Denver—May 9, 2014 –The Regional Transportation District (RTD) and its many partners in the redevelopment of Denver Union Station celebrated the grand opening of the Union Station Bus Concourse today with great fanfare. Hundreds of people gathered for a ceremony to see a host of federal and local dignitaries cut the ribbon to officially open the bright, new bus facility.
The bus concourse is a part of the Union Station Transit Center, which also includes light rail, Amtrak and new commuter rail lines, which open in 2016. The 22-gate, underground bus concourse will begin service on May 11, when Market Street Station permanently closes after 30 years.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx was scheduled to attend the ceremony, but was unable to leave Washington, D.C. this morning. Several officials and partners in the Union Station project spoke at the ceremony, reflecting on the significance of the Union Station project.
“It’s hard to overstate the impact that this rebirth of Denver Union Station is going to have on downtown, the region and the state,” said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. “The sight of construction cranes and buildings going up all around us is a strong indicator of the economic impact already underway.”
Both of Colorado’s U.S. senators also characterized the impact.
"From Colorado's earliest days through today, Union Station has played a vital role in connecting our people, businesses and economy to the broader world," U.S. Senator Mark Udall said. "The redevelopment of Union Station is one of the most ambitious transit projects in the world, and this key investment will allow us to keep driving commerce, creating jobs and positioning Colorado to win the global economic race. I have been proud to lead this effort alongside state and local leaders, which shows that even in tough budgetary times, Coloradans can work together find solutions."
“Today’s grand opening of Denver’s Union Station pays homage to the legacy of the miners and pioneers who understood what a magnificent future lay ahead for the tiny settlement of Denver,” U.S. Senator Michael Bennet said. “With investments from federal, local, and private partners, Denver has built a new type of transit hub that sets the standard – and raises the bar – for every city in America.”
Representative Diane DeGette spoke of the historical importance of Denver Union Station. “Denver Union Station has been an icon of transportation for more than a century. Over the decades, the intercity trains that came in and out of this historic station transported the good people of Colorado to see the world and back, and have brought visitors to our thriving city.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock praised the regional collaboration that was central to making the project a reality. “There would have been no FasTracks without the participation of our neighbors and partners, without the region coming together and saying, ‘We need this to take us all to the next level.’ The same is true for Denver Union Station. We would not be here opening this breathtaking project without that same kind of regional cooperation. This regional transit hub will help us provide a healthy, livable and connected city, and I’m proud to say, today, we are showing the world how it’s done.”
RTD Board Chair Chuck Sisk spoke about the impact of RTD’s FasTracks transit expansion program and the role of Denver Union Station as a hub of the public transportation network.
“This opening represents another giant step in fulfilling the RTD Board’s unwavering commitment to complete the FasTracks program as we build out our transit network across the region,” said RTD Board Chair Chuck Sisk. “We still have work to do, but with the dedication and focus of the RTD staff, and continued collaboration of our regional partners, I’m confident we’ll get this whole system built out sooner rather than later.”
As a part of the grand opening celebration, a street fair on 17th and Wewatta streets features guided tours of the bus concourse and a chance to hop on a new Free MetroRide bus, the new RTD service between Union Station and Civic Center Station that begins May 12. The festival, which goes until 6 p.m., also features booths, games, live entertainment, food trucks and a beer garden sponsored by Wynkoop Brewery, with proceeds benefitting the Colorado Neurological Institute.