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  #11961  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2019, 6:45 AM
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They shook and they shook and they shook;
finally all of 2018's rail station ridership reports all dropped in concert.

Done in three reports, I disregard the middle third which is when Auraria is on summer break. Comparing the First Report with the Third there's a few changes of note below Union Station which is in class all to itself.

I-25 & Broadway lost a thousand riders and the Airport gained a thousand so they traded places. Airport is now in 2nd with Broadway in 3rd. The 16th Street Stations also lost a thousand riders for 4th place. 5th place Colfax at Auraria lost 1500 riders.

Bottom line: The A Line is growing with nearly all stations adding ridership while the rest of the system's stations lost ridership.
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  #11962  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2019, 3:00 PM
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Interesting. Count me among one of those who took the train nearly every day a year ago, and now finds himself driving nearly every day. The train just became too unreliable, which leads to uncomfortable, and it just takes too damn long. Also, little things like cell phone coverage that’s as bad as a New York Subway, and it’s just not a good use of an hour of my day every day.
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  #11963  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2019, 5:43 PM
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Interesting indeed. I gave up on RTD over a year ago (which I believe I ranted about here at the time - and more recently at Denver Urbanism). The bus was unreliable, too infrequent, and very uncomfortable due to the riffraff. It took anywhere from 1.25 hours (if all the stars miraculously aligned and I happened to get off work just in time to catch the RC), to 3 hours (if I was particularly unlucky that day), to get from Cap Hill to my workplace in Commerce City, or vice versa. Typically it took 1.5 to 2 hours. (It's about 20-25 minutes via car.) Not owning a car was difficult. I felt somewhat trapped and immobile. Even though I live in the supposed, walkable, urban oasis of Cap Hill, I found some of the simplest things, like getting to a drug store, daunting. Luckily I enjoy long walks, but I don't always have the time for them. It got to the point where I was spending several hundred dollars per month on Uber/Lyft, so I finally broke down and bought a car.

My world has changed. Everything - despite all the seemingly perpetual traffic jams all over the place - feels so much closer and more accessible now. I have mobility now. I have so much freedom now. My life is just so much easier. I can't believe I went as long as I did without a car. I was kidding myself thinking this town was not necessarily a car town. It is a car town and will always be a car town. All the anti-car sentiment among us infill geeks is irrational. An even stronger word like delusional is probably more appropriate. This is Denver.

I don't know who these people are that are fortunate enough to be bona fide yuppies that live in LoHi and bike to some tech job in the CBD or whatever, but I do know that they are a tiny fraction of the population of this metropolis. They will always be a tiny fraction. LoHi will only ever be able to house a tiny fraction. All the urban, hipster, downtown-adjacent neighborhoods combined will only ever be able to house a tiny fraction. The vast majority of us will be stuck with a choice between car and RTD - and obviously, for most of us, car wins.

Like many of us infill geeks who frequent this website, boost our home-towns, and engage in subtle, passive-aggressive city vs city antagonism, I like to think of my hometown as being bigger and more urban than it is. I like to think of it as well on it's way to becoming more like SF, or DC, or some other, more urban, transit-oriented town (not that the majority of people in those places don't also commute via car). But I've been realizing over the past couple years that it's just a fantasy. In order for this town to change into what I would like it be, public transportation would have to become exponentially more convenient and ubiquitous. And when I see the situation RTD is currently in, I just don't see how that's ever going to be possible. Perhaps several decades from now when I'm elderly or dead...
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  #11964  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2019, 6:21 PM
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Among people who work in Commerce City, sure.

But things are different for people who both work and live in the urban core, in any city. A large percentage commute by transit. Many walk or bike. It can be very easy to go without a car, even without Uber.
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  #11965  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2019, 12:59 AM
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Among people who work in Commerce City, sure.

But things are different for people who both work and live in the urban core, in any city. A large percentage commute by transit. Many walk or bike. It can be very easy to go without a car, even without Uber.
Like I said, that's a small percentage of the metropolis. The vast majority of us will continue to drive because RTD sucks - and with ridership falling, will only get suckier. My fantasy of Denver eventually becoming a transit city is dying.
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  #11966  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2019, 2:28 AM
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Interesting indeed. I gave up on RTD over a year ago...
Great post; didn't realize a year had already passed but I recall your rant.

IIRC, on a different topic I think you mentioned Reuters being your go-to site. It's now become mine as well. At the time I loved Bloomberg news but they put up a Big paywall and since I didn't use any of their financial resources (I've always preferred MarketWatch for that) I had to find a new source. I now combine Reuters with a little CNN for my daily dose or Politico if I have extra time.

