Downtown Residents Lose Minds Over New Bus Stop Because Crime

The transit island being built on Lawrence and 18th apparently will attract criminals. Photo: David Sachs

Two people who live at the IsBell Lofts downtown are rabid over a new bus stop near their building, because they think it will attract criminals or something.

Here’s more from Fox31, which for some reason gave credence to their complaints by covering it:

Residents of the IsBell Lofts at 1800 Lawrence St. woke up Monday to the clamor of construction. It was the first sign of what would be coming outside their door — and they are not happy about it.

The city of Denver is building what’s called a transit island because buses will no longer be able to pull up to the curb because of new protected bicycle lanes.

The project is supposed to make it safer for pedestrians, but residents wonder if it’s at their expense.

“RTD is moving a bus stop from midblock to literally right in front of our front door. And they’re creating a huge island platform for this stop. For unknown reasons, evidently a bench was not sufficient,” said Kay Coulson, an IsBell resident for about one year.

Residents worry the island could bring crime in the neighborhood even closer.

“Now there is a valid reason for people to loiter in front of the building. It may attract people who are not necessarily riding the bus, but now have an excuse to stand there,” IsBell resident Tom Fagan said.

Okay then. If the thought of people gathering in public frightens you, maybe you should not be living in a city.

But let’s get back to Coulson’s confusion — the “unknown reasons” for building a transit island, also known as a floating bus stop, at the corner of 18th and Lawrence. This is not a great mystery.

For one, it gives people a safe haven to hop on and off the bus without conflicting with the protected bike lane. It also lets the bus pick up and drop off passengers without pulling in and out of traffic, saving time. The city moved the bus stop closer to the corner, as Fox31 reported, to give people easier access to the crosswalk, which should discourage crossing mid-block. Plus the current bus stop is sandwiched between two surface parking lots with cars constantly going in and out.

In other words, the changes happening on Lawrence Street will allow the public to bike, walk, and take transit through downtown in a safer and more efficient manner.

To Coulson and others in Denver, rearranging the public right of way to work better for the public is somehow an affront to their private property. “If it can happen to our building, it’s going to happen to other buildings in downtown Denver,” Coulson told Fox31. Except nothing happened to her building. Something happened to the street, which belongs to everyone.