Denver Will Add 17 Miles of New Bike Lanes This Year. Here’s Where.
Denver will build 16.8 miles of new bike lanes this summer, kicking off the construction of 125 miles of bikeways the city will add to its network over the next five years. This summer’s work includes nine projects, most in lower-income areas outside of the city center.
As the Denver finally accelerates the expansion of its bike network, advocates expressed support.
“This is exactly the direction Denver needs to be moving in.” said Piep van Heuven, policy director of Bicycle Colorado. “We have to really expedite lanes that everybody can feel comfortable biking on, whether you’re eight years old or 80 years old.”
The Department of Public Works will create a series of “backbone” bike lanes that will eventually connect the city’s neighborhoods. But first, it will focus on building cohesive networks within three of ten communities it identified for improvements.
“We will plan, design and build all of the bikeways in the first three community networks in the first three years,” said Heather Burke, a spokesperson for DPW. “This is approximately 100 miles of work.”
Denver’s bike infrastructure is best in its urban core, which tends to serve the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods and downtown, where wages are highest. This year, the city will focus on neighborhoods elsewhere in the city.
“Many of these lanes connect areas that previously haven’t had good bike corridors,” said van Heuven. “Or they enhance facilities that are important connectors.”
Yesterday, Streetsblog profiled young cyclists who were unable to ride to school on National Bike to School Day. They live west of I-25, in a lower-income area with especially poor bike infrastructure. One of the projects would build a neighborhood bikeway on S. Knox Ct, near Westwood, where they live.
“It’s probably the number one project I’m excited about from an equity perspective,” said van Heuven. “This is an area of town that has seen little, if any, bike infrastructure.”
The Knox Ct. project will be a 1.2 mile neighborhood bikeway (formerly known as a bicycle boulevard), which will transform the street into a “comfortable and attractive bicycling environment,” through elements like traffic circles, which can slow traffic.
“It is the redesign of a street that is most convenient for people biking,” van Heuven said. “And it actually discourages speeding and car travel to a certain extent.”
Most of the nine projects the city will build this year are relatively short, between 0.4 miles and 2.4 miles. When the city adds bike lanes on both sides the street, these distances are cut in half.
As the expansion of the bike network gains momentum, van Heuven urges people to offer feedback on additional projects DPW plans to build next year and later.
“It’s really important to attend the protected bike lane community meetings, to let the city know what design elements you want to see in those protected lanes,” she said.
The public can offer comments on the city’s website or attend any of six meetings coming up later this month. More information is available on this website.