Mayor Hancock Cuts Ribbon on Parking-Protected Bike Lanes, Promises 3 More

Mayor Michael Hancock cuts the ribbon on the Arapahoe Street protected bike lane, with Downtown Denver Partnership CEO Tami Door to his left, and City Councilman Albus Brooks to his right. Photo: David Sachs
Mayor Michael Hancock cuts the ribbon on the Arapahoe Street protected bike lane Thursday, with Downtown Denver Partnership CEO Tami Door to his left, and City Councilman Albus Brooks to his right. Photo: David Sachs

Mayor Michael Hancock officially opened Denver’s first parking-protected bike lanes Thursday with some revelry on the corner of 16th and Arapahoe.

The two new bike lanes — one on Arapahoe Street and one on Lawrence Street — run a little over one mile each, from Auraria Campus to 24th Street. They include traffic signals that finally give people on bikes a safe way to cross Speer Boulevard, Park Avenue, and Broadway.

“We do this for a variety of reasons,” Hancock said. “One, our city is growing… exponentially. But our street network is what it is… We must find more unique and diverse ways to use our streets and become more multimodal.”

Hancock thanked the Downtown Denver Partnership, which sparked the project a year ago by launching a crowdfunding initiative. After that, bike planners from the Department of Public Works and advocacy groups BikeDenver and the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee made the lanes happen.

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City Councilman Albus Brooks. Photo: David Sachs

Right now, 6.5 percent of downtown workers commute by bike, according to DDP President and CEO Tami Door. “I can absolutely promise you that as these facilities continue to expand, that number will rise exponentially,” she said.

Hancock committed to building three more protected bike lanes next year, and City Councilman Albus Brooks went out of his way to tell the crowd of about 50 people that the infrastructure is not a one-off thing.

“As the councilman, as an advocate — and also as a donor of this bike lane — I am excited, but this is just the beginning,” Brooks said. “This is not an event. We’re gonna keep on doing this. We’re gonna be bullish on this. We’re gonna probably upset some folks because they don’t see the overall vision, but we’re doing this around the world, and this is the city that we’re becoming.”

Make no mistake: The city’s protected bike lane network has a long way to go, but these additions are a milestone and a significant upgrade to Denver’s streets.

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