This Weekend: See What Broadway Would Be Like With a Protected Bike Lane

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 from the Golden Triangle Neighborhood Plan of what a two-way parking-protected bike lane might look like on Broadway. Image: City and County of Denver

Broadway serves different functions for different people. It’s a Main Street for residents of Baker, Athmar Park, Golden Triangle, and West Wash Park, and a shopping and nightlife destination for everyone in the city. It’s also Denver’s most important north-south transportation link, which is why planners call it “Denver’s spine.”

Yet Broadway’s design caters mostly to drivers of multi-ton motor vehicles rushing out of the city to I-25. For everyone outside a car, Broadway is a dangerous chasm to cross on foot, and a nearly unbikeable street.

Broadway merchants and street safety advocates like BikeDenver have been trying to change that for a long time now. This weekend you can see some of the first high-profile fruit of their labor in the form of a two-way, pop-up protected bike lane between 1st Avenue and Bayaud Street.

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Image: BikeDenver

Keep in mind that the purpose of this temporary event is to show people the possibilities. Yes, the bike lane is only two blocks long and will last for just three days, but those three days should be the beginning of a process to create a permanent bike lane on Broadway. Following BikeDenver’s trial run this weekend, the Department of Public Works will install a demo in April with more robust protections that will last at least six weeks — enough time to study the bike lane’s impact and for drivers to get used to it.

Will Denver officials move forward with a protected bike lane on Broadway that provides the first legitimate way to safely traverse the city north to south by bike? It’s too soon to say. But demos are a great way to communicate new street design concepts to the public and start growing a constituency for change. They show people the potential of a redesigned street in a much more tangible way than an indigestible planning document ever can.

Here’s more about the demo from BikeDenver:

The two-way protected bike lane will serve as the kickoff event for the public input process for the Broadway/Lincoln Corridor Study, and will have fun programming for all ages. Friday will serve as the official kickoff with a ribbon cutting to engage local public officials. The main event will follow on Saturday with an afternoon of local business engagement between 1-5pm. Our trusty Broadway Merchants have been a great partner and will be holding a sidewalk sale with all sorts of fun activities. Sunday will serve as the closing ceremony with bike decorating and a short parade.

And here’s the schedule of events:

  • Friday, Sept. 25 from 9 – 10 am: Ribbon cutting and ride with Denver City Council members
  • Saturday, Sept. 26 from 1 – 5 pm: Sidewalk sale, bike rides, educational activities
  • Sunday, Sept. 27 | 3 – 4 pm: Bike decorating and closing parade

This could be the beginning of the most important bike infrastructure project in the city. To reach the point where the city moves forward with a permanent redesign, Denverites who want safer streets for biking will have to get involved and show that they want Broadway to be more than just a speedway for cars. A great way to get started is to head down to South Broadway this weekend and use the demo. BikeDenver is still looking for volunteers, too, if you have time to help.