Denver Union Station Update #126

Transit Center Grand Opening – Preview

It’s been an amazing four years watching the new Denver Union Station Transit Center take shape. Friday, May 9, 2014, is the Denver Union Station Transit Center grand opening celebration!

Back in March 2010, as construction had just started on the half-billion dollar project, our first Union Station Update post simply stated that DenverInfill had the Denver Union Station project covered, and indeed we did. Here we are, 125 Union Station Update posts later, and that doesn’t count the dozens of posts related to the real estate developments associated with the Union Station project or the dozens of posts before March 2010 related to the planning of the project. Over at DenverUrbanism, we’ve also covered aspects of the Union Station project with numerous updates, such as Shawn’s recent post on the station’s history. Altogether, we’ve served up around 200 posts and over 1,000 photos on the Union Station project. My thanks to all of our DenverInfill and DenverUrbanism bloggers for their dedicated enthusiasm in covering this project!

Then there were our DenverInfill walking tours of the project starting in October 2010. Since then, it has been my pleasure to have led over 50 free tours for the general public, sharing information about Union Station with over 1,200 people. And, due to the generous donations tour attendees offered at the end of these tours, we raised over $7,000 for the non-profit Union Station Advocates and the CU-Denver student chapter of the American Planning Association. To everyone… THANK YOU! Some new version of our DenverInfill walking tour that will focus on general planning and development issues in the Lower Downtown/Union Station area is in the works for later this summer. Stay tuned…

Here’s a quick summary of the May 9 Transit Center Grand Opening festivities:

The celebration—open to the public—will take place from 11 AM to 6 PM in and around the 17th Street Promenade, the new public space above the underground Bus Concourse between Wewatta and Chestnut streets. The official ribbon-cutting and speech-making ceremony will run from Noon to 1 PM. Food, beverages, and other fun activities will be available including, of course, free tours of the new Transit Center facilities. For more information about the party and the Union Station Transit Center, check out RTD’s new Union Station page. It’s pretty slick and offers a lot of cool maps and diagrams about the new Transit Center, such as the one below, courtesy of RTD (click on the image to embiggen or click here to download it as a high-resolution PDF):


During the weekend celebration, buses will continue to use Market Street Station. In the early morning on Sunday, May 11, Market Street Station will close forever and buses will start using the Union Station Transit Center’s new underground Bus Concourse.

What about the historic station? The restoration of the historic station building is still ongoing and will not open on May 9. However, the completion of the historic station’s renovation and the grand opening of the Crawford Hotel and many of the dozen shops and restaurants inside the station isn’t far off: July 12, 2014. A big public celebration of the historic station’s opening will take place at that time.

The remaining public component of the Union Station project to open is Wynkoop Plaza, Downtown’s newest public space featuring a grand fountain in a beautiful granite-paved plaza. Parts of Wynkoop Plaza in front of the two new wing buildings are already open. The rest of Wynkoop Plaza, including the fountain, is supposed to open sometime in June 2014. That gives us yet another Union Station celebration to look forward to!

Once the historic station opens in July, the next big grand opening event at Union Station will be the launch of RTD’s East Line commuter rail service to Denver International Airport. Leaving from Track #1 under Union Station’s dramatic white canopy and arriving at DIA’s under-construction hotel and transit center, the East line is currently scheduled to begin service in March 2016. That’s only 22 months away!

Have fun this weekend at the Transit Center grand opening and look for additional DenverInfill and DenverUrbanism posts on this weekend’s festivities over the next few days!


  1. Jason May 8, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Huh. The graphic notes 2 Grayhound lines will use the bus terminal. Is that true?

    • Ken Schroeppel May 8, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      RTD won’t be using all of the gates. A few of the gates have been reserved for commercial carriers to stop at, including Greyhound and, as was recently reported, the new CDOT intercity buses that will basically replacing the FREX service.

      • Nathanael May 12, 2014 at 5:22 pm

        Greyhound is being weird about its routes. Some runs will stop at Union Station, others won’t — even on what is essentially the same route. (Greyhound did this in St. Paul MN as well.)

        I guess the runs which will stop at Union Station are roughly the runs which used to pick up at Amtrak or Market St. Most of these double as “Amtrak Thruway Buses”.

        Timetables 364, 467, and 555 list the Greyhound buses which used to stop at the Amtrak Station or at Market St. Station. I suppose new schedules will come out eventually; Greyhound is awful about publishing schedules.

  2. TT May 8, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Any idea what is going to happen to the Market Street bus station now that RTD will no longer be there? Are there any development plans?

    • Ken Schroeppel May 8, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      For the next year or so it will be temporarily used as a public parking facility. Then the Union Station Neighborhood Company will acquire the block and redevelop it over the next several years into probably two mixed-use buildings including some type of public plaza.

      • Jeffrey May 9, 2014 at 11:45 am

        A public plaza? Well, hopefully without all the clutter we have on 16th Street (two-dimensional metal cutouts of buffalo, a wooden pillar with holes, etc.). In Europe many cities have well-paved and clutter-free plazas.

  3. TakeFive May 9, 2014 at 12:38 am

    “Hello, Union. Goodbye, Market.”
    Amazing to think that Market Street Station has been there 30 years.

    Thinking back… Actually, more fun to think ahead and envision what downtown Denver will be like 30 years from now?

    • TakeFive May 9, 2014 at 1:02 am

      Side Topic: For anyone who hasn’t seen the latest “Fastracks Annual Video,” check it out here: It features Nettie Moore; she’s my transit Rock Star.

  4. Jc May 11, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    I am so excited to have seen this all happening since I moved here in 2010! I had moved here from NYC where of course we had the iconic Grand Central Station all hustling and bustling and beautiful. Once here in Denver, I would always jog past Union Station and think how ugly and sad the parking lot surrounding that beautiful structure was and think how much of a shame it was that the Station’s train hall was in such a state of neglect. And here we are, two months from such a glorious revival and best of all, the grand opening is on my birthday!!! Best birthday gift I could ask for this year.

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