Denver’s Union Station continues to face problems; what is the city doing about it

DENVER (KDVR) – FOX31 troubleshooters are following up on our detailed reports of the city’s cleanup efforts at Union Station in Denver.

Last month, we told you how this iconic historical landmark became a place of littering, drug use and lawlessness.

FOX31’s Joshua Short was there on Thursday and spoke with an anonymous RTD bus driver about the issues there.

This RTD driver sent us disturbing images that FOX31 must have scrambled, showing the misery people have to go through.

This is a reality that we told you about in December and nothing has really changed in the so-called living room of the city. There were no signs of improvement inside or outside the station Thursday night.

“It probably got worse,” the anonymous RTD pilot told FOX31 Problem Solvers.

This RTD employee is fed up, sending us several dastardly photos taken over the past month both in and around Union Station.

He says he has never seen it so badly since he became an RTD employee more than 15 years ago.

“They sent a few more patrols… but as soon as they get away, the people on drugs, they turn on their pipes,” the driver told us. “The bathrooms are even locked where they can’t even use the toilet [or drugs] so they walk out of the lobby where the buses park.

RTD told the troubleshooters:

Restrooms remain temporarily closed, until permanent doors can be installed and other measures can be put in place to ensure proper use, as well as the safety of employees and customers.

RTD remains committed to addressing unwanted behavior in and around Denver Union Station by seeking cooperative solutions with the City and County of Denver, and the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1001 which represents frontline employees.

Recognizing that there is no silver bullet to the societal problems being exposed today, RTD Managing Director and CEO Debra A. Johnson, Board Member Angie Rivera-Malpiede, and other leaders representing RTD, including the union’s president and vice president, met with Mayor Hancock, senior members of his administration, and Denver Police Department command staff to discuss immediate and future strategies. short term.

City officials confirmed at Thursday’s meeting, “Today, the Mayor and senior public safety officials met with RTD and Transit Union leaders to discuss additional steps that can be taken to address ongoing security challenges at Union Station in Denver.”

The city also provided new crime figures, a month after Denver Mayor Michael Hancock increased police presence at Union Station.

  • November 2021, 101 arrests
  • December 2021, 183 arrests
  • The top five arrest violations for 2021:
    • Mandate – 236
    • Trespass – 124
    • Drug paraphernalia/possession – 71
    • Assault – 41
    • Shoplifting – 39
  • 22 people arrested 4 or more times in 2021

“Drivers are scared, some drivers are calling, they don’t want to deal with this,” the anonymous RTD driver told FOX31 Problem Solvers.

Meanwhile, we’ve heard the cold-blooded honesty of a man named Elton, who says he’s still doing drugs at Union Station, even after police recently fined him .

“I just tell people straight up, ‘I need a few dollars to get high,'” Elton said.

He says he got a ticket for $100 a few days ago.

Colorado law states that anyone who possesses drug paraphernalia is committing a minor drug offense. The fine does not exceed $100. But is that enough to curb criminal behavior at Union Station?

“I saw where they got a ticket, they take it, chew it and throw it away,” the RTD driver told us.

Union Station issued this statement to troubleshooters:

Denver’s historic Union Station building, which includes the Great Hall, the Crawford Hotel, and partner dining establishments and retail spaces, is a privately leased and operated private entity. The Denver Union Station Alliance employs an independent security team to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for our customers, associates, and community within our space. We support the ongoing efforts of the Denver Police Department and RTD who manage the security of transit areas and outdoor plazas.

The problem solvers heard from the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1001, the union that represents RTD workers. They said drivers and customers were frustrated because, despite continued efforts by city officials, they still see drug use at or near their workplaces.

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