Parker Town Council members aired grievances in their first meeting with the town's newly elected RTD director, who was joined by a colleague in promising to work on improving service to the town. …
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Parker Town Council members aired grievances in their first meeting with the town's newly elected RTD director, who was joined by a colleague in promising to work on improving service to the town.
Julien Bouquet, the director who represents Parker and the rest of District G on the RTD board, spoke to councilmembers in an April 26 work session about where RTD stands with the pandemic and what it is focusing on moving forward.
Bouquet said there is a chance that Route P, a bus line taking residents from Parker to downtown Denver, will return in September. The route was suspended last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We don't know how many people are often going to be actually going to the office, that's why it has a delay of potentially resuming in September based on where the studies are and the data that they're finding,” Bouquet said.
Route 483, which runs between the Lincoln Light Rail station and the Nine Mile Light Rail Station in Aurora, via Lincoln Avenue and Parker Road, was approved to return in June.
The next step for RTD in the town is to host listening sessions within the community, Bouquet said.
“I believe that if demand is heard enough, that's something I can fight for on the board,” Bouquet said.
Fellow RTD board member Doug Tisdale, who represents parts of Douglas County in District H, also attended the meeting.
“(Fostering) partnerships, that's what we're all about, that's what we've pledged, and that's what we will in fact provide,” Tisdale said.
Tisdale added that he agrees that the amount of service given to Douglas County is not equitable.
“I agree with that observation, I support that observation,” he said. “It is not fair, it has to be adjusted.”
Tisdale said he and Bouquet are pledged to address that issue.
“We've already done it with Route 483, we hope to do that in September with Route P and to keep vibrant service in Parker and to expand where we can,” he said.
State Rep. Kim Ransom recently put to rest a bill that, if approved in the state Legislature, would have allowed Parker residents to vote on whether they would leave the district. After hearing assurances from RTD in a committee meeting for the bill that they would work to improve service to the town, she said she would temporarily shelve the bill.
“I will be here next year and this bill will come back if RTD doesn't pull through with the promises that we all heard them make today,” Ransom said in the April 20 committee meeting.
Toborg said during the April 26 work session that he would hold Ransom to that plan.
“We are done messing around with RTD,” Toborg said.
Other council members had the opportunity to voice their frustrations with the transportation district.
“You have so many times said you were going to increase service,” Councilmember Cheryl Poage said. “This has been going on for years. Nothing has happened.”
Councilmember Todd Hendreks spoke about the disappointment of many town residents and said while he hopes to see Route P return, he's not sure it will be enough.
“People … don't understand why we're still in this partnership,” he said. “It's frustrating to people.”
Councilmember Laura Hefta, who said she used to ride the P bus, emphasized the importance of bringing that service back.
“Many people ride that P bus,” she said. “That's a really important bus for a lot of folks going downtown.”
Poage said to get the town to engage with RTD, they would have to come up with something new. Councilmember John Diak also said he hopes to see some out-of-the-box thinking.
“Instead of mass transit, the focus should be on mobility,” Diak said.
During his presentation, Bouquet said that RTD is exploring collaborations with rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft.
In response to the questions and comments, Bouquet said RTD is dedicated to improving its relationship with the town.
The Ransom bill “is a big wake-up call — the Town of Parker is serious,” he said. “Now we have started listening. We're continuing to listen.”
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