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  #11041  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2018, 1:05 AM
CastleScott CastleScott is offline
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But to build a $6 billion rail transit network but neglect accessibility is just plain dumb... and lazy.
Very true and a big reason that metro Denver should't be looked at as a transit model. As a former metro resident prior to FasTracks passing it was various communities all trying to get "my slice of the pie" after the first 5.3 mile line of light rail was built (I worked as a part-time consultant on the southwest corridor to Littleton plus on the Arvada transportation committee) so yes when will we get our corridor was as much a part of DRCOG planning as the plan itself.
RTD promised that once the rail lines were in place that the current bus service would be re-deployed to service inner neighborhoods with higher frequency service which did not seem to happen..
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  #11042  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2018, 2:49 AM
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Originally Posted by TakeFive
Ridership at Colfax at Auraria station dropped from 11,324 to 6,006 while the Auraria West station dropped from 7,134 to 4,550. Anybody got a guess as to why?
School's out in the summer.

Ridership fluctuates over the year. Compare a particular month this year to that same month last year to see if it's really rising or falling.

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Originally Posted by TakeFive
First, it's important to recall what Denver looked like 15 to 20 years ago when RTD invented light rail. Outside of Capitol Hill, Denver had precious little density.
The statistics have not changed that much. The boom has been great, but if you're going to say Denver wasn't dense 15 years ago then it's still not dense today. It takes LOT to move the needle on established neighborhoods.

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Originally Posted by TakeFive
According to the urbanist elites from back East (not Cirrus) Denver didn't deserve light and commuter rail.
Unless you're reading different things than I'm reading, that is not what anybody is saying. Nashville today is way less dense than Denver was 15 or 20 years ago.
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  #11043  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2018, 4:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
School's out in the summer.
Yeah, I know as I also hinted at later. What happened is when 1st looking at that long chart I was just mentally registering names and numbers (with no context). I didn't, at first give any passing thought for why until I paused to think about it. Then the light went on... that's all.

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The statistics have not changed that much. The boom has been great, but if you're going to say Denver wasn't dense 15 years ago then it's still not dense today. It takes LOT to move the needle on established neighborhoods.
Exactly, in fact that is my point although the boom does put a different face on things. But Denver didn't have any obvious light rail corridors other than maybe E. Colfax and the "district" taxpayers wouldn't have cared about E Colfax. You can now retroactively reimagine a different system but that's in hindsight 15-20 years later. Who knows what voters would have of thought of your ideas back then? Not much probably.

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Originally Posted by CastleScott View Post
Very true and a big reason that metro Denver should't be looked at as a transit model.
I couldn't care less what other places do; that's their business. You do a fair job of summarizing why we ended up with what we have but I have no idea what RTD supposedly promised.

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Unless you're reading different things than I'm reading, that is not what anybody is saying. Nashville today is way less dense than Denver was 15 or 20 years ago.
I have no idea of Nashville's density and I'm not that interested. What I'm reading is a NYC 'expert's' diatribe judgment about Denver's light rail system. In fact, that's pretty much the standard talking point from the Streetsblog crowd ie city v suburbs, overlooking the fact that most of the lines pass through urban areas.

If RTD's light and commuter rail system is visionary and intended to direct and encourage future TOD then all these new lines need to season for a decade before we can even envision their ultimate value. The very average SW Line, for example, has seen ridership increase at stations other than the Mineral Station which carried it in the early years by itself.

Consider Seattle; they are now getting around to delivering light rail to their suburbs. The biggest difference? They will spend and average of $300 million per mile where Denver's system cost a measly $58 million per mile. Looked at differently RTD built over five times the miles for the same dime that Seattle is spending.

Ten years from now is when we should take a 2nd look and I'll guess it will be the 2nd decade that experiences the most suburban TOD. Compare Miami today with 30 years ago when they first opened their commuter rail line. Time makes a yuge difference.
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  #11044  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2018, 7:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive
overlooking the fact that most of the lines pass through urban areas.
Nobody's overlooking. "Pass through" as opposed to "conveniently serve" is exactly the criticism.

