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I-70 Central Project in Northeast Denver

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Plutonic Panda:
Iím in complete agreement with that take. I was worried it was gonna be some environmentalist going on a rant that the road is destroying the environment or whatever.

Yes, the tolls need to be removed. Colorado lawmakers should implement a law that bans tolling in the state. Or at the least ban CDOT from installing toll lanes. I wouldnít have much of an issue with them if they did it in more appropriate situations. The rural interstates having 2 lanes each way with an added toll lane is just ridiculous. Colorado is a VERY wealthy state.

I-70 should be 4 lanes each way to Silverthorne and then 3 lanes each way all the way to Grand Junction. HSR needs to be built with MagLev tech used. That would completely solve traffic issues for the next 100 years. But I can already guess some the excuses that will be made at why that can not be.

Bobby5280:
America sucks at building high speed rail. That's the first excuse. And it's a legit excuse too. We can't build a true high speed rail line (a train line with top speeds of 300kph/186mph or more) without the effort just breaking the bank. The cost overrun problem is there even on flat land. The challenges just get even more ridiculous when uneven terrain is involved, like the rolling hills and valleys at the edge of the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies. Building a HSR line thru the Rockies? Holy cow.

There is no justification to build a high speed rail line from Denver to Grand Junction. The cost of the rail line would be absurdly extreme. A mag-lev based rail line would be much worse in terms of cost. What kind of ridership numbers could anyone expect for such a rail line? I'm scared to imagine what the train ticket prices would be.

I do agree about the toll lanes on the "expanded" portions of I-70 and I-25. I have no problem with tolled Lexus Lanes on a superhighway with good capacity on the free lanes. The LBJ Freeway in Dallas is a good example of express lanes done right. Part of I-820 in Fort Worth is an example of it done wrong. 2 free lanes in each direction and 2 toll lanes in each direction? That's stupid. The stuff they're doing in Colorado is even more stupid.

IMHO, a superhighway with tolled express lanes should have at least 3 free lanes in each direction, if not 4 or 5 lanes. I'm not a big fan of reversible express lanes. But I'll take those as a trade-off for allowing more free lanes to be built. Of course, I really don't like 11 foot wide skinny lanes. I think those are a cheat and they're dangerous.

Plutonic Panda:
Regarding HSR, Iíd imagine with the right alignment and amenities like park n ride stations itíd rival the NEC as one of the most used lines in the country. You are right about the expense and our complete incompetence when it comes to building them. My proposal for maglev would only extend into the mountains where most of the traffic is going, not to Grand Junction. The HSR pointing west would be to connect with a national HSR system hitting all cities and ridership goes up as more connections are added. Again thatís the least concern and Iím not worried if that never gets built. Iím more concerned about that areas all the commuters are to in the resort cities that are creating the real traffic issue.

Bring in Japan to help build the thing. The expense is worth it. We canít only keep adding new car lanes and I donít think even a 10 lane expansion would be sufficient. Iíve only been semi regularly using this road for the last 3 years and itís unbelievable how bad it is. Theyíre going to spend all this money on projects like the Floyd Hill expansion and accomplish absolutely nothing because one more lane way wonít cut it and a toll lane wonít do anything for anyone that isnít affluent. Itíll only boost the arguments the anti car nuts make about how widening freeways does nothing.

Bobby5280:
Even IF the US could successfully build out a proper true high speed rail network the passengers on those trains would primarily be people who take short to medium distance air flights. High speed rail is just not a substitute for most of the kind of trips people take in their motor vehicles.

In a metro like Denver, the vast majority of vehicles on the freeways are owned by people who live in the metro or live in that general region. High speed rail serves a completely different purpose than mass transit rail (like NYC's subway network) and regional rail service (like the Long Island Railroad, Metro North, New Jersey Transit). Amtrak's Metroliner and Acela runs significantly longer distances between train stations. That longer distance between stations is mandatory for a train to achieve true high speed rail speeds.

It takes considerable time/distance for a train like the TGV in France to hit 300kph speeds and just as much time/distance to slow down before the next stop. It would be ridiculous for anyone to suggest a local subway or light rail line inside a big city could reach true high speeds. The laws of physics say NO to that.

Japan's Shinkansen network had to pass through a LOT of tunnels and along a LOT of elevated viaducts. Much of the original high speed network was built around 50 or so years ago when bridges and tunnels cost a lot less to build. That HSR "network" consists of one primary line running from Kagoshima in the South up to Hakodate a short distance onto the North island of Hokkaido. And then there are three shorter spur routes. Ridership is high on those trains because the Shinkansen's main route goes through a lot of densely populated areas. Japan has 145,000 square miles of land, home to 125 million people. Montana covers 147,000 square miles. Most of Japan's population is concentrated along its Southeast-facing coast. The Shinkansen system is also successful because much of Japan is covered by slower speed passenger rail service and local mass transit trains. In the US the region around NYC is the only place that offers somewhat comparable passenger rail coverage to that in Japan.

Despite all that, Japan has lots of highways, even freeways and toll roads.

Japan is a pretty mountainous country. But its mountains aren't as big as the Rockies. The Shinkansen goes through a lot of modest sized mountains and hillsides, but much of the main line's length doesn't go far from the coast. There aren't as many big elevation changes like you would see crossing Colorado.

If I wanted to sight-see the Rockies via a train I wouldn't want to do it via a high speed rail line. A bunch of the ride going thru the Rockies would be inside long tunnels. If someone wants to look at mountain vistas from a train I'd advise them to check out the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.

Denver would have to radically expand its local mass transit rail system to get more vehicles off the highways. And even then they're probably going to have to keep adding more lanes to its super highways.

zzcarp:

--- Quote from: Bobby5280 on February 16, 2023, 12:39:35 AM ---Denver would have to radically expand its local mass transit rail system to get more vehicles off the highways. And even then they're probably going to have to keep adding more lanes to its super highways.

--- End quote ---

The Denver metro already spends twice as much as CDOT's budget each year on RTD which runs the light rail/commuter rail system (depending on which line to which you refer). They tried giving away RTD rides for free last August. While ridership increased, it's still not nearly to pre-COVID levels and RTD is cutting more and more lines. We're not dense enough with city centers to support the lines we have now.

 There is a ski train from Union Station in Denver to Winter Park, but it only runs January to March (I don't know ridership figures). To run a rail line, monorail, maglev, or any other scheme from Denver up to the I-70 mountain ski resorts, that's a $30 billion investment (basically one year of the entire state budget) to create a train system that would be basically empty except for weekends. Such a train wouldn't even be able to serve the heavy hiking interests - they wouldn't run early enough to climb a summer 14er (you need to start well before dawn so you can be down the mountain below treeline before noon due to lightning), nor would it get you even close to nearly any of the trailheads. A busline many allow more flexibility, but I-70 needs to be expanded to make that really work.

Plus, any mass transit option doesn't allow you to bring your dog along due to Federal regulations, so it's a non-starter for me for hiking. Colorado's one of the most dog-friendly states I know, and I suggest many other hikers would forgo the transit option in order to bring their Fido along.

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