Survey: Broadway Protected Bike Lane Would Entice More Riders, Shoppers

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Most of the people who checked out the pop-up bike lane on South Broadway were either intermediate or beginner cyclists, the type of rider Denver is trying to appeal to. Source: BikeDenver

People have dreamt up plenty of excuses for not putting a protected bike lane on Broadway, but survey results from “Bikes on Broadway,” last month’s temporary demo, remind us why it needs to happen.

The survey, designed by Transportation Solutions, BikeDenver, and the Department of Public Works, polled 114 people walking or biking on South Broadway during a four-hour window on the last Saturday of September. Bikes on Broadway was publicized beforehand, meaning some people in the small sample size were predisposed to support the bike infrastructure. Still, the survey is informative. Results indicate that a permanent bike lane through the spine of the city would encourage commerce and entice more people to bike.

“I think there are really a lot of different takeaways,” said BikeDenver’s Stephen Rijo. “But the big one is that by putting in this safe facility, it brought out a lot of different types of people to bike that otherwise probably wouldn’t have.”

Would you ride here
Source: BikeDenver

Most respondents said they would use the bike lane daily or weekly if it were permanent, and most identified as either beginner or intermediate riders. That means most people drawn to the bikeway weren’t advanced — the skill level traditionally needed to navigate Broadway’s double black diamond speeds.

In short, the protected bike lane appealed to the type of people that Denver will need to reach in order to attain Mayor Michael Hancock’s goal of getting biking and walking to account for a combined 15 percent of all trips by 2020.

The survey also hinted at why merchants spearheaded the pop-up bike lane on Broadway. About 78 percent of people said they would spend more money on Broadway if the bike lane were permanent.

Source: BikeDenver

“If you’re a real estate agent and you’re selling a spot here on Broadway, you say, ‘Hey, you’ve got 70,000 cars driving by you every day and they’ll see your store,’ but most of them are going so fast, they have no idea your store is there,” said Marty Lavine, owner of PUSH Gym at 5th and Broadway.

Speaking of cars, most people polled — about 67 percent — own a motor vehicle, meaning they chose not to drive to (and park on) Broadway. Again, 114 people is a small sample, but the results indicate that plenty of people can access Broadway without driving there. A protected bike lane will increase the number of people who can get to Broadway while taking up zero parking spaces.

Chia Basinger co-owns Sweet Action Ice Cream at Broadway and Archer Place. He also lives in the neighborhood. “We live here and work here and this is what we want for our neighborhood,” he said. “It seems unfair to keep Broadway the size and speed that it is, to facilitate rush hour traffic for one-and-a-half hours of the day.”

Basinger recalled his favorite part of the pop-up: kids, 5 or 6 years old, using the bike lane. It was probably the first time a person that age road a bike on that section of South Broadway.

“For them to be able to do that, to see families and kids out there able to ride from their neighborhood, [the bike lane] made our area more family friendly. It made us safer.”