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FasTracks is a comprehensive transit program aimed at providing easy and convenitent bus/rail connections.


Gregory M HoustonĀ – Author

James W. Jenson – Photographer/Illustrator

In a recent poll conducted by RTD, 85% of Denver residents believe that FasTracks was a good decision.

FasTracks is a transit program serving the Greater Denver area. The most familiar portion of FasTracks is the Light Rail system, a spider web of rail and overhead wires crossing Denver and surrounding towns. In addition, it is the overall mass transit system of buses, local commuters, park-n-rides, and TODs (Transit Orient Development).

FasTracks is a transit program serving the Greater Denver area. I enjoy riding the Light Rail but as an architect I am disappointed with the design of the architecture throughout the system.

FasTracks – Past

The Light Rail system opened in 1994 with a rail line which began at I-25 and Broadway, entered downtown and traveled down Welton Street to 30th and Downing. Over the past twenty years there have been a number of extensions:

  • a spur from the original line which serves Mile High, Pepsi Center, Elitches, and Denver Union Station (Denver’s original transportation hub)
  • the Southwest extension from I-25 and Broadway down to Santa Fe and Mineral
  • the Southeast extension from I-25 and Broadway to Lincoln and a spur which serves Aurora at the Nine Mile Park-N-Ride
  • just this spring the West line began running passengers from Downtown out west to the Jefferson County Courthouse
FasTracks – Future

Currently under construction is a line which will run from Union Station out to Denver International Airport. This includes a complete renovation of the old rail yards which throughout history brought travels to Denver.

RTD is also currently under construction on an extension to the southeast line which will follow I-225 north and connect with the line connecting Union Station and DIA.

Eventually, the Light Rail system will connect Downtown Denver to DIA, Castle Rock, Boulder, Northglenn, Longmont, Jefferson County, and Highlands Ranch.

FasTracks – Present

In addition to the projects listed above, RTD is currently considering the next extension to be developed, the North line.

As you ride the Light Rail you can identify each extension by the design of the stations they serve. The original line stations have a barrel vault-like canopy to shelter passengers waiting for the trains. The Southeast stations are more industrial with steel sections and v-shaped canopies painted white.

As I have said, I think RTD has overlooked a solution with regards to the architecture of the Light Rail stations and TODs.