Denver Will Add 17 Miles of New Bike Lanes This Year. Here’s Where.

At this neighborhood bikeway (once known as a bicycle boulevard) in Vancouver, bicycles can enter via the cutout, but cars can only exit. Photo: Payton Chung via Flickr
At this neighborhood bikeway (once known as a bicycle boulevard) in Vancouver, bicycles can enter via the cutout, but cars can only exit. Photo: Payton Chung via Flickr

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.

This summer, Denver will install the bike lanes shown here.
This summer, Denver will install the bike lanes shown here. Map: Department of Public Works. (Interactive map below)

“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.

 

Open this map in your browser.

  • ColoNick

    Nothing but a few crumbs from DPW. While we are supposed to be excited about 17 miles of paint, for some real context, DPW re-paves and re-strips over 400 miles of roadway every single year. See https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/denver-department-of-public-works/newsroom/2017/paving-update-april-27.html.

    • TakeFive

      For clarification that 400 miles is closer to 80-100 lane miles. Even at 100 miles a year I’m unaware of what percentage of total lanes miles that is? Prior to Elevate Denver Bonds passing Denver had over $100 million in deferred road maintenance. It’s also a good idea to stripe bike lanes after the road has been repaved rather than before.

      • Brian Jeffrey

        In my recent discussion with DPW they admitted that they had poor coordination between street maintenance, construction digs, and paving but they implemented some software solution that keeps digging up new paving and other conflicts from happening this year.

  • john

    what a shame. we’re taking away street parking for bike lanes to go on roads that are already right next to perfectly well established and safer bike trails. why are we routing bike traffic on mlk? with the rise of scooters that are almost invisible to automobile drivers, these dangers will show themselves even more. stick to the back roads…

    • MrMedic

      oh no, won’t somebody think of the cars?

      • john

        maybe the biker should think about the car that might hit him on the busiest roads in town. or stick to the back roads where traffic is moving slowly. some of these new unnecessary lanes are clearly political land grabs.

        • John Riecke

          Perhaps you’d like to check out bikstreets.com They provide just the kind of resource you’re looking for.

          • TakeFive

            I wasn’t even aware of that site. Btw, it’s a good idea to copy the url and just drop it into you comment; then you needn’t worry about your misspelling. 🙂

            It’s sounds so easy and simple but it’s not (and Central 70 is NOT a $2 billion project) – but lack of candor in propaganda is not unexpected.

          • john

            bikestreets seems to agree that jamming bikers into busy roads is a bad idea.

        • Nicholas L

          Aggressive drivers should be aware that there are attorneys who specialize in going after drivers who cause injury to cyclists.

    • Tyler

      What makes scooters almost invisible to drivers? They are the same size as a pedestrian and have lights on them. If you can’t see them from your car, you have other issues to address.

      MLK is a 30 mph road with homes, parks, and schools. It’s perfect for bike traffic. If you need to travel E/W faster than that, go drive on I70.

      • john

        MLK is 35 with traffic going faster. It has nothing to do with my driving. It’s common sense. Same reason you don’t bike on Colorado Blvd. Avoid conflict. There are streets everywhere, so we’re going to jam a bikes on the busiest roads for what? Politics I know, because it looks good to have bike lanes everywhere, especially in visible locations. It’s also good politics in Denver to say you removed three parking spots, you know, because parking is bad.

        Anyway this is one of the few roads in town that cars can count on flowing. You have parallel roads that could be great for this with much slower traffic. This isn’t Broadway with businesses and people everywhere, this is MLK that’s more about moving traffic than anything else.

        Look, I get that bike lanes on MLK could help, but that’s only because the bikers would be riding without lanes already. Give them lanes, lots of them. But putting them on one of the few roads that moves car traffic effectively is silly, especially since there are plenty of alternatives.

        I ride my bike all over the place as well, I just stay away from death zones, like MLK with drivers flying past me at 40 mph or higher. It’s not crazy to ask bikers to go three extra blocks or have to stop for three extra stop signs a trip for the sake of cohesion. And if cars will disappear like so many say, these routes would be temporary and bikes could take over MLK when appropriate. Cars may suck, but wishing them away isn’t especially effective.

        • Tyler

          The stretch of MLK between Elizabeth and Downing (which is what’s referenced in this article) is 30 mph. If you don’t know the speed limit where you’re driving, there’s something wrong with your driving. There are parks and schools along MLK. Stop speeding.

          • john

            it’s absurd that this is where they put the bike lane when there are parallel roads without much traffic at all that could be used. war on cars, i know i get it. i’ll bike to work in the next hail storm. no prob.

      • john

        are you joking about scooters, flying through crosswalks at five times the speed of pedestrians being harder to spot? have you actually driven in the last several years or are you one of those bikers that believes since you ride a bike we all should and that’s all that matters?

  • Brian Jeffrey

    I would really appreciate some factual and informative journalism from Streetsblog Denver instead of a mouthpiece for Piep Van Huven. There is some actual information you could have reported instead of using the entire article to quote philosophical tomes from Piep. DPW folks and Heather could have helped you with some more relevant fact gathering.

