RTD celebrates opening of the E, F and R Rail Extension today
On Saturday, free rides on the entire RTD rail system and station parties
LONE TREE (May 17, 2019) – The Regional Transportation District (RTD) and its partners celebrated the grand opening of the E, F and R Light Rail Extension today, marking the occasion with a ceremony and a ribbon-cutting before opening the 2.3-mile section of light rail service in Lone Tree to the public.
The E, F and R Extension is the sixth project to open in three years as part of RTD’s 2004 voter-approved FasTracks program to expand transit across the Denver metro region. The project – known as the Southeast Rail Extension during construction – extends light rail service from Lincoln Station farther south into Lone Tree. The line features three new stations: Sky Ridge, Lone Tree City Center and RidgeGate Parkway, which includes a 1,300-space Park-n-Ride.
At RidgeGate Parkway, the new end-of-line station, leaders spoke about the significance of the project to the region and the collaboration that made it all happen decades ahead of schedule. They reflected on the unique opportunity to build the line prior to development and spoke about the economic growth expected to follow its opening.
Speakers included RTD Board Chair Doug Tisdale; RTD Board Member Ken Mihalik, District G; Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Region 8 Administrator Cindy Terwilliger; U.S. Representative Ken Buck; Douglas County Commissioner Roger Partridge, who also shared a letter from U.S. Senator Cory Gardner; Lone Tree Mayor Jackie Millet; Former Lone Tree mayors Jack O’Boyle and Jim Gunning; Vice President of Denver South Economic Development Partnership, Buz Koelbel; Executive Vice President/Director of Development for Coventry Development and Master Developer of the RidgeGate Community, Keith Simon; Roger Wilson, Vice President, Rail – US Civils, Balfour Beatty; and RTD General Manager and CEO Dave Genova.
“The Southeast Rail Extension provides walkable access to light rail and serves as a model for mobility, access and smart growth,” Genova said. “We are grateful to our local partners for their cooperation, collaboration and unprecedented funding contributions that allowed us to expedite construction by as much as 20 years. We commend our partner and construction contractor, Balfour Beatty, for their commitment to completing this project on time and within budget.”
Progress and Expansion
“The Southeast Rail Extension is a symbol of progress and expansion for our region,” said Keith Simon, President/Director of Development for Coventry Development and Master Developer of the RidgeGate Community. “It affords a unique opportunity to support this world-class region as it attracts high-caliber businesses and encourages smart development.
“Transportation and economic development go hand in hand,” Simon added. “This extension and the three new light rail stations will enhance end-of-line conditions for commuters, support 500 acres of mixed-use development and be a catalyst for new employment and economic development opportunities in Denver’s south region.”
‘Collaboration and Perseverance’
South metro stakeholders contributed $25 million to support the build-out of the new rail line, with an additional $3 million of in-kind contributions, land and right-of-way. These stakeholders include the City of Lone Tree, Douglas County, Southeast Public Improvement District, Coventry Development, RidgeGate and Rampart Range Metro District. The local match of approximately 12 percent of the project cost far exceeded the 2.5 percent match RTD typically asks of its local partners, and helped RTD successfully secure federal funding for the project.
RTD received $92 million from the FTA’s Small Starts funding program, as well as $9.4 million from Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant funds. The total project cost is $233.1 million.
“The completion of the Southeast Rail Extension is a story of collaboration and perseverance,” said Lone Tree Mayor Jackie Millet. “Without the contributions of public and private funding partners, we would not be celebrating the opening of these three stations. Lone Tree has witnessed firsthand how investments in transportation infrastructure have improved the quality of life for existing residents and businesses and attracted top tier employers to the city.
“It’s worth noting,” Millet added, “that Sky Ridge Medical Center, Charles Schwab and Kiewit chose to build their campuses adjacent to the new Sky Ridge Station.”
Free Rides, Weekend Parties
RTD is offering free rides today between Sky Ridge and RidgeGate Parkway stations through 2:30 p.m. During this time frame, bus shuttle service will be available between Lincoln and Sky Ridge stations where people can then board a train, ride the extension and return to Sky Ridge Station.
The public can ride all RTD rail lines for free on Saturday, May 18. Rail will operate on a normal Saturday schedule.
RTD will join the City of Lone Tree on Saturday to continue the rail opening celebration with events, parties and art dedications at Sky Ridge and RidgeGate Parkway stations. Specific details about individual celebrations are available on the RTD website.
Free Parking For 90 Days, No Changes to Bus Service in the Area
RTD parking management fees will not be applied at the new RidgeGate Parkway station until after 90 days of posting notices. The posting date for RidgeGate Parkway Station has not yet been determined.
Regular May service changes will take effect across the RTD district on Sunday, including the addition of the E, F and R Extension. RTD will continue to operate existing bus routes in the area of the E, F and R Extension. No additional bus service is planned for the three new stations along the alignment.
The Regional Transportation District celebrates 50 years of service this year. The transit agency develops, operates and maintains a public transportation system that meets the needs of close to 3 million people within an eight-county service area in the Denver Metro region. The agency’s buses, rail lines, shuttles and additional services provide 100 million annual passenger trips. For more information, visit rtd-denver.com, call 303-299-6000 and follow along on social media: www.facebook.com/RideRTD, on Twitter @Ridertd, @ridertd on Instagram and rideRTDco on YouTube.