The 47th Ave Bike Lane Is Here, and It’s Continuous, Except for Two Gaps

Photo: David Sachs
Photo: David Sachs

Denver Public Works has finished striping buffered bike lanes on 47th Avenue in Elyria Swansea.

The 47th Avenue lanes will connect riders to Brighton Boulevard’s impending protected bike lanes to the west, as well as planned lanes on Clayton and Steele streets to the east.

A key part of this project was Public Works’ ability to re-purpose parking spaces in the mostly residential neighborhood. Unlike on Stout Street, for example, the department was able to work with neighbors and stick to the original plan.

The Hancock administration plugged the project in a recent email newsletter to Denver residents: “The new uninterrupted, buffered bike lane stretches from Brighton Boulevard to Clayton Street.” The claim of an “uninterrupted” bike lane is not quite accurate, however.

The one-mile lane, which is separated from traffic by a double white stripe, is interrupted a few times, most notably between Columbine and Elizabeth streets alongside Swansea Elementary School. There, the paint disappears and gives way to a loading zone, which Denver Public Works bike planners kept intact.

Though the front entrance is around the corner, not on 47th, leaving a gap in the bike lane is not a great way to keep kids safe or encourage biking to school. If a loading zone has to be preserved here, the city should also figure out how to maintain a continuous bikeway. Putting cyclists in conflict with delivery vehicles is not the way to go.

There’s another gap around 47th and York, a tricky intersection that crosses three sets of railroad tracks. Eventually that intersection will get a bicycle and pedestrian bridge (maybe 2019, says Public Works) but in the meantime Denver Public Works bike planners installed signs directing bike riders onto the sidewalks and crosswalks to navigate the wide, intimidating crossing.

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There’s a gap in the bike lane ends by Swansea Elementary School at Columbine Street, where it is interrupted by a loading zone. Photo: David Sachs
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The gnarly intersection at 47th and York. Photo: David Sachs
  • TomAnthony

    the city was able to eliminate 40 street parking spaces near the stock show complex, which reduces the amount of free event parking for the facility, but also puts the hurt on Elyria residents who have no garage. The Elyria 2020 Vision Plan wanted a sub-grade punch at 48th to allow direct pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular access to the new commuter rail stop at 48th and Brighton Blvd, while keeping additional vehicular traffic away from Swansea Elementary, which is on 47th. A sub-grade connector is also needed to allow for a commuter loop bus circulating the neighborhoods to obviate the necessity of using personal vehicles. The bike lanes and proposed bike bridge appear to be a work-around to avoid installing infrastructure which will allow the circulator bus operations. This will ensure a parking monopoly for the expanded National Western Center facility operations.

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