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Originally Posted by TakeFive
Who knows what voters would have of thought of your ideas back then? Not much probably.
You never know, but I think our do-it-better-with-hindsight plan from a couple of months ago would've done just fine at the polls. I also think tacking on another billion dollars to FasTracks would not have made one iota of difference to voters (although it would've affected the debt cap).
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  #11045  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2018, 6:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
Nobody's overlooking. "Pass through" as opposed to "conveniently serve" is exactly the criticism.
Most of these 'talking point' critics have little specific knowledge of Denver's system. It's like reading political headlines as opposed to actually understanding a topic. All they know is that suburbs are 'bad' and the city center is 'good.'
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You never know, but I think our do-it-better-with-hindsight plan from a couple of months ago would've done just fine at the polls. I also think tacking on another billion dollars to FasTracks would not have made one iota of difference to voters (although it would've affected the debt cap).
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I said they should have used a different type of train on most of the same corridors, with only a couple of tweaks replacing 1 or 2 particularly low-performing existing ROWs with 1 or 2 better existing ROWs.
This was your original bullet point post

Essentially we agreed to add my Urban Signature Line (along Broadway/Speer/Leetsdale) and you wanted it to extend to Nine Mile and drop the rest of the R Line.

Yes, I'm sure that would have passed and with the inclusion of the one urban line would have been much better. I'm not sure RTD would have preferred DMU's but assuming they did the voters wouldn't have likely cared.

For brevity, CastleScott described well why FasTracks happened except it was really the SW Corridor's completion that catalyzed everything.
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  #11046  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2018, 7:19 PM
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All they know is that suburbs are 'bad' and the city center is 'good.'
I don't think so. If anything they may be reducing it to "park-and-ride-based systems are bad and walkable systems are good."
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  #11047  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2018, 7:47 PM
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Nine Mile Station - is it a total anomaly or is it instructive?

Cirrus is ofc correct that Nine Mile benefited from being an end of line station initially. Same with the Lincoln Station - for now. But that hardly tells the whole story.

Draw say a 3/4 mile circle around Nine Mile Station and what do we find? First you notice that Parker Rd is the axis; then you see that fully half of that circle has virtually no density. To the south and west lies the Cherry Creek Reservoir, a large area of soccer fields (in Greenwood Village), I-225 and a large area of ball fields, a golf course and green space - in Denver. The Cherry Creek Trail does run through the area and 6/8-lane Parker Rd doesn't deter bike enthusiasts but Nine Mile Station could hardly be considered bike/ped friendly.

Even after bleeding riders to both the Iliff and Florida Stations on the R Line, Nine Mile continues to have elite numbers and better than 50 of the 59 stations. But why is the question?

Here's another irony. Looking at the station ridership numbers, DUS is in a tier by itself. The next 8 stations are then in a tier higher than the other 50 stations. Not counting DIA, of the 3 other suburban stations in this 2nd tier, two are in Aurora. Go figure.

So why is Nine Mile so successful? There's a couple of reasons but the primary reason is that it addresses the first and last mile access. Through logical deduction it would appear that roughly half of the ridership arrives by car as Nine Mile has a large parking garage. The other half (in round numbers) presumably arrives by bus.

The other reason goes to density; not high urban density but solid suburban density. Even with only half of a pie to draw from, Nine Mile draws mostly from neighborhoods within Cherry Creek School District. Aurora fortuitously provided higher density zoning for much of this area. At the time "all those condos etc" were derided. wong doesn't care for the demographics .

Admittedly not every station can create good ridership by following Nine Mile's formula precisely because every station is different. But what is clear (to me) is that when you provide good first and last mile accessibility then that's half the battle.
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  #11048  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2018, 8:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
I don't think so. If anything they may be reducing it to "park-and-ride-based systems are bad and walkable systems are good."
Nope... but true that's a part of it. Here's what irritates.

