Can commuter rail save our suburbs?

By Patrick Sisson, Curbed; October 8, 2019

The mural, a train trailed by ribbons of color, is wholesome enough for a children’s book. It’s actually a paint-by-number artwork, which various residents colored in. For Arvada, Colorado, the Denver suburb that placed the mural downtown for the grand opening of its new Gold Line commuter rail station, it’s a symbol of the town’s newest chapter.

Amid recent reinvestments in Olde Town Arvada, a neighborhood of brewpubs, independent stores, and restaurants, the arrival of a rail link to Denver this past spring, after years of delay, is another catalyst in the suburb’s growth. Arvada has already seen $400 million in investment since 2006, including streetscaping and downtown redevelopment, according to Daniel Ryley, executive director of the Arvada Economic Development Association, but it’s the arrival of the rail link that has fueled even more new development and a spike in economic activity. Sales tax revenue in Olde Town grew 75 percent between 2013 and 2018 as new businesses opened in anticipation of the train’s arrival.

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