result in closing or restricting light-rail service and traffic on streets surrounding the Pepsi Center.

But less than 12 weeks away from the opening gavel in Denver, security planners aren't ready to tell downtown commuters, businesses and residents what to expect.

"It's going to be closer to the time of the convention," said Malcolm Wiley, the U.S. Secret Service's spokesman for the event.

At this point before the last Democratic convention in Boston, transit and road closure plans already had been publicized for a month and a half.

There is an RTD light-rail corridor passing less than 80 feet from the Pepsi Center, where the convention will be held, a transit station 200 feet from the building's wall and two major boulevards located 370 feet and 620 feet away.

As you can see from the map on the left, the Pepsi Center is the second to last stop for the C line (Southwest corridor) and E line (Southeast corridor). A majority of people going downtown during the workday use the D, F and H lines.

We'll start our ride toward downtown Denver starting at the 10th and Osage stop. This is the last stop that allows you to board trains for all lines before you reach downtown.

The first stop is Auraria West Campus. It was announced last year that Colorado University's Auraria Campus would be closed during the week of the convention. Very few if any riders will use this stop.

The stop after Auraria on the C and E lines is Invesco Field at Mile High where the Denver Broncos play. As there will be no games there during the convention there will be very few people that will use this station.

After riding by Invesco Field you head toward downtown Denver and the Pepsi Center-Elitch Gardens stop. The station is just steps from the Pepsi Center as you can see in the picture on the left.

Very few riders use this stop unless there is an event at the Pepsi Center. Elitch Gardens will be closed during the week of the convention so it won't bring any riders either.

This leaves convention goers as the only people that would use this station if it remained open.

The final station on the C and E lines is Union Station. This stop is used to access Denver's Lower Downtown (LoDo) and Coors Field where the Rockies play.

The Rockies only play on Sunday, August 24th (think that'll be a hot ticket for delegates?) The remainder of the week they play away.

This is the most heavily used downtown station on the C and E lines during the week. A free shuttle does run n the 16th Street Mall that connects LoDo to the other light rail lines that go downtown.
So now that you know how everything is laid out lets look at some options as to what could happen.
  1. Both the C and E lines are closed past the 10th and Osage Station
  2. Union Station remains open but all other stations are closed.
  3. Only delegates and credentialed people are allowed past 10th and Osage.
I'm no expert in Secret Service planning and have no ideaa how tight their security will be.
As soon as the actual plans are announced we will let you know.


26376 said...

It might be instructive to look at what happened in Boston in 2004. According to information here, the MBTA's North Station terminal was closed, though Orange Line service was still allowed to run through North Station (and thus past the arena) nonstop. Green Line service was closed and so was not running directly under TD Banknorth Garden. Also, I-93 was closed through downtown Boston every evening of the Convention; I-93 passes directly east of the arena.

denverdanny said...

it's coors, as in pete coors, not coor's. :)

i feel like they could have done some real interesting things transportation wise. too bad no special convention train from downtown to the pepsi center.