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.

  • mckillio

    Great news, a bike lane that no one can get to by bike was definitely the worst part of this project. Not pointed out is this will also connect Broadway to downtown via the trail too.

    I take the 0 sometimes when the weather is really bad, making the last email dedicated will be huge and does that mean it won’t have to pull over to pick people up? Regardless we won’t have to wait to get back in the lane.

    What is the speed limit on Broadway and Lincoln? 35mph? What about the lane widths? To help the pedestrian, bike and car safety, a lower speed limit and narrower lanes would help.

  • saff123

    At Broadway and Mississippi, there are over 1000 apartments under construction within 3 blocks. Unfortunately the reconstruction of Broadway between Mississippi and Exposition will at best have cyclists on the sidewalk. Broadway is being reconstructed to include “Safe, well-lit pedestrian/bike facilities with adequate protected space along and across Broadway” (http://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/south-broadway-i-25/interchange-ramps.html). We’ll see how it develops. Right now, Mississippi to Ohio is a pedestrian and bike nightmare.

    There ought to be a straight shot from Mississippi all the way to Cherry Creek, but at best this city makes this stuff take years.

  • jhersey3

    Does anyone know why the bike lane is on the left side of Broadway? It feels less safe. For one, drivers expect bike lanes on the right side of the road. For another, parallel parkers will always open their doors into a left-side bike lane – only passengers would open their doors into a right-side bike lane, and we know how many single-occupant vehicles are out there. Perhaps it’s to protect cyclists from right-side bus traffic, as is the case on 15th Street, but 18th Street, Arapahoe Street, and other urban avenues offer examples of ways to safely facilitate both bike and bus traffic.

    Just curious if anyone knows the intent of the left-side bike lane. Thank you.

    • garbanzito

      i think it’s logistical — the bus would have not been able to pull over to the sidewalk to pick up passengers without crossing into the bike line; also the bus lane on Broadway at times has a parking lane to its right and at times doesn’t — this means the bike lane would be at times parking protected and at times not, in fact if the parking were moved over, where it exists, that means the bike line would change lanes when it reached the no-parking blocks

      regarding parked drivers opening doors into oncoming bikes — that is the reason for the buffer zone between the bike lane and the parking

      • jhersey3

        Thanks, g’zito. I figured that was the case and, as the City and RTD get more accustomed to bike+bus infrastructure, maybe we’ll see the lane move to the right some day.

    • Frank Kotter

      Considering this is a one-way, the driver sitting on the left side is actually physically closer to the lane and the cyclists in it before they navigate a left turn. I know it takes some getting used a bike lane on the left but this little situation is much more comfortable for me when I out and about both on a bike and when driving.

  • Brian Schroder

    This is great and my family and I can’t wait to use it if it ever gets built. We tried to get to Sweet Action on bicycles on a weekend from the Cherry Creek Trail a few weeks ago and it became quite an adventure. I’d say it felt dangerous as well. I’m curious to see the recommended route down to the Cherry Creek Trail from Broadway.