AURORA | Aurora residents can be forgiven if they were a little jealous as they watched light-rail trains roll through the suburbs west of Denver a few years back.
And while many may still be perturbed that the metro’s biggest suburb, the state’s third-largest city and home to the booming Anschutz Medical Campus got snubbed for that first run of trains, the days of feeling left out are over.
This week, Aurora’s very own R Line — which snakes along Interstate 225, connecting the existing Nine Mile station with the A-Line to the airport — opens.
Finally, Aurora residents have plenty of options if they want to hop a train into Downtown Denver, or even ride the rails from Aurora to DIA without having to trek all the way to Union Station.
So, let’s say you live in one of those southeast Aurora enclaves like Mission Viejo, Saddlerock, or even one of the more far-flung neighborhoods near Southlands. And from that neighborhood you’d like to get downtown for dinner and a show, or to DIA to catch a flight out of town. Here are the details you’ll need to make that trek along the city’s shiny, new public transit system.
First you need to decide which station you’re going to start from. If you live in the city’s southeastern reaches, the best bet is probably the stop at East Iliff Avenue and I-225, or the Nine Mile Station at Parker Road and I-225.
If you select Nine Mile, you will have more than 1,200 parking spots to choose from. Or you could hop on your bike and lock it at one of the station’s 16 bike racks.
Parking your car at Nine Mile is free for the first 24 hours if you live in the RTD service area. If you call Mission Viejo or the vast majority of Aurora zip codes home, you likely do live in that service area. But to be safe, check out rtd-denver.com/HowToPark for details.
If you opt for the new Iliff Park-and-Ride station, which is run by the city of Aurora, you have about 600 parking spots to choose from, and it will cost you $3 per day.
Once you have your car parked or your bike locked up, you’re gonna need to buy a ticket. If all you’re looking to do is cruise along the R-Line, maybe to Anschutz or all the way down to Park Meadows, it’s gonna cost you $2.60 per person for a one-way fare.
If you’d like to ride the train to the airport it’s $9, but that covers your ride on the R Line as well as the A Line, which you will transfer to at the Peoria stop at the end of the R Line.
If you’d like to ride from Aurora into downtown you’ll have to pay for a regional fare, $4.50 each way. Then you need to hop on one of the existing lines headed into Downtown Denver. You can make that switch at Nine Mile, the Dayton Street stop or several others along Interstate 25.
If you want to ride the whole length of the R Line — that means from the Peoria stop near Peoria and Interstate 70 all the way down to the Lincoln Street stop near Lincoln and I-25 in Douglas County — it’ll take you about 55 minutes. The train will reach speeds of about 55 mph along the 10 new miles of track through Aurora.
Depending on the time of day, you shouldn’t have to wait long to catch a train at any of the eight new R Line stations. From 4 a.m. to 5 a.m., there’s a train every half hour. During the peak times from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., a train will pull up every 15 minutes. For the late-night crowd from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., a train arrives every 30 minutes.
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