    Here are a few items that would have fulfilled a minimal investigative effort:
    – The list of 2019 projects you copied into the article have been present on the DPW website for some time. 1) Are they fully funded? 2) If fully funded, does that include design costs? 3) If yes to 2, when will these be complete (it’s nearly June)? Surely there’s a GANNT chart at DPW that would reveal the priorities, which ones to be built first, expected completion. I think affected neighborhoods might have interest especially considering DPW’s track record for meeting schedule or promises 4) Are these one-way, two-way? 5) Why did you choose these routes and configurations, besides the fact that some are in marginalized neighborhoods? An effective route for hood to school? To commerce? To transit?

    – Instead of repeating the “plan” to add 125 miles of bikeways over 5 years (a typical “promise” by the Hancock admin) you might have revealed the reality of that, i.e., the fact that GO bond only covers 50 miles (including the PBL’s) and the remaining 75 is not funded, hoping for annual GIF infusions. These kinds of thinly veiled PR copy deserve context instead of just parroting them. This is why people have lost faith in any such declarations ever becoming reality. This has been going on since 2011.

    – Another area to provide context is the nebulous “neighborhood bikeway”. It has numerous interpretations but has some widely used bullet-point goals. That said, what elements will the Knox Ct. one be like? What’s DPW’s design interpretation? **How** do they enhance safety? Did they choose it to enhance the neighborhood only and intentionally (for now) make it an isolated mini-network to provide a safe route to school? Transit? A safe route to other bike lanes or paths? Commerce?

    – Heather :”100 miles during first 3 years”. Where? Why? When? Are you going to fully abandon the goal of interconnected paths and/or bike arterial in the interim?

    – Did you know that the foundation is still the 2011 Denver Moves map (as a dynamic). It’s a starting point for context.

    All this just adds to the salad of “gonna do this”, “gonna do that” we’ve been ingesting since 2011. A legit effort from DPW (and reported by urban focused media) would include lists, designs, timelines, deadlines, a column that checks the box of fully, partially, or not funded. Poor dissemination of hard info is a strategy to provide infinite room to execute, or not. DPW has a really awful cred problem. Help them rebuild it by digging deeper on what will actually happen when, what dollars they have, how they intend to spend it, and why they do what they do

    Finally, I will try to deflect the incoming pending attacks because I mentioned Piep in anything but a glowing light. I acknowledge her hard work, the fact that she goes to every single meeting under the sun, and that she is the #1 champion for DPW. It has a place in the marcom strategy. But so much of this meeting info never sees the light of day, nor even summarized publicly (another tome for another day).

    I’m glad to see that there is some softening on attendance of the PBL meetings from, “you give up the right to complain” stance previously sent to shame interested bike advocates to attend (they are, in fact, poorly attended, but the reasons are another tome for another time).

    I think it the responsibility of good journalism to collect her perspective, report on it, fact check it, and attempt to get straight facts from the teams in city government who are responsible for design, plan, and construct tasks with sufficient detail to inspire confidence of the current or interested bike community to understand,and to participate – voluntarily, when things that affect them directly are being revealed.

    • TakeFive

      Great insight. Good questions, but

      I’m not sure the Seattle Bike Blog even covers things in that much detail but it does nicely cover bike issues. But it’s bike blog. https://www.seattlebikeblog.com/

      • Brian Jeffrey

        I am not suggesting that a single article have a massive background and detail covering every bullet I noted. But all of it needs to be somewhere, aggregated either in a blog and/or in combination with improvements to DPW dissemination. Lots of links in a base article to DPW, with missing info in the article. Example: link to the bike page that claims the 125 miles over 5 years, then add a paragraph about what’s funded, what’s not. Creating context is a 101 of journo. But if you don’t dig for the info, you can’t reference it. Especially – when it comes to funding, take nothing for granted.

        Denver and cyclists could be inspired and skepticism diminished with actual project road maps and honest transparency. Thanks for the link!

        • TakeFive

          Fair enough; I do appreciate your insight on the topic.

          With respect to funding and with the Elevate Denver bond funding in hand, I’m guessing they assume money from the annual CIP can be used for more bike lanes.

          • Brian Jeffrey

            After the GO bond $ are spent, they’re counting on annual CIF $, which is of course dependent on council and mayor. DPW is doing their planning around getting $5MM/year. We’re in this place because Denver Moves went essentially unfunded until Mayor Hancock decided he wanted a 3rd term, and before the GO bond came available.

          • TakeFive

            It could be worse. Who’s idea was it to create Denveright/Denver Moves in the 1st place? Thanks to that process the ball has been significantly advanced. Srsly, consider where Denver would be if not for that process?

          • Brian Jeffrey

            Yes, we have a plan. A plan to 2040 with lots of great ideas and vision for Denver and no detail, no plan, no timelines for getting there. Denver has been masterful at dreaming, now we need leaders who will take it, prioritize it, commit to short term goals, and fund it. It just a dream until you break it into bite size, and fund it. Then I’ll be excited.

          • TakeFive

            Eh, well I’m a transit fan. Any clue how many $billions Denver needs even in today’s $’s never mind tomorrow’s $’s or how they should find them?

