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University light-rail station opens

The University of Denver light-rail station opened Nov. 17. Photo: Michael Richmond

Commuters to and from DU got some relief from traffic and parking woes when the University of Denver light-rail station opened Nov. 17.

The station and accompanying 540-vehicle parking garage are located at the intersection of East Buchtel Boulevard and South Race Street near Centennial Towers and the Ritchie Center.

“I think the entire DU community is excited to have light rail at our doorstep,” says Neil Krauss (MA ’94, MS ’96), assistant vice chancellor of business and financial affairs. “Light-rail and bus service are a true viable alternative to driving our cars.”

DU officials say the station will benefit students who want access to downtown Denver and other locations, commuting employees and visitors who attend DU athletic and cultural events.

In its first two months of operation, an average of 1,794 people used the University of Denver Station daily, according to the Regional Transportation District (RTD). By 2020, RTD projects that an average of 3,650 riders will use the DU station each weekday.

The station is one of 13 new light-rail stops constructed as part of the $1.67 billion Transportation Expansion (T-REX) project, which added another four light-rail lines and 11 bus routes in the metro area.

University of Denver students and benefited employees receive annual transit passes that allow them to ride buses and light-rail trains for free, and 474 employees have pledged to use alternative transportation at least once a week. By using alternative transportation methods, in 2006 those commuters reduced single-occupancy vehicle trips by 18,000 — 356,000 miles — and saved more than $186,000 in fuel costs.

With the addition of light rail, DU’s Commute Club expects those numbers to grow.

“It’s very convenient and easy to use,” says junior business major Kathy Dam. “Now that I’ve tried it and am comfortable with it, I’ll be using it more.”

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