In the Works: Protected Bike Lane for Stout, Buffered Bike Lane for Champa

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Stout Street is in line to get a parking-protected bike lane this summer. Image: DPW

Denver Public Works is preparing to install a protected bike lane on Stout Street and a buffered bike lane on Champa Street in Curtis Park this summer. DPW held an open house at the Curtis Park Neighbors meeting Thursday night to show residents potential designs [PDF] and get feedback.

The project aims to calm traffic and give people a safe bike route connecting to downtown. To do that DPW will repurpose one car lane to make room for a parking-protected bike lane on Stout Street between Park Avenue and 19th. North of Park Avenue, where a bike lane already exists, DPW will shift the parking lane over to make that section of the bike lane protected as well. When it’s complete, people will be able to ride 1.2 miles from 19th to Downing on a parking-protected bike lane.

Here’s how Stout looks now:

existing stout
Image: DPW

And here’s what Stout would look like after the redesign:

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The widths of the parking, travel, and bike lanes are still up in the air. Image: DPW

Champa Street currently has a buffered bike lane on the five blocks between Speer and 20th. The new design would extend the buffered design to Downing, creating a continuous two-mile buffered bike lane.

A DPW engineer said planners preferred a parking-protected bike lane, but the fire department nixed the protected option in order to accommodate its trucks.

Here’s Champa now:

Image: DPW

And here’s what’s being proposed:

Image: DPW
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The Stout and Champa bike lanes will connect Curtis Park to downtown. Image: DPW

DPW engineers said they’re still deliberating on the widths for parking, travel, and bike lanes. While residents at last night’s open house preferred a design with 11-foot travel lanes, 10-foot lanes lead to safer drivings speeds. Slimming down the traffic lanes by a foot and using that space for a wider buffer between parked cars and bicyclists would make for a safer design. Vertical separators — like the plastic posts on the Arapahoe and Lawrence bike lanes — would also give drivers a visual cue not to enter or park in the parking-protected bike lane on Stout.

Last night’s meeting came after several others where some residents complained about the loss of parking spaces. But residents of a dense city can’t expect to park in front of their houses, said Curtis Park Neighbors President John Hayden.

“That’s gonna become the new reality, whether it’s this year or in three years or five years when another hundred thousand people move here,” Hayden said. “It’s kind of inevitable, so we might as well plan for it. And this is planning for it — giving people a really comfortable way to bike down the street even if they’re elderly or with children is foresight planning.”

You can comment on the project until March 15. To weigh in, email the project managers.