        • Brian Jeffrey

          This is an example of information about what is happening that is confusing. On the DPW website, it shows that the neighborhood bikeways are expected to be installed in 2018. Additionally, it shows the Knox bikeway still in design process. Link: https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/bicycling-in-denver/infrastructure/shared-facilities.html

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/762107be54f7d43dced3000f88baca1a8b7b8abaf4de957d9d51cba57b5b2031.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8427f3ea8948affdcceb577bcb42479dc210c695214c921e572605e4bb33338e.png

  • TakeFive

    A lot of time, effort and planning has obviously gone into this. I think it’s exciting to see Denver moving in the right direction.

    I know well what a good bike route/lanes look like. Scottsdale has been a gold standard city for many years. They also have awesome streets which include roundabouts, circles and chicanes all over the place. High quality streets and bike lanes go hand in hand; they’re not separate.

    It’s also important to recognize that Scottsdale doesn’t need worry themselves over snow and snow plows. They don’t have to deal with the annual freezing-thawing cycles that destroy roads like Denver does.

    • Brian Jeffrey

      Yes, nearly 8 years of effort and planning – and now it is a dire safety issue. Now that they have $$ to spend, get on it as a high priority. Excitement will come when there is conversion from planning into implementation to capturing engagement and buy-in from affected neighborhoods, convincing would-be bicyclists and current riders that there are safe paths that get them where they are going. Progress is beyond glacial for even the most simple unprotected, paint-on-street lanes. With Denver growing at a steep pace, DPW needs to do much better and shift priorities.

  • Brian Jeffrey

    The cycling advocacy community would benefit from some factual and informative journalism from Streetsblog Denver instead of just a mouthpiece for Piep van Heuven. There is some actual information you could have reported instead of using the entire article to quote her philosophical tomes. DPW folks and Heather could help you with relevant fact gathering. Here are a few items that would have fulfilled a minimal investigative effort.The list of 2019 projects you copied into the article have been present on the DPW website for some time. Are they fully funded? If fully funded, does that include design costs? If yes , when will these be complete, it’s nearly June? Surely there’s a GANNT chart at DPW that would reveal the priorities, which ones to be built first, which are still being designed, expected completion. I think affected neighborhoods might have interest especially considering DPW’s track record for meeting schedule or promises. Are these one-way, two-way? Why did you choose these routes and configurations, besides the fact that some are in marginalized neighborhoods? An effective route for hood to school? To commerce? To transit? Instead of repeating the plan to add 125 miles of bikeways over 5 years, a typical promise by the Hancock admin, you might have revealed the reality of that GO bond only covers 50 miles including the PBL’s and the remaining 75 is not funded, hoping for annual GIF infusions. These kinds of thinly veiled PR copy deserve context instead of just parroting them. This is why people have lost faith in any such declarations ever becoming reality. This has been going on since 2011. Another area to provide context is the nebulous “neighborhood bikeway”. It has numerous interpretations but has some widely used bullet-point goals. That said, what elements will the Knox Ct. one be like? What’s DPW’s design interpretation? How do they enhance safety? Did they choose it to enhance the neighborhood only and intentionally (for now) make it an isolated mini-network to provide a safe route to school? Transit? A safe route to other bike lanes or paths? Commerce? Heather :”100 miles during first 3 years”. Where? Why? When? Are you going to fully abandon the goal of interconnected paths and/or bike arterial in the interim? The DPW site still says they are still in design but also say that they are slated for completion in 2018! Did you know that the foundation is still the 2011 Denver Moves map (as a dynamic). It’s a starting point for context. All this just adds to the salad of gonna do this, gonna do that we’ve been ingesting since 2011. A legit effort from DPW, and reported by urban focused media would include lists, designs, timelines, deadlines, a column that checks the box of fully, partially, or not funded. Poor dissemination of hard info is a strategy to provide infinite room to execute, or not. DPW has a really awful cred problem. Help them rebuild it by digging deeper on what will actually happen when, what dollars they have, how they intend to spend it, and why they do what they do. Finally, I acknowledge Piep van Heuven’s hard work, the fact that she goes to every meeting under the sun, and that she is the biggest champion for DPW. It has a place in the marcom strategy. So much of this meeting info never sees the light of day, nor even summarized publicly. I’m glad to see that there is some softening on attendance of the PBL meetings of you give up the right to complain stance previously sent to shame interested bike advocates to attend. They are, in fact, poorly attended, but the reasons are another tome for another time. I think it the responsibility of good journalism is to collect her perspective, report on it, fact check it, and attempt to get straight facts from the teams in city government who are responsible for design, plan, and construct tasks, with sufficient detail to inspire confidence of the current or interested bike community to understand,and to participate – voluntarily.

  • Nicholas L

    Better bikeways are a smart way to keep high income tech workers paying taxes in one city over another.

    Here’s where to send bike plan feedback: https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/bicycling-in-denver/get-involved.html

  • james

    Great news for sure, but how is finishing the Broadway protected bike lane not apart of this…

  • Alice

    No more bike lanes! Cyclists never even use them, everyday I witness cyclists weaving in and out of traffic at high speeds darting from one lane to the next but yet they complain when people hit them.

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