For many people considering taking light rail transportation to south Metro Denver areas, such as Lone Tree, “the last mile” could be the make-or-break decision about leaving their car at home: …
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DRCOG — or the Denver Regional Council of Governments — was formed in 1955 when Denver Mayor Quigg Newton invited officials from surrounding counties to share concerns about common issues. Through collaboration and planning, county leaders addressed issues such as transportation and personal mobility, growth and development, and aging and disability resources.
DRCOG serves as a regional planning commission and forum for member governments and provides technical assistance for the region, known as Metro Vision.
DRCOG members include 10 counties and 49 municipalities along the Front Range, according to the DRCOG mission statement. They include Douglas County, along with Lone Tree, Parker, Castle Pines and Castle Rock.
For many people considering taking light rail transportation to south Metro Denver areas, such as Lone Tree, “the last mile” could be the make-or-break decision about leaving their car at home: When they get off the train, how will they get to their final destination?
The City of Lone Tree’s answer: the Lone Tree Link, which since 2014 has offered a free shuttle service from the Lincoln station to the city’s three major employers — Sky Ridge Medical Center, Charles Schwaab and Park Ridge Corporate Center. In 2017, the city also launched Link on Demand, a second, free door-to-door on-demand ride service within the city through an Uber partnership.
“I love the Link service, I use it all the time,” said Sandra Connor, who travels from the Denver Tech Center to Lone Tree weekly for appointments. “I don’t have to worry about driving and whether or not the weather is bad when I get there.”
The program won Lone Tree the Denver Regional Council of Governments’ DRCOG Metro Vision award, which is given to cities that create innovative solutions that help promote the long-range plan for the Denver region.
Lone Tree was one of eight cities to receive the award at an April 25 ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Denver that drew more than 400 people.
Jeff Holwell, economic development director for Lone Tree, said the Link service transports about 350 people each day between the Lincoln station and the three campuses. The service is paid for by a partnership among the city, Sky Ridge, Charles Schwab and Park Ridge.
“Last year we had over 82,000 boardings,” said Holwell. “That benefits the city by taking cars off the road and helps our primary employers with getting people to work. It solves the last-mile problem of transit from rail stations.”
According to Holwell, Link was developed to be a temporary solution, with a four-year contract set to end about the time the new Southeast rail line extensions open in 2019. The program will evolve to address new issues after that.
“We are very pleased to be recognized by DRCOG and our partners for the 2018 Metro Vision Award,” Holwell said. “More importantly, we’re thankful that it’s been a great success to the partnership.”
Brad Calvert, planning and development director for DRCOG, said it’s important to recognize creative solutions to transportation challenges.
“We live in a region that is changing rapidly and we need to develop programs that create liveable regions around the state,” Calvert said. “Lone Tree saw a need—the last mile—and created a flexible program that addressed the need and found a solution. They’ve made it easy for employees to get to work and to enjoy a safe, pleasant commute.”
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