DPW Moves Forward With Two-Way Parking-Protected Bike Lane on Broadway

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Planners want to repurpose one of Broadway’s five lanes for a two-lane, parking-protected bike lane. Image: DPW

Denver Public Works and its transportation consultant Fox Tuttle Hernandez presented their recommended redesigns of Broadway and Lincoln streets Thursday night at the second community workshop for the project. Planners aim to install a two-way protected bike lane along Broadway between Colfax and I-25, but they have yet to decide if they will implement it on the entire 2-mile section.

The plan also includes a better bus lane on Lincoln that will improve transit while calming traffic.

The top graphic shows how Broadway from Speer Boulevard south would look with the redesign. Bulb-outs at corners would make shorter crossings for people walking, and the bus-only lane would remain during rush hour. Those 11-foot travel lanes are too wide, though. The extra space should go toward a bigger buffer between the bike lane and parked cars to prevent cyclists from getting doored.

Broadway and Lincoln aren’t designed to move people safely. They’re designed to move cars fast. Carlos Hernandez, who’s heading the consultant team, told the crowd last night that will have to change as more people continue to move to Denver.

“There’s not a place to ride [bikes] out there, but the 41 people a day who move here don’t know that, and they want to go out and spend money at True Love Shoes, they want to go out to shows, and they’re riding to these places,” he said. “The road is not ready for the future of what’s happening out there.”

Even during rush hour, traffic on Broadway and Lincoln can move at dangerously high speeds, and the problem only gets worse when traffic thins out during the other 22 hours of the day. It’s a perpetual hazard for people crossing the street, and people on bikes have to take their life in their hands riding next to traffic moving at 45 mph or opt for the perceived safety of the sidewalk.

Here’s what could be in store for Lincoln:

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Lincoln Street, south of Virginia Avenue. Image: DPW

South of Virginia Avenue, Lincoln would have skinnier lanes to calm traffic and more prominent markings to set off the bus lane. Since traffic on Lincoln tails off during off-peak hours, both outer lanes — including the bus lane — would become parking lanes for most of the day. Right turns from the transit lane are currently allowed; Hernandez said some could be banned on blocks with light turning volumes (those blocks have yet to be identified).

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Lincoln Street from Virginia to 5th. Image: DPW

From Virginia to 5th, Lincoln would still have three general purpose lanes for most of the day, but they would be narrower. The west sidewalk would unfortunately get smaller to make room for a row of parking, but planners say that will calm traffic and make homeowners and merchants happy. As with all of the intersections on the corridor, new paint or pavement would make intersections more noticeable and draw attention to pedestrians. Parking would be allowed in the bus lane except during rush hours.

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Image: Lincoln 8th to Colfax

The northern part of Lincoln would have a much more clearly designated bus lane that’s in effect 24 hours a day. The redesign would also add curb extensions to make crossings shorter for pedestrians.

The next phase of the project starts in March, when planners will host more public meetings and reveal more detailed design plans based on feedback. They’ll continue to analyze traffic patterns and begin planning a temporary version of the bike lane to demonstrate how it will work.

This article was edited to reflect the fact that bulb-outs are not a major component of the project.