#StreetFail: Denver PD Blocks Bike Lane to Save City From “Hoodlums”

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Denver PD is cracking down on “urban travelers.” A suggestion: How about going after drivers parking in bike lanes instead?

As Mayor Michael Hancock and his Denver PD spend time and money harrying “urban travelers” off the 16th Street Mall in an attempt to improve perceptions of public safety, they continue to diminish the actual safety of people on bikes by allowing people to park in bike lanes — and by parking in bike lanes themselves.

Extra Denver PD officers and even a private security force will be patrolling the mall to protect residents, workers, and tourists from what Hancock called a “scourge of hoodlums” at a press conference Monday.

Arrestable incidents are not necessarily up, Denver Chief of Police Robert White admitted to Denverite, but the perception of violence is, following some recent high-profile incidents. Hancock and his police department vowed to crack down on the presence of these “urban travelers” (not Denver’s homeless, Hancock insists) by “stopping people from leaning on walls and calling animal control when people are loitering with dogs,” the Denver Post reports. The police will also close some alleys to the public and might even ban “repeat offenders” from the mall.

Tuesday, one day after the announcement, police officers began enforcement at the McDonald’s on 16th and Cleveland, where a reader took this photo. While sweeping people off the sidewalk, an officer parked in the bike lane, forcing people on bikes to swerve into traffic.

One aspect of Denver PD’s job is to protect people from violent crime. Another is to keep people safe as they travel the streets. But instead, officers consistently ignore drivers breaking the law — and break the law themselves.

It’s clear from yesterday’s announcement that the mayor and his police chief can redirect enforcement resources as they please, even to harass people for leaning on walls. If Hancock and Denver PD ever decide that it’s important to keep bike lanes clear, they can direct police to do so.

  • AlCummings

    This is a bit extreme of you. Just pedal around it? Police responding to situations often park their cars in a way that forces peds, auto drivers and cyclists to move over. In fact there’s a law that requires drivers to move over when passing a stopped police car.

    The worst DPD practice I see downtown is when they stop across one of the mall’s bus lanes, forcing shuttle bus traffic to stop.

    • Rabbits Ride Bikes

      @disqus_RndkvjO7e2:disqus Thank you for responding the way that you do. I am constantly frustrated with the way in which @DavidSachs writes his articles. Many times he does not report objectively, leaves out details, and doesn’t complete diligent research. I would hope that he would report more objective observations and news instead of constant opinion articles – maybe we can start labeling the articles like they do in the news paper…. What do you think @streetsblog ?

  • LevelHead

    I would say this would be a bit extreme, if it wasn’t for how commonplace it was for bike lanes to be used as parking lanes, especially by the city, police or otherwise. This isn’t a one off occurrence due to an emergency situation, as such it clearly shows that there is zero priority for cyclists safety by Denver Law Enforcement. They knew they would be there for awhile, and still they chose not to back into the space or make any attempt to get out of the bike lane. Had cars been inconvenienced in this manner they wouldn’t have stopped where they did.

    • AlCummings

      On the contrary, I see DPD stopping, parking and leaving their vehicles in drive lanes all the time. I simply wait and pull around them. I’ve never seen them actually back in and park even when readily available. Notice in this picture the police car is halfway blocking the drive lane as well.

  • neroden

    Oh seriously? Time to get rid of this corrupt mayor and his corrupt PD.

    Harassment is a crime. Blocking the bike lane is a crime. Blocking traffic by parking your car in the middle of the road is a crime. When the police are committing crimes, who will arrest them?

    If police want to patrol the mall, they can walk there or take public transit there like everyone else. In fact, it’s quite a short walk from police HQ.

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