Thousands of new homes along frequent commuter rail


A G Line train at Denver’s Union Station with new apartments being constructed in the background. (Image: Denver Regional Transportation District)

Denver’s G Line, the region’s third commuter rail line which connects Union Station with the northwest suburbs of Arvada and Wheat Ridge, opened at the end of April, 15 years after the region passed its FasTracks ballot measure for transit expansion. The 11.2 mile line has eight stations and was part of the Eagle P3 public private partnership approved by the FTA in 2009 which also included the A Line (connecting Union Station and the airport) and the B Line (connecting Union Station and Westminster).

The line operates at 15 minute headways between 6 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., rare for a commuter system, and is expected to attract 9,000 riders and new development. To get ready for more housing units and commercial space, cities like Wheat Ridge passed a sales tax increase that funds infrastructure improvements in the station area. The hope is to lure outdoor recreation companies due to its proximity to trails and open space.

All along the corridor housing complexes are planned, under construction, or completed—almost 700 units at Arvada Ridge station, 1,350 at Olde Town station, 2,600 at Clear Creek and Federal stations. Acres of space will also be available in the future as businesses transition away from the station area and sites change hands. And places like Olde Town Arvada have seen an impact from $400 million in anticipatory private investment including a $700,000 jump in sales taxes since 2005, a year after FasTracks was passed.

All of the plans and programs have been carefully documented by the transit agency RTD for years to see the impact of these major capital investments. As of December of 2018, 42,920 units have been built or are planned near an RTD line. For more on gathering information about TOD in your area or keeping a TOD database, check out for The Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Development near DART Stations, Trends in TOD, or the City of Denver’s TOD Strategic Plan.

What’s new on the pod?

Last week, the transit provider in Richmond, VA—GRTC—announced a big increase in ridership across the city’s bus networks over the last year, bucking national trends. The reason? They invested in faster, more frequent, reliable service with the launch of a new bus rapid transit line and an entire network redesign. Learn more this month as we talk to planner Maritza Pechin on Building Better Communities with Transit. Catch this episode on Soundcloud, Stitcher, iTunes, Overcast or wherever you get your podcasts.

Recent TOD news

Here are a few things that have been happening this week with TOD projects across the country.

  • Massive new development planned near Dunwoody MARTA Station (Curbed Atlanta)
  • New developments near Vancouver Skytrain shaping the future (Daily Hive)
  • Mixed-use project at Nashville commuter rail station moves forward (Tennessean)
  • Chinatown wary of second Sound Transit station (Seattle Times)