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RTD faces delays in timeline to tackle crime, overhaul transit environment at Union Station

RTD shares updates in its timeline to tackle crime, overhaul transit environment
Posted at 6:22 PM, Jun 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-10 20:42:36-04

DENVER — Denver's central transit hub, Union Station, is weathering the changes of a complete overhaul, but the pandemic is now impacting that overhaul's timeline, according to RTD leadership.

"I found out that we have been notified that we should have the doors for the restrooms within eight weeks," said RTD CEO and general manager Debra Johnson during Denver's Streets for People Summit on Thursday.

Restrooms inside Union Station's underground bus concourse have been closed since Dec. 2021 after trace levels of fentanyl were found on surfaces. In March, RTD said they hoped to have restrooms reopened by the end of the second quarter.

Following Johnson's public comments, Denver7 confirmed with a RTD spokesperson that the timeline for the restrooms to reopen had been pushed to August.

For some commuters who frequently rely on transit services, the delays have been frustrating.

"I'm 67 years old, and I could use a bathroom on my trip. It takes me two hours to go where I'm going," one man said. "I rely on a bathroom, and now I'm disposed to wander around in the streets and use other restaurants and things, ask them to use their bathroom. So it gets a little transient for even people that are paying the fare."

Despite this inconvenience, the man said he's hopeful RTD's planned overhaul of Union Station's underground terminal will make him feel safer.

"When you go places, you see people making drug transactions," he said. "So you have to walk a gauntlet to get through, to take the escalator down and get your job or to go to work. So it's unpleasant."

Over the next 12 to 16 months, RTD plans to make areas of the underground bus concourse only accessible to customers who have tickets.

On Friday, an RTD spokesperson told Denver7 the overhaul will require additional infrastructure, such as ticket vending machines at the various entry points.