Glad to hear everything has worked out well for you.
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  #11967  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2019, 2:55 AM
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Among people who work in Commerce City, sure.

But things are different for people who both work and live in the urban core, in any city. A large percentage commute by transit. Many walk or bike. It can be very easy to go without a car, even without Uber.
You're speaking for yourself ofc and honestly Seattle is very different & unique. Your RapidRide routes have done well which 'generally' mimic Denver's light rail lines. Seattle has achieved an unusually high percentage of 'choice' riders who are satisfied.

Denver seems to reflect Portland's experience in that most gentrifiers are not fond of riding Big Bertha buses. Many bike (or walk) but are only about 7% of the total of commuters into downtown Denver.

We've debated the "missing middle" in housing mix; with respect to transit the missing middle is shuttle style buses that would carry ~35 passengers and be more efficient and appealing to choice riders - in Denver. Uber/Lyft have found their niche but transit's middle is missing.
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  #11968  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2019, 4:12 AM
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All Hail Ride Hailing

Few months ago with all the Streetsblog hate of Uber/Lyft and ride sharing, I started checking into the agenda-biased research that had been published. Later I decided to research ride-sharing blogs to get some good firsthand anecdotal feedback.

At some point a light went on and I thought why don't I consider doing this. In recent years I've drifted to being much more of a passive investor meaning I had too much time on my hands. Additionally I inherited a now growing loss of hearing but I realized that wouldn't be an issue as an Uber/Lyft driver. Within the confines of my car it's only slightly an issue.

So I (finally) started doing ride-sharing three weeks ago. My goal is to drive six hours and make at least $100 dollars a day. It's not the best way to make a living as I make $15 an hour (trending somewhat higher) and my gas costs are running 17.5% of income. It works well for me as I have a 5 1/2 year old SUV with very low miles that's fully depreciated. Since I have Medicare I don't have to worry about that or taxes as the 58 cents a mile allowance should leave me with very little income if any after expenses.

I'm having a blast; it helped that I learned how to 'work smart' before I started. I work the hotel/visitor crowd in North Scottsdale along with locals but it's the Sky Harbor rides where I make easy bank. 'My area' has four large resort/conference hotels of 700-1,100 rooms (including casitas) with two JW Marriott's, one Fairmont and one Westin plus at least another 15-20 hotels generally with 200-400 rooms. Keeps me busy. I end up having to turn down trips when I need my old guy potty & lunch breaks when I usually also walk for ten to fifteen minutes.

So if you ever want a ride... come on down for Rockies Spring Training games.
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  #11969  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2019, 4:31 AM
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You're speaking for yourself ofc and honestly Seattle is very different & unique. Your RapidRide routes have done well which 'generally' mimic Denver's light rail lines. Seattle has achieved an unusually high percentage of 'choice' riders who are satisfied.

Denver seems to reflect Portland's experience in that most gentrifiers are not fond of riding Big Bertha buses. Many bike (or walk) but are only about 7% of the total of commuters into downtown Denver.

We've debated the "missing middle" in housing mix; with respect to transit the missing middle is shuttle style buses that would carry ~35 passengers and be more efficient and appealing to choice riders - in Denver. Uber/Lyft have found their niche but transit's middle is missing.
No, I'm speaking for many cities, including Denver, where a significant percentage of people don't drive to their jobs in the core, and live in neighborhoods where at least some of the conveniences are a short walk away.

There are numerous US cities where apartments often go up with fewer parking spaces than units, and much of the existing stock has little parking. Portland is another example, without even getting to the Boston or Philly types.
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  #11970  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2019, 4:41 AM
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Great post; didn't realize a year had already passed but I recall your rant.

IIRC, on a different topic I think you mentioned Reuters being your go-to site. It's now become mine as well. At the time I loved Bloomberg news but they put up a Big paywall and since I didn't use any of their financial resources (I've always preferred MarketWatch for that) I had to find a new source. I now combine Reuters with a little CNN for my daily dose or Politico if I have extra time.

Glad to hear everything has worked out well for you.
Damn. You have a good memory.
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  #11971  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2019, 4:56 AM
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No, I'm speaking for many cities, including Denver, where a significant percentage of people don't drive to their jobs in the core, and live in neighborhoods where at least some of the conveniences are a short walk away.

