Denver, RTD hoping to get downtown traffic moving faster

DENVER - The city of Denver and the Regional Transportation District are hoping a new and somewhat controversial plan can ease one of the Mile High City's biggest frustrations: downtown traffic.

The city is in the process of removing a lane of regular vehicle traffic on a number of streets downtown and replacing it with a dedicated bus lane and improved bike lanes.

The goal is to get more people out of their personal vehicles and make RTD's buses move quicker.

That's easier said than done, though.

First of all, not everyone likes the plan and wants more lanes for their vehicles.

Plus, RTD's ridership has hit a speed bump the last few years. In fact, in the last three years, boardings on buses, trains and commuter rail lines have decreased by about five million.

RTD is hoping that if its buses move faster, more people will use ride them and in turn, decrease traffic for those who do choose to drive themselves.

Thursday afternoon, RTD and a number of other groups staged an amazing race of sorts -- from Union Station to the Civic Center bus stop -- to see which group of people could make the trek the quickest: bus riders, walkers, a wheelchair user and bike riders.

The cyclists arrived the quickest, while the bus riders were the slowest.

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