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.



Tuesday’s Headlines

After Global Climate Strike, Colorado officials fail to envision a better transportation future. Colorado lawmakers may not find needed money for transportation. Bill would suspend licenses of careless drivers.