RTD light rail began revenue service on October 7, 1994. RTD’s first light rail line, the Central Corridor, runs from 30th Avenue and Downing through the Five Points Business District and downtown Denver, by the Auraria campus and then along railroad right-of-way to I-25 & Broadway.
The light rail line is 5.3 miles long and in 1999, its last full year as a stand-alone route, carried an average of 16,118 riders each weekday. A bus transfer station and Park-n-Rides are located at 30th and Downing, Alameda, and I-25 and Broadway stations. The Southwest Corridor (opened 2000) and the Southeast Corridor (opened 2006) extended the corridor farther south, connecting to the Central Corridor at I-25 & Broadway Station. Local and limited bus service along Broadway and Lincoln is frequent, averaging 3 minutes in the peak and 15 minutes in the off-peak.
This light rail line was funded entirely by RTD -- no tax increase and no federal dollars were necessary. This line was funded with an existing use tax, RTD’s capital reserve, and bonds issued by the District.
There are three Park-n-Rides on the Central Corridor light rail line. The I-25 & Broadway Station Park-n-Ride provides 1,308 parking spaces. Alameda Station Park-n-Ride opened in August 1996 with 302 spaces. Current redevelopment is occurring at this station that removes these 302 spaces. However, the developer is providing 100 spaces within the nearby development. The adjacent Broadway/Marketplace provides 221 spaces. The 30th and Downing Station Park-n-Ride has 27 parking spaces.
In December 2004, the two light rail stations serving the Colorado Convention Center and DCPA at 14th/California and 14th/ Stout were combined into one station by the City and County of Denver in partnership with RTD as part of the Colorado Convention Center expansion project. This move gives light rail patrons internal access to the Convention Center.
- Provides the central connection of the planned regional light rail system
- Removed approximately 430 bus trips/day from downtown city streets on opening day
- Reduces air pollution and traffic congestion
- Provides an opportunity for economic development in commercial areas along the transit line
- Established RTD’s commitment to rapid transit
- 5.3-mile length (30th & Downing to Broadway & I-25)
- 13 stations
- Proven standardized technology
- Overhead electrical power
- Ground-level tracks
- Fully accessible to persons with disabilities
- Spine of regional light rail system
- Up to 55 mph speeds
- Frequency of trains
- South of 10th/Osage
- every 3 minutes (rush hour)
- every 5 minutes (mid day)
- every 5 minutes (nights, weekends, holidays)
- 10th & Osage to Downtown Denver
- every 4 minutes (rush hour)
- every 7.5 minutes (mid day)
- every 7.5 minutes (nights, weekends, holidays)
- 30th & Downing to Downtown Denver
- every 15 minutes (all times)
- South of 10th/Osage
System costs and ridership
Gross Capital Costs (year of expenditure): $116.5 million
Central cooridor map
Updated January 2015