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Car Free Living – Denver

By Steve Atlas

Denver, Colorado

Do you love being near the mountains, in a city that combines a wealth of visual and performing arts and shopping with easy access to the outdoors?

Then, Denver may be the right choice for you. With 6 light rail lines, lots of shopping, the University of Colorado less than an hour away in Boulder, and lots to do, Denver is never dull. When you want to leave Denver, Regional Transit District (RTD) buses take you nearly anywhere in the region.

Denver is a stimulating city with 300 days of annual sunshine, year-round adventure and the breathtaking Rocky Mountains in its backyard. From a thriving arts and culture scene, world class attractions and endless shopping possibilities, to nationally recognized chefs, exciting nightlife and abundant outdoor recreation, Denver welcomes you to experience, explore and discover how the Mile High City will awaken your senses like nowhere else.

Mild weather, outdoor recreation, exciting nightlife, tantalizing restaurants, history & culture, lots of shopping, world class attractions - what more could you want?

You don’t need a car to live in Denver or Boulder

A person does not need to own a car to live and thrive in the Denver Metro area With the Regional Transportation District (RTD), car/van pooling programs (DRCOG) and taxi services a person can work and play in the Denver Metro area without a car.

The nearby city of Boulder, home of the University of Colorado is a great place to walk, bike, or use public transportation. Josh Maynard, a student at the University who lives in Boulder and works in Denver, rates RTD “9.5 because major roads in Boulder have public transportation during essential times. I think Boulder is a great place to live without a car.”

Maynard adds, “I've run into shop workers and talked with them about how they get around and what problems they have. They tend to find Boulder a great place because the public transportation system is good and the city is relatively safe. We have many bike paths on major roads as well as in rural areas. Buses are always running up and down the major roads in downtown Boulder. (Arapahoe, Broadway, and 28th St. are a few of these streets.).

“I think Denver is manageable as well. Buses operate on all major roads to all normally frequented commercial areas, some even running quite late. However, if you're looking for a car-free lifestyle, planning is involved, no matter what city you're looking to nest in. One cannot simply rent a house on the cusp of suburbia and expect to step out the front door onto a bus stop.

“I think living in Denver car-free can easily be done with a simple look at a bus schedule.”

Where is public transportation available?

RTD serves all of Denver, All of Boulder, Broomfield,

Denver and Jefferson Counties, parts of Adams, Arapahoe

and Douglas Counties, + a small portion of Weld County.

What specific transit routes operate seven days a week?

Here are the routes that operate seven days a week as of

August 19: 2007:

Light Rail Routes: (SE Line), C/D (SW Line)

Local Routes: :0, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 20, 21, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 36, 38, 40, 43, 44, 46, 48, 51, 52, 66, 73, 76, 88, 92, 100, 105, 112, 121, 130, 133, 135, 139, 153, 203, 204, 205, 228, 401, BOUND, DASH, JUMP, SKIP,

Limited Routes: 15L, 83L, 169L, 402L,

Express Routes:  145X

Regional Routes: B, BOLT, N

Sky Ride Route: DIA/40th pnR, AA, AB, AF, AS, AT

What neighborhood and communities have seven-day transit service?

Most of Aurora, Denver, Boulder, Longmont and Nederland, plus Downtown areas of Arvada, Commerce City, Englewood, Golden, Lakewood, and Littleton

Denver has many neighborhoods where it’s easy to walk to shopping and seven-day transit routes

RTD transit routes serve the following neighborhoods in Denver seven days a week:

Highlands (Including West Highlands,

Tennyson/Berkley Square and the Navajo Arts District),

Five Points,

Old South Gaylord,

Old South Pearl Street,

Cherry Creek North,

Capitol Hill,

Historic Old Town Arvada,



Santa Fe Art District

Golden Triangle/Museum District,




The nearby city of Boulder is also a great place to live without a car.

RTD is efficient for daily living!

