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RTD unveils new plan to combat crime at Union Station bus terminal

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Posted at 7:26 PM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-24 11:28:40-04

DENVER — Denver local Marie Langhorn says she's always on guard whenever she's in the Union Station bus terminal area off 17th Street and Chestnut Place.

"I'm just a lot more alert these days," Langhorn said.

Those like Ben Doblar, who rides the A-line every day, can understand why that's necessary.

"I got off my train this morning literally because everybody on my car was using drugs... Five to six people when I decided to get off the train," Doblar said. "I was the only one that wasn't [using drugs]."

On Saturday night, it wasn't drugs people were staying clear of. It was a shooting that sent one man to the hospital.

Just two days later, a local photographer was attacked at the terminal by a man who struck him in the head and threatened to kill him.

According to the Denver Police Department, officers have made more than 1,000 arrests in the last six months, mostly for drug and property-related crimes, including theft. The Regional Transportation District (RTD) Denver went into their meeting Tuesday with those numbers in mind.

The district announced a phased approach to enhancing public safety, which includes installing terminal entry gates that only admit those who show proof of a ticket, better lighting, TV screens in the entrance area that show security footage, and more.

    Short-term (0-6 months)
    • Deep cleaning of the bus concourse, weekly washing of windows, increased custodial support, and replacement of missing and burned-out lights
    • Broadcasting of pre-recorded audio announcements, in English and Spanish, to include information on services, fares, public safety, and information to discourage unwanted activities
    • Installation of “ENTER” and “EXIT” labels on doors at Union Station, Wewatta and Chestnut to facilitate customer flow

    Mid-term (6-12 months)
    • Upgraded lighting
    • Installation of TV monitors with security camera feeds at entrances
    • Conversion of commuter rail platform stairs to exit only
    • Installation of barriers to prevent access to area between the elevator and glass wall at the Wewatta and Chestnut pavilions
    • Addition of floor decals and signage to encourage movement and discourage loitering
    • Addition of smoke detectors in restrooms

    Long-term (12+ months)
    • Incorporation of designs and permitting for paid fare zones at the Union Station bus concourse, which includes the installation of turnstiles at the Union Station historic building, as well as the Wewatta and Chestnut Pavilion entrances, requiring paid fare to enter the facility
    • Addition of roll-up doors to the vehicle entrances at the ramps to the bus concourse to prevent pedestrians from accessing the vehicle-only bus ramps

    At their meeting, RTD highlighted that it will take the entire community, including homeless outreach organizations and mental health professionals, to make the impacted area a place where people can once again feel safe.