why doesn't light rail serve Baker residents better?

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Baker has two light rail stops at its southern, currently non-residential, end: Broadway Station, south of I-25, and Alameda Station at South Cherokee and West Alaska; over the years many have asked,

shouldn’t there be a light rail stop more convenient to Baker residents?

a stop north of Alameda could have still been close to Broadway Marketplace yet the walk for many Baker residents would have been shorter; or a stop at approximately Third or Fourth Ave., so the reasoning goes, could have also delivered workers to and from the many industrial employers on Baker’s west side

this question came up again recently and here is somewhat informed and rather pessimistic answer …

the bluntest answer is that light rail wasn’t designed for us — while plenty of locals walk to the stations, light rail is mainly designed to shuttle suburban commuters to and from downtown and the Tech Center; and both stations are located where, but for the recession, we should have already have seen the beginnings of transit-oriented development (TOD) — a much higher density of employment, residential and commercial uses than are found anywhere in the rest of Baker; today, though, despite plenty of TOD plans, the only new nominally “TOD” construction has been at Broadway and Mississippi, almost a half mile walk from Broadway Station

of course, if there were a light rail stop at Third & Kalamath, we might well have seen TOD planning for that part of Baker as well; there has, in fact, been a fair amount of redevelopment near that intersection, but it was only in 2010 that the zoning along Santa Fe and Kalamath gained good support for mixed use; in the early 1990s, when light rail was being designed, the area was zoned mostly for industrial uses, and planners wouldn’t have considered it “TOD-viable”

as for adding a new station now, the first obstacle is operational; light rail requires a certain amount of separation, or “headway” between trains on a track; the narrow right-of-way that runs through Baker ties together several current and future lines, so an additional stop could slow the whole system

another factor is the political/economic status quo; it goes without saying that RTD is unlikely to consider a new station until the fate of FasTracks is settled, and RTD is already waiting until at least 2012 for a vote to resolve FasTracks’ huge funding gap; politics also figured into how the original stations were located … apparently a station north of Alameda was considered in the initial light rail design, but merchants to the south lobbied hard for the station, and won

transportation politics have also struck along Broadway/Lincoln, where the “Central Connector” was once proposed to tie Broadway station to the capitol area; for this route, planners considered both light rail and bus rapid transit (BRT — low-slung buses in dedicated lanes, designed to attract commuters for whom regular buses are too slow and "grungy"); still, neither would have been “for us” — in order to whisk suburbanites to and from downtown only a small number of stops were planned, frustrating local residents and merchants who had hoped it would stop at every block; and in any case the powers that be — commercial interests in downtown and/or along Broadway — objected and killed the Central Connector

the only possibility for more mass transit in Baker that may actually be on the horizon seems to be the much-murmured "streetcar" concept; often mentioned as a possibility for Colfax, streetcars could also extend south along Broadway/Lincoln from the capitol, and would serve locals much better than either light rail or BRT; the raw political feasibility seems to be in place (especially with the merchant mix on Broadway increasingly claiming they won’t need more parking because people will walk to their venues); so a Central Connector may rise from the dead, but don't get your hopes up — it won't do much for Baker‘s west side, and economic fog still shrouds all views of Baker’s mass transit future