Streetsblog is certainly an 'echochamber.' Agree? Agreed! It's not the substance that bothers me and I still can learn from that. For example, sidewalks is a cause-celebre. All my long life I've scarcely given sidewalks a passing thought. But I've come to see the wisdom so I'm still learning. At the least I'm like OK, knock yourself out over sidewalks and certainly within the city center it makes lots of sense.

It's not the substance but the style that irritates. As a member or at least consistent with Streetsblog thought you prolly don't even see it.

The strategic approach in the Streetsblog echochamber is right out of the 'talk radio' playbook; it's a carbon copy. Especially for its two stars, Angie Schmitt and David Sachs.

First thing is to identify a boogieman and then proceed to denigrate and destroy it. Then offer a talking points magical fix. All you have to do is spend a gazillion $'s and trust them. And just like Talk Radio there's no compromising and "one size fits all." The only difference between Angie and Sachs and Sean Hannity is topic and medium (and paycheck). The propaganda formula is otherwise the same and I find both irritating. I'm old fashioned and prefer reporting with integrity, not half-baked presumptions and misleading, cherry picked 'facts' used to connect dots that don't.

BTW, how timely is my Nine Mile Park N Ride solution? Point being that many places, like Denver don't have the needed density - yet. So if Park N Rides help to solve that critical first and last mile access, then they're important until the requisite, preferred density arrives.
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  #11049  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2018, 5:32 PM
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My gosh it's now 2018?
Yup
Must mean we have an election coming?
Yup

Colorado Senate Republicans will introduce road-bonding bill on Legislature's 1st day
Jan 8, 2018 By Ed Sealover - DBJ
Quote:
Because of the improving economy and federal tax reform, Colorado is expected to bring in as much as $1 billion more in uncommitted funds between this current fiscal year and the fiscal year that begins on Jan. 1 — and Grantham said a significant portion of that money should be going toward the $9 billion backlog in transportation needs that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) projects over the next 10 years.
Republicans are trying to put Dems into a road-building box and for the first time in a long time there's excess money in the legislature to make their case to the voters. Problem is they want to seek voter approval for ~$3.5 billion in bonding while committing the legislature to the 30-year payback. To be fair "no new taxes" is an easy sell if this gets to the voters.

We've seen this song and dance before and Dems will never agree nor should they. Interestingly most of the backlog of projects is outside of Denver. While they deserve their turn this dog won't fly.

Political strategy and nothing more?
Yup

As Colorado/Denver becomes ever more liberal, many Republicans are betting that they can present the more centrist and electable candidate. No doubt AG Cynthia Coffman could have wide appeal to voters but the question is could the Republican 'core' of primary voters fall in love with centrist Cynthia?

So once again needed transportation funding falls victim to stupid politics?
Yup
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  #11050  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2018, 8:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive
The propaganda formula is otherwise the same and I find both irritating.
Certainly echo chambers can be bad. But 1) I don't think Angie is the same as David, and 2) The Streetsblogs of the world aren't really there for convincing moderates. They're home base for true believers.

To make an analogy, sending an atheist to Sunday church would probably just piss the atheist off, but Christians enjoy church and find it useful. So home base is not itself so much the problem as people's increasing ability to close of outside voices. If you never leave church then you end up thinking a lot of socially unacceptable things. And if you never leave Streetsblog it's the same. Please note I am not calling urbanists a religion. It's an analogy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive
if Park N Rides help to solve that critical first and last mile access, then they're important until the requisite, preferred density arrives.
You're being too reductionist with the park-and-ride thing. Even most hard core urbanists agree that *some* park-and-rides make sense. Most end-line stations should be PnRs, as well as occasional stations where major highways come together. Any *big* PnR is probably OK. The problem is the little ones.

The problem is putting a tiny PnR every half mile and thus making it harder for people to walk or for TOD to happen at all those stations, when drivers could just as easily drive to a single big PnR 2 miles away. Yeah, you want drivers to be able to get there, but you accomplish that at strategic locations rather than assuming it by default for all/most stations. And you *definitely* shouldn't decide the route of your entire line based on the assumption that every station should have a PnR (or if you do, you space the stations further apart and use diesel trains).

