Two-Day Broadway Bike Lane Is Pre-Cursor to Longer Demo

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 protected bike lane might look like on South Broadway. Image: City and County of Denver

We received a lot of feedback after last week’s news that the Department of Public Works will test out a protected, two-way bike lane on South Broadway with a “pop-up” bike lane during the last weekend of September. The pop-up design will run two blocks, from 1st Avenue to Bayaud Street, and will likely feature basic safeguards like cones and signage.

Some people wondered if a few days will be long enough to reach significant conclusions. Others wanted to know how the public would be involved in the street redesign process.

Turns out that the September pop-up is just the first step in a longer study of the Broadway/Lincoln corridor, which will include a “living lab” — a more robust bike lane demonstration that will last at least six weeks, according to a city contract [PDF]. The longer demo will be installed next April — but only if the first phase of the study goes well and stays within its $163,000 budget, according to a DPW spokesperson.

In addition to the September pop-up, DPW and its consultant, Fox Tuttle Hernandez Transportation Group, will hold several public meetings and go door-to-door to speak with neighbors before installing the April demo. A project website is on the way, too.

Planners will also collect data before the April demo and after it’s installed. Here’s what they’ll study:

  • Who’s using the bike lane, with a focus on women, people of color, seniors, teenagers, and young children
  • How drivers and cyclists interact: number of verbal interactions, hand gestures, horn use, and yielding and maneuvers to avoid collisions
  • Number and type of bike crashes
  • People on bikes obeying traffic signals
  • Motorists infringing on or blocking the bikeway
  • Parked cars aligning with parking meters
  • Average travel times and total daily volume of motor vehicles

Fox Tuttle Hernandez is known for implementing similar pilot projects in Boulder and in other parts of the state. However, even the best-planned projects ruffle feathers, and these demos don’t always last long enough for drivers to acclimate to change. Boulder’s City Council recently postponed two good projects after a one-week-old road diet yielded complaints from drivers. Denver officials will have to be prepared for some degree of “bikelash.”

Creating a safe north-south connection for people on bikes is a much-needed next step for the city’s bike network. Let’s hope Denver has the wherewithal to see it through.

This post has been updated to include the following: The longer bike lane demo is part of the Broadway/Lincoln Corridor Study’s second phase, and will only occur if the first phase is successful and stays within budget.