RTD buses and light rail make it simple to reach shopping centers, senior centers, hospitals, libraries and government offices.

Light rail is an important part of transit service

RTD’s light rail routes serve Denver’s Southwest and Southeast Corridors with seven-day service, from 4:30 a.m. (earlier on Saturday and Sunday) to about 1:20 a.m. the next day. Five Points is also served by light rail during these hours.

A new light rail line is being built to serve the city’s West Corridor.

Stay anywhere in Denver to walk or use transit

Unlike many other cities, visitors without cars are not limited to staying downtown. RTD encourages visitors without cars to stay anywhere in the city or Denver area close to transit.

The Southwest and Southeast Corridors have outstanding light rail service 21 hours everyday.

Check with your hotel. Some provide their own van connections.

Commuting to Work is Easy

Visit and view online maps, use the online trip-planner, or call RTD customer service 7 days a week for help.

Bikers: Take your bike on light rail and buses

RTD allows bikes on the light rail. Buses are equipped with bike racks. Some buses have under carriages where a bike can be stored.

Retirees are treated the same way as other riders

Denver is not a top choice for retirees without cars. If you are retired and don’t own a car, choose a retirement community or other neighborhood within walking distance of grocery stores and other shopping, and a seven-day RTD bus or light rail route. Remember that light rail lines operate 21 hours every day.

Retirees can thrive in the Denver Metro area like anyone else. They need to utilize the transportation available to them.

Denver Botanical Garden

Plan carefully before moving here

Before moving to Denver, visit to learn how the transit system works in the Denver Metro area, and what communities and neighborhoods have the best public transportation.

Josh Maynard, the Boulder student who is a regular transit rider, says, “I think the best thing to know is where the bus routes go and when. I chose to live on a campus and near the center of town because those are the things I wanted in my life style. I would look at bus routes even before choosing where to live, as that is the cheapest transportation when you don’t have a car.

It is also nice to have a bike in case I want to go somewhere out of the public transportation grid or if I want to just check out the town without driving.”

Transit Rider gives RTD a High Grade

David Ingleman, a resident of Denver's Capitol Hill/City Park neighborhood since February 2007, gives RTD a "9" (10 being the highest grade) because it's easy for him to get nearly anywhere without driving.

His wife uses their one car for commuting to work. David relies primarily on buses and riding his bike. The only problem is getting to the bus on time.

His solution: leave early and know the schedules.

For Ingleman, the benefits of using transit are "I feel better about myself and can do a lot of reading that I wouldn’t otherwise have time for.

“I also ride my bike and walk more so I am in better shape."

He advises other people considering moving to Denver without a car to get a bike map and live downtown.

Use the RTD website for trip planning. “Good mass transit and a bike culture is one reason we moved to Denver,” says Ingleman. “We have not been disappointed."

What You Need to Know

City or Region: Denver, Colorado

Population: City: 566,974; Metro Area/Region: 2,927,911

Name of Transit Provider: Regional Transit District (RTD)

Phone Number: (303) 290-6000;

(outside 303 calling area: (800) 366-7433)

Customer Service Telephone Hours:

Monday-Friday: 6:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.,

Weekends and Holidays: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

TDD for the speech and hearing impaired: (303) 299-6089.

Web Site:

Days and Hours Transit Service Operates:

6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Monday-Friday,

7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Weekends.

Where is the nearest Airport?  Can you get there by public transit?

Denver International Airport (DIA) is the nearest airport. RTD provides a special bus service, Sky Ride, that takes people to and from the DIA.

Where is the nearest Train Station? Is it served by local transit?

The nearest train station is Denver Union Station (DUS) located in downtown Denver. DUS is serviced by the RTD.

Where is the nearest Bus Terminal? Is it served by local transit?

The Greyhound Terminal is at 1055 19th Street in downtown Denver. It is served by the RTD.

New At


Pubtrantravel welcomes Steve Atlas founder of as its newest contributing writer.

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