The Train That Saved Denver

May 23, 2016

By Colin Woodard, Politco Magazine

A decade ago, travelers arriving at Denver’s sprawling new airport would look out over a vast expanse of flat, prairie dog-infested grassland and wonder if their plane had somehow fallen short of its destination. The $4.9 billion airport—at 53 square miles, larger than Manhattan—was derided as being “halfway to Kansas,” and given the emptiness of the 23-mile drive to the city, it felt that way.Website Insert 5000 New Seats copy

Last month, arriving visitors boarded the first trains headed for downtown, a journey that zips past a new Japanese-style “smart city” emerging from the prairie before depositing passengers 37 minutes later in a bustling urban hive of restaurants, shops and residential towers that only six years ago was a gravelly no man’s land—an entire $2 billion downtown neighborhood that’s mushroomed up around the hub of Denver’s rapidly expanding light rail system.

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