Eyes on the Street: 11th Avenue Bike Lane and Road Diet

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11th Avenue before adding bike lanes (bottom), and after (top). Photo: David Sachs

People on bikes who jockey for position with buses and car traffic on 12th Avenue now have a better option: 11th Avenue. The Department of Public Works has pretty much finished adding bike lanes in each direction while trimming the street from three motor vehicle lanes to two between Ogden Street and Osage Street — a 1.6-mile stretch.

I’ve ridden the bike lanes twice in each direction, and it’s quicker and less congested than 12th, which is technically a bike route, but only boasts a few sharrows here and there. Eleventh Avenue felt safer because of the dedicated lanes and lack of buses, and makes for a good route to and from the Cherry Creek Trail because of a green-paint bike lane, a bike box, and soon-to-come signage at the intersection with Speer.

The redesign isn’t perfect. Most driving lanes are still 11 feet wide — an unnecessary width according to NACTO’s urban street guidelines — leaving just five feet for each bike lane. Plus sharrows replace the bike lanes on a few blocks west of Speer, and it’s unclear why planners didn’t paint bike lanes all the way to Cheesman Park.

Still, making 11th less car-oriented and friendlier for biking is a huge improvement. Here are some shots from Denver’s newest bike facility:

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The street’s only curve occurs at Grant Street, where the bike lane becomes dashed. Photo: David Sachs
Looking west from 11th and Speer. The eastbound side of the street still has two car lanes, with sharrows instead of a bike lane leading up to the intersection with Speer. Photo: David Sachs
People biking down 12th to connect with the Cherry Creek Trail are thrown into Speer Street traffic — and that’s still a problem. But crews installed a green and white bike lane at the intersection of 11th and Speer, with signage to come directing bike riders to the trail. Photo: David Sachs
Looking west from the bridge over the Cherry Creek trail, crews painted a bike box to give people on bikes a head start. Photo: David Sachs
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But the intersection is another story heading eastbound on 11th, with sharrows instead of a bike lane. Photo: David Sachs
One section of 11th between Cherokee and Bannock now has back-in angle parking. Photo: David Sachs

FYI: The section of 11th between Osage and Mariposa won’t get a bike lane until next year, after utility work associated with a new housing project is finished.

So what do you think about the 11th Avenue bike lanes? Complaints? Praise? Let Streetsblog know.

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