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RTD says Denver's tall buildings to blame for some A-Line issues; G-Line could open early next year

Posted: 5:07 PM, Dec 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-18 06:05:41Z
Emails reveal internal RTD strife over A-Line

DENVER – The long-awaited Regional Transportation District G-Line could open in the first quarter of next year to commuters in Denver’s northwest suburbs if federal regulators accept its action plan, according to the plan submitted last Friday.

The plan also says that high-rise growth in downtown Denver has led to GPS problems that have led to a plague of issues with crossing gates and wait times.

The plan, released Monday to Denver7 after it was submitted Friday to federal regulators , came after the Federal Railroad Administration in November wrote to RTD saying crossing times were outside of federally-mandated ranges and demanded a new action plan.

RTD and its contractor, Denver Transit Partners, have been scrutinized for years over delays on the EAGLE Project, which is made up of the A-Line, G-Line and B-Line. RTD threatened to terminate its contract with DTP in October over ongoing delays on the G-Line.

But the action plan sent to the feds says RTD is “prepared” to start service on the G-Line in the first quarter of next year if “multiple stakeholders” cooperate with the plan and the FRA approves it.

Part of the issues with warning sirens and crossing gates stems from a GPS issue, the action plan said.

“There are a few PTC initialization issues each day due to poor reception of GPS signal. This increases PTC cut outs for the first section of the train trip and in some cases causes a longer warning time at York crossing once the train initializes at 38th/Blake station,” the action plan says.

“The project team will evaluate remedies such as Radio Frequency repeaters of GPS signal to improve reception in the platforms,” it continues. “This evaluation would be completed in January 2019 and specific implementation plans developed in the following month for the viable solutions that are identified.”

RTD says its senior leadership team will be meeting weekly with DTP to track progress and reevaluate the plan.

“The next objective of RTD’s oversight – beyond ensuring safe, reliable service – is to ensure that each month’s availability payment reflects DTP’s actual performance,” the plan states in its executive order.

RTD plans to host a news conference about the plan on Tuesday, the organization said Monday afternoon.

Timeline of Issues

April 2016 - RTD and DTP have paid for human flaggers to provide extra security at all crossing since the A Line opened, after state and federal regulators first noticed timing issues. RTD has previously estimated the cost of those flaggers at several million dollars per month .

October 2016 - RTD decided to stop testing on the G Line , connecting Wheat Ridge and Arvada to downtown Denver, because of the ongoing timing issues.

January 2018 - Testing on the G Line resumed , but no date has been set for the line to finally be finished and opened to the public.

April 2018 – RTD riders recount being stuck on the A line for four hours to Contact7 Investigates.

July 2018 – RTD started removing human flaggers from the A Line, only to have them added back after noticing a glitch at some gates.

October 2018 – RTD threatens to terminate its contract with DTP over ongoing G Line delays.

October 2018 – RTD threatens to terminate its contract with DTP over ongoing G Line delays.