Yes, it's true that sometimes you can use a PnR as land bank until TOD is practical. But that's both wasteful and risky. The land would be used for TOD sooner if it didn't have the transit agency middle man, and oftentimes neighborhood politicians (or the DOT itself) won't let the PnR go once its there. They say "it's always full, you can't reduce parking!" But it's full because it's tiny, and meanwhile the gigantic PnR a mile away that takes 5 minutes longer to drive to has 1,000 empty spaces.

So Denver's problem isn't exactly that it has park-and-rides. It's that we built lines using a train type and station-spacing that's optimized for pedestrians, but put lines in locations and oriented the stations around driving. The result is a system that doesn't work particularly well for either drivers (it's too slow) or pedestrians (it's too hard to access). This is why I say we'd have used DMU and had fewer stops if we did it all over again.
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  #11051  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2018, 10:46 PM
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So Denver's problem isn't exactly that it has park-and-rides. It's that we built lines using a train type and station-spacing that's optimized for pedestrians, but put lines in locations and oriented the stations around driving. The result is a system that doesn't work particularly well for either drivers (it's too slow) or pedestrians (it's too hard to access). This is why I say we'd have used DMU and had fewer stops if we did it all over again.
I totally agree and back when I was doing part-time consulting on the SW Corridor I even suggested DMU's as opposed to electric LRT but RTD seemed to be stuck on the LRT scenario at the time (at that time Dallas was buying 13 RDC's-Rail Diesel self-propelled Cars from Via Rail Canada and refurbishing them for use on the Trinity rail line and I thought why not do some of these on the SW Corridor as well-would have saved some $$$).

Last edited by CastleScott; Jan 10, 2018 at 7:33 AM.
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  #11052  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2018, 1:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
Certainly echo chambers can be bad. But 1) I don't think Angie is the same as David, and 2) The Streetsblogs of the world aren't really there for convincing moderates. They're home base for true believers.
Couple of points: I'm experiencing some short-term memory loss. Partly it's typical of my age and partly it's hereditary. Not important particularly but I enjoy blogging partly to keep my analytical skills up. I also enjoy keeping my critical thinking skills sharp so I'm prolly more sensitive than the average bear.

Since I know Denver well when Sachs states something that seems 'to me' blatantly disingenuous and wrong I can't help asking myself "If your cause is worthwhile then why not use arguments that can stand up to sunshine?"

Ofc when I ask myself how many Sean Hannity fans ever fact-check one thing he says, I know the answer is virtually zero.

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Even most hard core urbanists agree that *some* park-and-rides make sense.
Does that happen in private?

What's a bit interesting is that while I've got you in one ear I've got USC professor Marlon Boarnet in my other. Accessibility to light rail and how we get ridership up is an obsession. Wishing the system were different won't solve anything and this is solvable. I figure 95% of the population has never tried light rail or there may be some who've tried it but don't otherwise have good access.

Well this is cool. I wanted to double-check the parking at Florida on the R Line, thinking there is none although the ridership is decent. RTD has this format that I found that provides an easy bullet-point description of each station. Since it's the R Line it also shows (many) SE Corridor stations as well. Hopefully they'll do this for all the lines; tried the W Line and nope.

I quickly can see that Nine Mile has 10 bus routes feeding into it. No wonder it does so well; I had guessed as much but now I can see the info w/o more tedious searching. Peoria is served by ony four buses so the fact that (not counting DUS) it's now the 5th busiest station is especially impressive. Florida has no parking and only one bus so coming in 29th out of 59 stations is mighty respectable. It is now the end of the H Line station.

