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From the Nation’s Capital to Colorado, Navigating the Wide Open Spaces

Growing up in D.C., family outings have always included a trip on the Metro to the Smithsonian museums. After school activities end in public bus rides home. But summer visits to Colorado have introduced a voyage on the light rail to meet my family at Union Station.

Back home I don’t ride public transportation that much.

Last summer was my first time on RTD’s light rail system. Two tickets in hand, my brother and I waited, the racing Metro trains back home faded into the background as Denver’s light rail train made its way to the station.

Immediately I noticed the openness of the train, only about ten quiet passengers seated in our car. Passing murals and mountains as it cut directly through the city, the W Line glided easily above ground as I cracked open my book to read.

Eventually fear of missing my stop dragged me from my reading. I watched my little brother across from me, somehow playing games while sitting backwards without getting carsick. Soon enough we arrived to my aunt waiting with open arms on the platform, ready for a whole other adventure on the other side of town.

Now a whole year later, I’ve taken the train alone to visit my Dad at his new job at RTD. Every time I ride, I notice the ringing bells and clean seats of the light rail. With kind commuters and friendly travelers, my experiences on the light rail have been different from the Washington, D.C. tourists and rushing commuters of the Metro.

At first, Colorado seemed overwhelmingly spread out. The nearest bus stop to my house being blocks away and the light rail a drive away, there was a part of me that felt trapped in my own neighborhood. But as I continue to learn, transportation here is not that hard to come by, and with a bit of experience, it’s not too complicated either.