There are numerous US cities where apartments often go up with fewer parking spaces than units, and much of the existing stock has little parking. Portland is another example, without even getting to the Boston or Philly types.
Eh, we're talking past each other a bit. I don't put Denver in a class with the NE, Chicago and San Francisco. Seattle is rapidly becoming more like those (transit) cities.

Portland is a fair comparison but they've been transiting and densifying for longer than Denver. I'm not saying there's not a (growing) number of walkable areas in Denver; ofc there is. But that doesn't automatically add up to (much) more transit riders.

Does Denver have it's share of transit dependent drivers? Ya sure but it's been well proven that even lower socioeconomic residents have access to 10X the number jobs if they have a car. For example, there's a gazillion Hispanic workers that do landscape work in Phoenix. Every day they go to a different site to work; buses won't take them there; they need their friends to ride-share with.
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  #11972  
Old Posted Feb 24, 2019, 6:27 AM
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You're expanding the topic way beyond my point...things can be very different for people who live and work in the urban core, in Denver and many other cities.
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  #11973  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2019, 5:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Sam Hill
In order for this town to change into what I would like it be, public transportation would have to become exponentially more convenient and ubiquitous.
You know, I used to think the answer to all of this was to have better transit. Blanket the arterials with transitways, have TOD along the arterials, and things'll be better.

I think I was wrong. The transit is a symptom, not a cause, and changing land use along the arterials only works to push on the margins. It's better maybe, but only a little.

To really change things, change the root cause: Single-family zoning in the central city. Denver has a dense downtown, a couple of sort-of-dense neighborhoods around it, and then basically suburbs. Wash Park, Highlands--those are suburbs, structurally. So of course most of the jobs and most of the housing is inherently car-oriented. It's no wonder TOD has not made a meaningful difference, when we never legalized a meaningful amount of TOD in the first place.

If you want a European-like city, you need your city to have European-like land use. That means neighborhoods full of apartments. Not just one street of apartments between the arterial and a bunch of houses, neighborhoods full of apartments. It means making it legal for the detached houses that define most of the central city to become apartments. Not just rowhouses, apartments.

There *are* that many apartments in Denver. But they're spread around in little complexes here and there, surrounded by parking lots. Instead of making 5% of the land in every neighborhood apartments, and instead of building a bunch of garden apartments along Colorado Blvd or down Leetsdale, cluster them in the central neighborhoods. You can't change the past, but you can do it for the next generation if you want to.

With that density and that growth, you get a virtuous cycle in which it becomes obvious to rededicate street space to transit, and more jobs and people locate in the central city rather than Commerce City, etc etc. But the base condition isn't the transit, it's the land use.

Yes yes, I can hear the detached-house apologists already: But you're forcing us to become something we're not! Fascist! No. I don't want to force anybody to do anything. I only want to legalize the change that I think people would make on their own if we let them. I want to stop forcing people to drive to Commerce City even when they don't want to. I want to give them a meaningful choice, and this is how. If you don't believe people want to make that choice, then there's no reason to hold onto zoning laws that ban that choice today. I am not the preventer of freedom in this argument. If we legalize it and it doesn't happen, fine with me. But don't ban that freedom of choice and then pat yourself on the back for being a champion of freedom.
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  #11974  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2019, 10:47 PM
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...Not just apartments, but also large swaths of the city where building parking is an option but not required. When parking is a separate choice, developers and tenants often make very different decisions.
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  #11975  
Old Posted Feb 26, 2019, 11:18 PM
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You know, I used to think the answer to all of this was to have better transit. Blanket the arterials with transitways, have TOD along the arterials, and things'll be better.

I think I was wrong. The transit is a symptom, not a cause, and changing land use along the arterials only works to push on the margins. It's better maybe, but only a little.

To really change things, change the root cause: Single-family zoning in the central city. Denver has a dense downtown, a couple of sort-of-dense neighborhoods around it, and then basically suburbs. Wash Park, Highlands--those are suburbs, structurally. So of course most of the jobs and most of the housing is inherently car-oriented. It's no wonder TOD has not made a meaningful difference, when we never legalized a meaningful amount of TOD in the first place.

If you want a European-like city, you need your city to have European-like land use. That means neighborhoods full of apartments. Not just one street of apartments between the arterial and a bunch of houses, neighborhoods full of apartments. It means making it legal for the detached houses that define most of the central city to become apartments. Not just rowhouses, apartments.

