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.

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