By Shawn Chitnis
ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – RTD received federal approval on Friday to start the next phase of testing on the Gold or “G” Line of light rail but still has not released an expected start date of service. It was originally slated to begin in 2016.
“It’s been exciting, although we’ve been on pins and needles for it to start running,” said Aubrey Drienka, a shop owner that is located across the street from the train tracks.
The new phase of testing will have multiple trains running from 3:30 a.m. in the morning until 1 a.m. the next day. The next step in getting the train ready for service does not have residents too optimistic.
“It did for a time, now it’s gone on for such a while,” said Drienka. “What’s this train doing back and forth with no people on it.”
The station for Old Town Arvada has a fence around it with signs saying the station will open soon. People walking by the stop on Friday were eager to hear if a start date was actually announced.
“Anticipation is just like building to have this open up, because it’s been two, three years,” said Tom Kosty, an Arvada resident. “It would be so nice to have the ability to go downtown, it’s going to bring a lot of people up here.”
Kosty was just passing by when he started chatting with another resident eager to know what is happening with the G Line. They began discussing the other key issues facing the town including affordable housing. A concern for some about the new light rail service is will it help those that most need it if they don’t live near a station.
“The people that tend to use it on a daily basis are people that are low income,” said Julia Morrison, a future law student that hopes to take the G Line to school each day. “Commuting to their low-income jobs, there is nowhere this train station that’s affordable.”
But some were able to make the most of the closure of the station. A photographer brought a model to pose by the fence and give his photos the urban look he wanted at the station.
“Why not make it more beautiful by taking pictures in front of it,” said Nate Maes, the photographer. “It’s actually pretty ugly compared to how beautiful Old Town Arvada really is.”
Drienka still wants to be optimistic. Her family owns multiple businesses inside a home located along the G Line. Carly’s Boutique and its garden decoration can easily be spotted while on the train and when future passengers cross over from the tracks. They have been in business for 13 years and hope they do not have to wait too much longer to enjoy the benefits of this long promised new light rail.
“A lot more people coming into our town to see our business to get the word out about our town and our businesses,” she said. “I’m going to keep a little bit more patience.”