By Shawn Chitnis
ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – Shop owners in Olde Town Arvada were relieved to learn this week RTD says it can have G-Line commuter rail service beginning by the end of the first quarter in 2019. That’s years behind schedule but still a needed addition to the growing business district.
“Olde Town, since we moved here almost 20 years ago, has slowly but surely gotten better and better,” said Leah Mayhew-Lomo, an employee at Balefire Goods, a custom jewelry and art shop.
RTD addressed the latest information available about the A Line, B line, and G Line routes at a news conference in Denver on Tuesday. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently expressed concerns about these commuter rail lines. RTD said it has a corrective plan that was submitted to the agency.
“We think it’s possible, we think the first quarter is possible and we’re working towards that,” said Dave Genova, RTD General Manager and CEO. “It’s priority one for us to deliver the G Line and get these quiet zones done, it’s our number one priority around here.”
Genova explained that in addition to getting approved quiet zones along the G Line path, certain waivers that have been granted for other lines would be needed before passengers start using the service and testing ends.
“It’s been painfully slow and we’re just for it to finally open, there feels like there is an end in sight,” Mayhew-Lomo said to CBS4 about the announcement.
RTD cannot give a more specific date than the end of the first quarter of 2019 but residents and businesses are eager for any sense of a change in operations. The constant sound of the trains passing by at all hours has been difficult for all in the area.
“It is crazy loud,” she said. “It is crazy loud particularly when the two commuter trains are passing and then a freight train goes by.”
The trains pass by so often they often interrupt conversations, leaving people to stop mid-sentence and wait for trains to pass. Customers often bring up the issue to the staff at Balefire.
“That is one of the first questions people ask when they come in,” Mayhew-Lomo said. “‘What’s the deal? When is it going to open?’”
Businesses are eager to see more visitors from outside Arvada, the connection to Denver could attract a new group of customers. It will also allow residents to get into the city without worrying about their own cars.
“My husband and I can go out to dinner downtown without having to worry about parking and paying for it,” she said. “We go downtown a good bit but hopefully we’ll go downtown more.”
The owner of Balefire actually chose the location she has right across the from the RTD station more than a year ago with the hope of enjoying passengers visit the shop sooner after service began. Some businesses have struggled waiting for that increase in foot traffic that has yet to show. But the hope remains they will start showing up soon.
“We’re ready to bring some more people into Olde Town and allow them to experience how wonderful it is,” said Mayhew-Lomo.