Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story, "Back On Track."
Kevin Koernig believes light rail is making him healthy, wealthy and maybe even wise — or at least well read. Koernig lives in Littleton, a suburb along Denver’s southwest light-rail line, and commutes by train several days a week to his downtown office. On Sundays, he often crams into the train along with throngs of blue- and orange-clad Broncos fans headed for the game at Invesco Stadium.
By the time Koernig adds gas, maintenance and parking fees, the cost of driving to work far outweighs the cost of a rail ticket. "I just put $62 (worth of gas) into my truck, and that’s quite a few trips on light rail," he says. Koernig’s annual rail pass costs $550.
As for good health, the 43-year-old architect walks eight blocks from his home to the rail station, and then 10 blocks from his downtown train stop to his office at The Lawrence Group.
"If you drive in commuter traffic, you’re always kind of upset and uptight, because of fighting traffic, people cutting you off, stopping and starting, all that stuff. You don’t have any of that with light rail," says Koernig, who on weekends likes to ride his Harley-Davidson or hike in the mountains.
Finally, there’s the question of time. Light rail is as quick as driving during rush hour, Koernig figures, even with the time he spends walking. And he can make good use of his time on the train: "With light rail, you can just sit back and relax and read a book. That’s what I dig about it. I read 20 to 30 books last year, just on light rail."