DPW to Extend Broadway Bike Lane to Cherry Creek Trail, But Not Until 2018 at the Earliest

Photo: David Sachs
Photo: David Sachs

Denver Public Works is moving ahead with a more people-friendly South Broadway following a successful test of the half-mile, two-way protected bike lane installed last summer. There’s going to be a long wait for the next phase of the bike lane, however.

The city plans to extend the bike lane to the Cherry Creek Trail, make the rush-hour bus lanes on Broadway and part of Lincoln transit-only around the clock, and upgrade pedestrian crossings on both streets.

The transit improvements are on track for this summer, but the bike lane segment isn’t scheduled until 2018 or 2019, said DPW project manager Dan Raine.

The city says the project is unfunded but could be paid for with money from the bond measure that voters will decide on this November. While the bond revenue should help pay for these projects, advocates have pointed out that the Hancock administration should be making walking and biking projects a higher priority in his budget regardless of the results at the ballot box.

Right now the Broadway bike lane runs between Bayaud and Virginia Avenues. As a street design, the protected bikeway is a huge improvement: An evaluation released by DPW yesterday shows that it dramatically reduced the share of people who bike on the sidewalk or in the transit lane, because now most people on bikes feel comfortable riding in the street. (And for commuters driving out of the city toward I-25 during the afternoon rush, the sky did not fall: It now takes motorists an average of 9 seconds longer to get from Colfax to I-25.)

Image: DPW
Image: DPW

The problem is that this short segment does not connect to any other bike infrastructure. As long as it’s not part of a bigger network of safe bikeways, it’s not very useful to get from point A to point B.

Extending the bikeway to the Cherry Creek Trail, about a mile south, will be huge, connecting Broadway to a trunk line for low-stress cycling with entrances and exits throughout the city. The new link means people on bikes will finally have a safe, direct route to the popular destinations and residential neighborhoods around South Broadway.

“Being able to go north and tie into Cherry Creek will really help us provide better mobility for bicyclists and make those businesses far more accessible than they currently are,” said Raine.

The transit upgrades, meanwhile, are scheduled for implementation in August. To signal that the bus lanes will be in effect 24 hours, they will likely be painted red, a la San Francisco. (Lincoln’s bus lane will only be 24 hours north of Speer Boulevard, and will remain a morning rush bus lane south of Speer.)

For now, RTD is not planning to run the route 0 bus more frequently. But the agency will consolidate bus stops to speed up service along Broadway, aligning with signalized crosswalks.

A new signalized crosswalk is also coming to 5th and Broadway, giving people another place to cross. Longer walking phases and more prominently painted crosswalks are on the Broadway-Lincoln corridor as well, Raine said.