#StreetFail: Denver PD Blocks Bike Lane to Save City From “Hoodlums”

Denver PD is cracking down on “urban travelers.” A suggestion: How about going after drivers parking in bike lanes instead?

As Mayor Michael Hancock and his Denver PD spend time and money harrying “urban travelers” off the 16th Street Mall in an attempt to improve perceptions of public safety, they continue to diminish the actual safety of people on bikes by allowing people to park in bike lanes — and by parking in bike lanes themselves.

Extra Denver PD officers and even a private security force will be patrolling the mall to protect residents, workers, and tourists from what Hancock called a “scourge of hoodlums” at a press conference Monday.

Arrestable incidents are not necessarily up, Denver Chief of Police Robert White admitted to Denverite, but the perception of violence is, following some recent high-profile incidents. Hancock and his police department vowed to crack down on the presence of these “urban travelers” (not Denver’s homeless, Hancock insists) by “stopping people from leaning on walls and calling animal control when people are loitering with dogs,” the Denver Post reports. The police will also close some alleys to the public and might even ban “repeat offenders” from the mall.

Tuesday, one day after the announcement, police officers began enforcement at the McDonald’s on 16th and Cleveland, where a reader took this photo. While sweeping people off the sidewalk, an officer parked in the bike lane, forcing people on bikes to swerve into traffic.

One aspect of Denver PD’s job is to protect people from violent crime. Another is to keep people safe as they travel the streets. But instead, officers consistently ignore drivers breaking the law — and break the law themselves.

It’s clear from yesterday’s announcement that the mayor and his police chief can redirect enforcement resources as they please, even to harass people for leaning on walls. If Hancock and Denver PD ever decide that it’s important to keep bike lanes clear, they can direct police to do so.