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 to I-25 & Broadway (along the railroad right-of-way).
This 5.3-mile light rail line in its last full year (1999) as a stand-alone route carried an average of 16,118 passengers each weekday. The Southwest Corridor opened in 2000 and the Southeast Corridor opened in 2006 connecting the Central Corridor at I-25 and Broadway to the south metro areas.
This light rail line was funded entirely by RTD - no tax increase or federal funds were necessary. This line was funded with an existing use tax, RTD's capital reserve, and bonds issued by the District.
Park-n-Rides with connections to bus routes are located at 30th and Downing and I-25 and Broadway stations, and Local/Limited bus service along Broadway and Lincoln is frequent, averaging 3 minutes during rush hours and 15 minutes all other times. The I-25 and Broadway Station provides parking with 1,308 spaces, the 30th and Downing Station has 27 parking spaces, the Broadway Marketplace Park-n-Ride near the Alameda Station provides 221 parking spaces, and the Alameda Station which opened in August 1996 had 302 parking spaces until August 2015. After the completion of the Denizen transit-oriented community adjacent to the Alameda Station, the developer provided 100 mixed-use parking spaces.
In December 2004, the two light rail stations serving the Colorado Convention Center and Denver Center for Performing Arts at 14th and California and 14th and Stout were combined into one station through a partnership with RTD and the City and County of Denver as part of the Colorado Convention Center expansion project. The Theatre District and Convention Center Station provides passengers internal access to the Convention Center.
- The Central Corridor provided connections to planned corridors (Southwest and Southeast corridors) to expand the light rail system.
- Removed approximately 430 bus trips from downtown 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 provide the best transit system in the region
- 5.3-miles from 30th & Downing to Broadway & I-25
- 13 stations
- Proven standardized technology
- Overhead electrical power
- Ground-level tracks
- Fully accessible to persons with disabilities
- Parent corridor for regional development of the light rail system
- Up to 55 mph speeds
- Frequency of trains
- South of 10th & Osage
- approximately every 3 - 5 minutes during rush hours
- approximately every 5 minutes all other times
- North of 10th & Osage
- approximately every 4 minutes during rush hours
- approximately every 7.5 minutes all other times
- 30th & Downing to Downtown Denver
- approximately every 15 minutes
- South of 10th & Osage
SYSTEM COSTS AND RIDERSHIP
- Gross Capital Costs (year of expenditure): $116.5 million
- Average weekday boardings: 18,074 (2016)
- Total ridership: 5,792,303 (2016)