State regulators issue major setback for RTD's A, B & G-lines

Opening of Gold line on hold
Posted at 7:29 PM, Sep 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-27 21:29:15-04

DENVER -- If you're tired of those annoying horns at every A-line crossing or are ready for the G-line from Wheat Ridge to Downtown to open, don't hold your breath. 

State regulators delivered a major setback on Wednesday after the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) denied RTD's request to increase crossing arm warning times. 

The commissioners said there was no evidence to prove it would increase safety and raised concerns that adding time at each crossing could lead to more accidents because frustrated drivers could try to go around the crossings.

"We're disappointed in the decision, but we're going to continue to partner with the PUC and make our case that the design warning time we have submitted to them is actually the best bet," said RTD spokesman Nate Currey. 

Wednesday's decision only involved the A-line, but because the G-line runs on the same wireless technology, until the so-called Train to the Plane is fixed, the G-line is on hold indefinitely. 

The G-line was supposed to open last year. RTD now said it won't open until at least 2018, and even that's still unclear. 

"We hope that everybody's sees that this is not an easy process to go through," explained Currey. "We are working night and day to get this thing done, and we're just as anxious to get those trains up and running through Wheat Ridge and Arvada and quite everywhere else."

RTD has been testing the G-line on Wednesdays, but has not yet received the green light to move forward with full testing. 

The decision from the PUC also means the horns at each A-line crossing will continue to sound at all hours of the day and night. Cross guard flaggers will also still be required at crossings on both the A and B-lines. 

It's not welcome news for business in Old Towne Arvada that are ready to start seeing the benefits of the Gold line. 

"It's definitely a waste of space at the moment. [I'd] like to see that changing sooner rather than later," said Kyle Gammage who works in Old Towne Arvada. 

"Disappointing to see it driving around with nobody on it and just not getting any closer," said Dan Ferrier who also works in Old Towne Arvada. 

RTD officials said they plan to put together a more detailed plan to prove to the PUC that the increased crossing times do improve safety. 

Officials also said they will continue to fine Denver Transit Partners, which at least check added up to more than $6 million. Denver Transit Partners is also responsible for paying for the crossing guard flaggers.