Denver Union Station: A Real Transportation CenterNovember 12, 2014 12 comments Print Article
No 'Regional Transportation Intermodal, Multimodal, International, Governor, Mayor, or General so-and-so Memorial, All Purpose, Transportation Palace.' Just DENVER UNION STATION and that says it all in The Mile High City. Metro Jacksonville's Robert Mann takes us on a stroll through a stunningly amazing place to catch a ride, play, eat, read, shop or hook up in the heart of Denver. If we're lucky, we'll discover some lessons that will be applicable for Jacksonville.
Photographic Tour of Denver's Union Terminal Station
Walking from east to west through the terminal, from entry, to waiting room, to shops, hotel, restaurant, out the back doors onto the concourse where we wander a bit before moving into the subterranean bus zones below the trains. We'll pass the bus gates and up the escalators into the light-rail/shuttle bus platforms. No 'Dolly Trolley' potato-chip-trucks; no modern name; no separate stations; no roads; no fancy elevated walkways, no bland Soviet era architecture.
The sidewalk across the LoDo (Lower Downtown) Denver, is sprouting new office towers like a lawn seeded in Winter Rye. Why? MASS TRANSIT!
Along the south wing of the front of the station, fountains attract all manner of folks from children dancing in the water in the summer to young couples enjoying the sights and sounds over lunch.
The entry vestibules are placed at the four corners of the main section of the station, a section about 1/2 the size of Jacksonville's grand old terminal.
Everyone I witnessed, from Medellin, Columbia, to Seattle, entering the station experienced a moment of awe, prepared to be dazzled by Denver! What will it take for Jacksonville's proposed Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center (JRTC) to provide its users with a similar experience?
Denver Union Station is a one stop masterpiece. The architectural attention to detail, the mixing of the very old with 'Star Trek' renders an exciting appeal that lifts your eyes to soak it all in. Compare this with the 'Post Revolutionary Cuban,' appeal of the 'Good Enough' solutions typically provided for Jacksonville's mass transit users.
Phil Washington, general manager of the Denver Regional Transportation District, said: "From the start, we made it clear we weren't competing with the car," says Washington. "And we explained, to the average Joe, that for only four cents on most ten dollar purchases, he'd be getting a whole lot of new transportation."
Nested in a sea of shining glass towers, bred by transportation perfection as opposed to purchasing all of the adjacent land and developing a bus version of the Vatican City in the center of a desert, this station works and when it is filled with trains, light-rail and buses, it is going to flow as God and John Droege intended.