There *are* that many apartments in Denver. But they're spread around in little complexes here and there, surrounded by parking lots. Instead of making 5% of the land in every neighborhood apartments, and instead of building a bunch of garden apartments along Colorado Blvd or down Leetsdale, cluster them in the central neighborhoods. You can't change the past, but you can do it for the next generation if you want to.

With that density and that growth, you get a virtuous cycle in which it becomes obvious to rededicate street space to transit, and more jobs and people locate in the central city rather than Commerce City, etc etc. But the base condition isn't the transit, it's the land use.

Yes yes, I can hear the detached-house apologists already: But you're forcing us to become something we're not! Fascist! No. I don't want to force anybody to do anything. I only want to legalize the change that I think people would make on their own if we let them. I want to stop forcing people to drive to Commerce City even when they don't want to. I want to give them a meaningful choice, and this is how. If you don't believe people want to make that choice, then there's no reason to hold onto zoning laws that ban that choice today. I am not the preventer of freedom in this argument. If we legalize it and it doesn't happen, fine with me. But don't ban that freedom of choice and then pat yourself on the back for being a champion of freedom.
Yes. I agree with all of this. I don't think it's going to happen though. The NIMBYism here is stronger than in most places for some reason (stronger than any place I've ever lived anyway). Wash Park for instance will never change. Its residents would never allow it.
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  #11976  
Old Posted Feb 26, 2019, 11:20 PM
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...Not just apartments, but also large swaths of the city where building parking is an option but not required. When parking is a separate choice, developers and tenants often make very different decisions.
I agree with this too. However, as much as I don't like parking minimums, I don't like maximums either. I think I might be alone with that opinion.
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  #11977  
Old Posted Feb 27, 2019, 7:14 AM
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You know, I used to think the answer to all of this was to have better transit. Blanket the arterials with transitways, have TOD along the arterials, and things'll be better.

I think I was wrong. The transit is a symptom, not a cause, and changing land use along the arterials only works to push on the margins. It's better maybe, but only a little.
I love how your mind works since it's so different from mine. I suspect I'm too old to be so creative although I've always been more about nuts and bolts.

I love how you hijack the concept of 'freedom.' My view would be if voters want to approve whatever then I'll respect their choice regardless of my own feelings. But the notion of having overlords mandate these types of decisions holds no appeal for me.

While Denver is surely changing I'm still not sure how many give a flip what Europe does or is like. I suspect most just want Denver to be like Denver.

Personally I still feel like TOD is one key part; the problem is that the National Guys with access to ready funding are only interested in Denver's downtown and RiNo area, basically. That leaves locals to find conventional financing which is much harder.

The other important consideration is employment density. Consider Denver's new and nice 1144 15th St building. Recently read that Amazon is now assumed to have accumulated 10 million Sq Ft in Seattle. That's the equivalent of fourteen 1144's. Visualize that enormous difference.

Is creating a Utopian central Denver with arbitrary boundaries all that important? I'm not so sure but it any case that would still be decades down the road.
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  #11978  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2019, 6:32 PM
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Scooter Crash Puts Man In The Hospital With A Traumatic Brain Injury
March 19, 2019 By Rick Sallinger - CBS4 Denver
Quote:
DENVER (CBS4) – Riding an electric scooter in Denver can be convenient, but it can also be dangerous. Henry Bromelkamp is in intensive care at Denver Health Medical Center after he crashed on the scooter he was riding March 10. ... “He has suffered what’s been described to me as permanent injuries. He will not be same person again if he survives this.”

“Scooters go about 15 mph. I can’t run 15 mph, but imagine running as fast as you can head first into a brick wall and you get some idea of what a scooter crash does to your brain,” he said.
Who will bear the liability for this?
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  #11979  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2019, 6:41 PM
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Scooter Crash Puts Man In The Hospital With A Traumatic Brain Injury
March 19, 2019 By Rick Sallinger - CBS4 Denver

Who will bear the liability for this?
The dumbf**k who crashed the scooter and is now a sack of meat (when you operate the scooter you waive liability against the scooter owner)- unless the scooter was somehow defective or if another dumbf**k somehow caused the sack of meat to crash (if the sack of meat brings suit).
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  #11980  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2019, 7:57 PM
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The dumbf**k who crashed the scooter and is now a sack of meat (when you operate the scooter you waive liability against the scooter owner)- unless the scooter was somehow defective or if another dumbf**k somehow caused the sack of meat to crash (if the sack of meat brings suit).
I think I got the picture...


Courtesy Jonah Lisa Land
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