These Planters Along the Larimer Street Bike Lane Protect People Better Than Plastic Posts

Photo: David Sachs
Photo: David Sachs

Protected bike lanes are becoming more and more common around Denver, but the city hasn’t figured out how to stop people from parking cars in them. Part of the problem comes down to materials: The flexible plastic posts that Denver Public Works uses to keep cars out of bike lanes aren’t strong enough to deter the determined.

Enter heavy-duty planters, which now line the bike lane on Larimer Street between Auraria Campus and 14th Street. With DPW’s approval, the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District installed the planters as part of a redesign of the segment, first reported by DenverUrbanism, that claimed space from motor vehicles for people on bikes. The Auraria Higher Education Center paid for the planters. The new design initially had only the plastic posts:

Photo: Ryan Dravitz/DenverUrbanism
Photo: Ken Schroeppel/DenverUrbanism

Now Larimer has planters alternating with the plastic posts, the first bike lane in Denver to get this treatment. The planters are heavy and look like they would necessitate some expensive auto body work if someone drove into one. They send a much stronger signal to drivers that this space is for bicyclists. (They should also show DPW how to save money in the long run, since they’re expected to last longer than the plastic bollards.)

This segment is just two blocks long, but it could be the start of something big, if DPW extends the use of planters to other protected bike lanes. Denverites are still waiting for DPW to “pilot” planters on the 15th Street and Arapahoe Street bike lanes. Hopefully it won’t take long for the city to give more bike lanes around the city the planter treatment.

This article was changed to correct the group that installed the planters, which was the Downtown Denver BID, not Denver Public Works. The Auraria Higher Education Center paid for the planters.

  • Curtis Parc

    This is great, but I’m confused. It is a two-way lane since it has the double yellow stripe? And if that’s the case, why are there diagonals going across side?

    • Travis Madsen

      I think the city meant for it to be a one way lane, but in practice a lot of us use it as a 2-way. It’s the best way to get down to the comfort of the creek path after the 15th street protected lane unceremoniously ends at Larimer Square.

      • JZ71

        And that is precisely why cyclists get blowback from drivers – you can’t just follow the rules when they’re convenient, since that’s the same excuse drivers use about parking in a bike lane!

        • Ben Hammond

          If it was clearly marked you might have a point… as it stands now the paint is super confusing so I don’t anyone using it as a two lane could be blamed.

          • iBikeCommute

            The bike lane is not two way but it clearly needs to be. I can’t fathom why this did not occur to DPW.

  • Ben Schumacher

    If they’re not quick enough rolling them out to other bike lanes…do you think they’d remove planters that others install?

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