Bike activists want to see more protected lanes in Denver
Advocates are calling out the city's plan to build its bike infrastructure, hoping Denver invests in more protected lanes for people to ride safely.
Why it matters: Protected lanes make cyclists feel more comfortable, give riders another way to get around, and help replace emissions-emitting cars.
By the numbers: Of the 107 miles of bikeways built and upgraded since 2018, 31 miles are protected, according to Denver's transportation and infrastructure department. This means lanes with a vertical element or physical separation.
- Yes, but: Just 5 miles will be protected of the 44 miles of new bikeways and upgrades planned over the next year.
The big picture: Jill Locantore, executive director at Denver Streets Partnership, said cyclists generally want to see protected lanes that include some physical barrier between them and a car lane.
- This includes lanes with plastic bollards or other barriers, like concrete.
- Such design is often more expensive, Locantore said, and can prompt public outcry if installation means removing a car or parking lane.
What they're saying: "That's not great," Rob Toftness, co-founder of the Denver Bicycle Lobby, told Axios Denver when he learned the total number of protected lanes in the city. The lobby is a grassroots group advocating for bike infrastructure and safety.
- "We want to make it easy for people on bikes to ride at a speed that is comfortable for them without interference from prevailing traffic," the city's transportation department spokesperson Vanessa Lacayo told Axios Denver in an email.
- "For each new project, we take in consideration the width of the road, existing vehicle use/speeds, community input, adjacent land use and activities, as well as national standards and guidelines."
Between the lines: The city has installed protected lines along some busy corridors in the city, including Broadway and Central Park Boulevard.
- The city newest protected lanes are along both sides of 17th Avenue near Sloan's Lake.
Details: The city says its goal to build 125 miles of bikeways includes "high-comfort" lanes, but that term does not necessarily mean protected.
- The city defines "high comfort" as those including encompasses shared use paths and neighborhood bikeways, which don't have any kind of separation.
- Neighborhood bikeways are installed in low-volume, low-speed streets, often in residential areas. The city says design elements like signage — such as bike sharrows, road markers depicting bicycles — and curb extension are meant to slow traffic and prioritize bicycles.
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