DENVER (KDVR) — A few months ago the union representing RTD called Union Station a “lawless hellhole.” Since then, several travelers have expressed growing concern of about drug use and a rise in crime.
While Union Station remains in the negative spotlight, it is considered by many to be a tourist destination and attraction for the city.
According to Trip Advisor, Union Station ranks 19 out of 255 to things to do in Denver. Out of 3,370 reviews, the attraction gets 4.5 out of 5 stars.
If you scroll through recent reviews on Trip Advisor, you will find a wide variety of both enjoyment and concern.
A review posted on Trip Advisor this month gave Union Station a 1 out 5 rating.
“My family and I were really excited to to go visit Union Station. Having been form KC it’s the heart of the city. We were so disappointed. We visited on a really cold day. Apparently it’s ok for the homeless to over run the station. They were laying on the inside benches/chairs, wheelchairs were blocking the paths, and to top it all off the smell inside was horrendous. My family and I could not even enjoy the experience,” shared Armyjojo from Tucson, Arizona.
Another review posted in January gave Union Station a 5 out of 5 rating.
“If you are in the area might as well go visit. Fun little shops inside, coffee, food, bars. Been once and that’s all I need to visit,” shared Nicole E. from Springville, Utah.
Allison D. from Norfolk, Virginia rated her experience at Union Station a 1 out of 5, calling it “horrible.”
“No understanding how this could be the #1 indoor attraction in Denver. We paid $10 to park for 20 min and rode up in an elevator puddled with urine. Upon entry, the security guard told us we had to buy something in order to use the bathroom. Then we realized the amount of homeless people occupying the place and why there were puddles of pee in the elevator. Overall, this place has a sad/weird vibe and not sure why it would be classified as something other than a glorified train station. Definitely not a place to “visit” except if you’re taking a train. Yuck!” Allison D. shared.
Another person from the United Kingdom shared a mixed review.
“I feel the need to reiterate other reviews and highlight the disparity that’s occurring at Union Station. We got the A-line (light rail) from DIA to Union Station, before jumping on a bus to the mountains. The light rail was clean and efficient, as was most of the upper level of the station. However, as we made our way to the lower level to catch a bus, we stepped into a totally different world. The elevator was disgusting: the stench made us gag, and there was trash everywhere. Downstairs at the bus bays, we found a large number of homeless/vagrants/drug users hanging out. We were an hour early and I felt unsafe waiting here so went back upstairs to find a restaurant and a bathroom. We chose ‘The Coloradan’ clearly a popular hipster hangout. It was immaculately clean and modern (worth noting the bathroom needs a retailer keycode) and I felt safe again. I’m a hypocrite: the sights and smells of the underbelly broke my heart, yet I couldn’t get away fast enough. As a visiting tourist – I strongly suggest Denver sort this out.As a human being – I implore Denver to seek a solution for these ‘lost souls’ (reviewer Lindz4493). A transit centre security van sits opposite the entrance to the lower level. I did not see any security staff,” shared the reviewer.
In January, the Denver City Attorney’s Office said the city has been working closely with RTD to restore Denver Union Station as a safe, secure, and welcoming facility.
“Since November, the Denver Police Department has increased enforcement efforts, including hundreds of hours of overtime in January alone and hundreds of arrests over the past few months. The City and RTD are also working on several other actions that can be taken to improve safety, including increasing efforts to address drug use, drug dealing, and improper behavior in and around Denver Union Station,” the city attorney’s office added.
In January, Union Station sent FOX31 a statement: “The historic Denver Union Station building – which encompasses the Great Hall, The Crawford Hotel, as well as partner dining establishments and retail spaces – is a privately leased, privately operated entity. The Denver Union Station Alliance contracts an independent security team to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for our guests, our associates, and the community within our space. We support the ongoing efforts of the Denver Police Department and RTD who manage the security of the public transit areas and outdoor plazas.”