RTD faced with questions of safety
RTD faces pressure after accident this month
A pedestrian was struck and killed on Oct. 4 while trying to cross in front of the RTD train at the crossing at South Santa Fe Drive and West Bayaud Avenue. According to Denver Police the pedestrian was distracted and made the crossing illegally.
This is the second time a pedestrian was struck and killed at this location this year, the last being in late August. Police have noted that they believe this wasn’t intentional, unlike the one in August which was a planned suicide. 9 News reported that investigators still are unaware who was at fault but have spoken to the possibility that there may have been an issue with the automatic crossing guards; however, they cannot confirm this.
The fatality marks the second crash involving an RTD train and civilians this month, most recently on Oct. 14, near Speer Boulevard and Stout Street next to the Colorado Convention Center. In that incident, a vehicle failed to stop near the train intersection and drove into the side of the train. Unlike the incident on Oct. 4, no one was injured. This, however, is the third incident in the last two months involving a vehicle and the RTD tram at Speer Boulevard and Stout Street, the others being in September.
A number of suicides have also occurred on the tracks of RTD, most recently on Aug. 31.
According to RTD, 2.92 million people use and benefit from the RTD system. This means more and more people will find themselves using the RTD system, which consists of trains, buses, and even bikes. With the increasing population in Denver, RTD has had to adapt by increasing the availability and locations of tram and bus trips, along with hiring more drivers and maintenance crew. This has been made possible with their increased budget of $626.1 million in 2017, compared to the year previous, which was $563 million. There’s no known connection between the new additions and the increase in incidents, but this hasn’t stopped the increase of use.
With students paying for the RTD pass with their student fees, RTD has become a large part of many students’ lives. Havid Alsheri, a junior studying business, has used the train for the last three years, practically retiring his car in favor for the RTD. “I love it,” Alsheri said. “Sure, I have to plan a little bit more than if I was just driving, but it saves me money.”
Naomi Sanches, a junior studying English and education, had more of a mixed reaction. “I love the tram, but every now and then, I get nervous something is going to happen,” Sanches said.
The RTD system for most Auraria Campus students is vital for their commute to school. Over 100,000 students use the tram and buses, according to RTD. Despite the rising concerns, RTD has reassured commuters, especially students, that safety is their number one priority.