Lone Tree Station
Is this the loneliest light rail station in America?
Lone Tree City Center Station sits on the Southeast Rail Line Extension which opened in 2019. It is the middle of three new light rail stations; the first, Sky Ridge, serves a large medical center and the end-of-line station, Ridgegate Parkway, features a 1,300 spot Park-n-Ride facility located just off I-25. In contrast, Lone Tree City Center station currently serves absolutely nothing.
The reasons for building the station are laudable; in the coming years the City of Lone Tree plans to build a ‘downtown core’ of mixed-use development around the station. The only issue is that construction, originally due to start in 2018, hasn’t even broken ground.
As well as the usual facilities found at light rail stations (canopies, ticket machines, MyRide readers, schedule boards and trash cans), the station features a stop sign for rail replacement buses and a turnaround from Sky Ridge Parkway – a single road that currently only leads back to the previous station at Sky Ridge.
Other than the road, the station is completely fenced off from the surrounding greenfield site. There is currently no reason for anyone to get off the train here.
So right now, it is clear that there is no use for Lone Tree City Center station. And yet it currently enjoys some of the best service on RTD’s system, courtesy of the E Line. On Fridays and Saturday the first train calls at 4:39am, with the last train stopping at 2:43am. That’s over 22 hours of service, and there’s a train every 15 minutes throughout most of the day.
Daily E Line Trains Calling at Lone Tree City Center Station
Mondays – Thursdays
That’s 997 ‘ghost trains’ on an average week or approx. 51,844 in a year!
Clearly over 50,000 trains decelerating and accelerating to stop at the station plus keeping all the lights on, the ticket vending machines operational and the trash collected is a tremendous waste of money per year. The station needs to be fenced off and mothballed until such a time as there is surrounding development to provide riders. Only then, should it be reactivated for service.