Going through various stations in my mind, it seems to me that some stations that should or could become walkable (to use the proper buzzword) just haven't gotten there. I think or assume it's just going to take more time.
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  #11053  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2018, 4:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive
Wishing the system were different won't solve anything
No, but it sure is instructive when other cities plan their own systems. We all learn from each other.
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  #11054  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2018, 11:12 PM
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No, but it sure is instructive when other cities plan their own systems. We all learn from each other.
Hmm, yes and no; no for many reasons. Just a couple:

How does one judge RTD's rail system before it's had the 15 years it needs to season?

Every place is unique and has it's own issues.
Consider transit sweetheart Portland for example. It's a fiefdom and doesn't need voter approval. Plus the esteemed transit guru lives among them so they pretty much could take a carte blanche approach. Yet, today they're dealing with problems and issues that were not anticipated. BTW, I like Jarret; he tends to be non-judgmental and respect that every place is unique with different challenges.

What about most places that need voter approval? How many transit systems didn't take advantage of low hanging fruit of existing ROW's if they made any sense at all?

Everybody's entitled to be a critic but I have a high degree of confidence that in 15 years Denver will once again by the apple of everybody's eye.
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  #11055  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2018, 11:38 PM
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APTA has new numbers

The 3rd quarter's star has to be DC with an amazing 47.5% light rail ridership increase and over 75% YTD. Word on the street, in fact the whisper is spreading that it's all about Malouff Magic.

Not to be overshadowed, Denver's commuter rail is up a healthy 23% for the quarter and up 90% YTD.

Denver's light rail ridership is up a respectable 5.6% in the 3rd quarter after an awful start to the year leaving it down less than 2% for the year.

Denver bus ridership is down exactly 5% for the quarter which was exactly the average of all reports. The seasoned DC bus system was down a plump 8.55%.

Phoenix was once again one of the few (four) on the positive side rising 6.41% for the quarter. This goes to their 2015 voter approved $17 billion Prop Transportation 2050. Bus darling Houston was down 8%.
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Last edited by TakeFive; Jan 11, 2018 at 12:25 AM.
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  #11056  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2018, 3:33 AM
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Inspiration from Seattle?

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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
Ouch.
This is the transit system they are recommending Nashville model theirs after?

"Seattle's S.L.U.T. Streetcar Causing a Stir"
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/20841428/n.../#.WlPmVKom7mI

Think we should look at the recent RTD survey of passengers think of Denver's transit systems.

"RTD says ‘passengers are extremely happy with our services’"
https://www.denverite.com/rtd-says-p...3/?src=parsely
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  #11057  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2018, 4:04 AM
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The SLUT is almost irrelevant to a discussion of Seattle transit. If you want to copy something, copy the idea that rail goes through neighborhoods (albeit at astonishing cost when it's tunnels), and buses might be the best in any non-obvious US city.

As for Portland, nice system in some ways, but its commute shares are fairly low.
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  #11058  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2018, 4:08 AM
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Originally Posted by HighRanch View Post
This is the transit system they are recommending Nashville model theirs after?

"Seattle's S.L.U.T. Streetcar Causing a Stir"
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/20841428/n.../#.WlPmVKom7mI

Think we should look at the recent RTD survey of passengers think of Denver's transit systems.

"RTD says ‘passengers are extremely happy with our services’"
https://www.denverite.com/rtd-says-p...3/?src=parsely
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  #11059  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2018, 4:32 PM
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Yeah, saying Seattle is bad because of the SLUT is like saying Denver's bad because nobody uses Mile High light rail station at rush hour. It's missing the forest to focus on one tree.

But yes, hello.

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  #11060  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2018, 5:07 PM
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Originally Posted by HighRanch View Post
Think we should look at the recent RTD survey of passengers think of Denver's transit systems.

"RTD says ‘passengers are extremely happy with our services’"
https://www.denverite.com/rtd-says-p...3/?src=parsely
Interesting breakdown of the respondents demographics. Seems like it models RTD's commuter lines pretty well, but missed the mark on local and limited route ridership.

So, RTD is pretty good at getting choice commuters to their workplace from Park-n-Rides according to these riders, but it misses how people who ride 'da bus feel.

Oh, welcome.
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