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'It's a no-brainer': Denver advocates push for public transportation route to Red Rocks

Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Posted at 7:22 PM, Apr 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-04 11:20:23-04

MORRISON, Colo. — Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a top destination for tourists visiting the Denver metro. Despite its fame, the historic concert venue isn't connected to public transit.

The site sees over 5 million visitors a year and has an economic output of over $717 million, which begs the question: why isn't there a public transportation option?

“My son graduated high school here and after graduation, it took us about an hour to get the mile and a half out of the park," said Nick Palgrave, a Morrison resident who lives just a couple miles away from the venue.

Palgrave regularly visits the site, running several laps up and down the stairs. Although he rarely attends concerts, Palgrave said the traffic issues are noticeable during major events.

"When there's a big event, there's probably 1,000 Uber and Lyft cars coming in here," said Palgrave.

City officials and advocates say a public route from RTD's last stop at the Jefferson County Government Center to Red Rocks could have several benefits. Ean Thomas Tafoya, state director of Green Latinos, argues the route could reduce carbon emissions and traffic while saving money for low-income families.

“For the last 10 years, everyone we talked to thinks it's a great idea,” said Tafoya.

Denver City Councilmember Darrell Watson is one of several officials who agree with Tafoya's efforts.

"To me, it's just like a no-brainer," said Tafoya. "There's a third of our population that can't drive already.”

Officials with the Regional Transportation District (RTD) said there have been no conversations with Jefferson County about a new public transportation route. RTD said the county has to initiate a plan, which could be funded through a new $2 million special projects program.

Announced in June of last year, the special projects program provides funds annually for projects to improve mobility. Jefferson County could apply for the program but would need to match at least 20 percent of the approved funds. RTD said if a plan were approved, the majority of the funds would go towards operational costs.

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