Temporary Protected Bike Lane Finally Coming to South Broadway

A rendering of what a two-way parking-protected bike lane might look like on lower Broadway. (Image: City and County of Denver)
A rendering of what a permanent, two-way parking-protected bike lane might eventually look like on South Broadway. (Image: City and County of Denver)

A protected bike lane on Broadway is one small step closer to reality.

As long as the city approves the permits, people on bikes — and local businesses — will benefit from a temporary, two-way protected bike lane on South Broadway between 1st Avenue and Bayaud Street. The demo is planned for September 25 to 27, according to a BikeDenver representative, who wanted to seal up the permitting process before commenting further.

It’s only two blocks and three days long, but the demo greases the wheels for a permanent north-south connection so desperately needed in Denver.

While it’s a positive first step, there’s unfortunately no guarantee that Denver residents will end up with a permanent protected bike lane on the roomy five-lane street, which is used mostly to rush suburban drivers home each evening. We do know this much, though: Demos are a great way to show risk-averse city agencies and parking-fixated business owners that the world doesn’t end when a street design makes room for everyone to use it safely.

So what happens when the temporary bike lane is a success? The end game needs to be the funding and political will to build a bike lane on Broadway that runs north to south through the city’s center. It would connect riders with the protected bike lane planned for Brighton Boulevard, and give people a legitimate route between the city’s north and south ends.

This demo has been a longtime coming. Too long. BikeDenver, the Department of Public Works, South Broadway merchants, and former District 7 City Councilor Chris Nevitt began working on the idea more than a year ago. But it also represents some actual street-level changes to accompany the loud verbal commitments to complete streets from Mayor Michael Hancock.

  • garbanzito

    if the powers that be would open up their process and involve the nearby residents they would strengthen the political will to move forward

    • Rabbits Ride Bikes

      This is only a demo, and once it is accepted and plans are drawn for further use, the nearby residents would be involved. That is part of the process in getting these things going.

      • garbanzito

        i think that’s a mistake — residents can be your best ambassadors if you involve them early, we need to be there before “accepted and plans drawn up” letting us know after the fact what a wonderful thing the experts have designed for us is a great way to breed resentment

        • Rabbits Ride Bikes

          I would agree with you if this was a finalized test put on only by Denver.

          As a resident of the area, cyclist, and a student learning the process, I see that this is a large effort put on by Bike Denver working in conjunction with Denver and other bicycle organizations to put into place this pilot project. This seems more along the lines of a larger scale Tactical Urbanism Project. I would imagine (both with school teaching and logic) that if this project is a hit and shows the positive impacts on Broadway (which I feel it is greatly!) that the city would then work with the surrounding business owners and neighborhood residents in an effort to create something safe, functional, appealing, and cost effective.