Pop-up bike lane being tested on Broadway

Posted at 12:17 PM, Sep 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-26 14:17:57-04

A temporary "Pop-up protected bike lane" has been installed on Broadway between 1st and Bayaud Avenues through the weekend.

The city, along with BikeDenver, has converted the far left lane of traffic and the metered parking spots, into a two-way bike lane, reserved for cyclists.

"It has a very clear icon that says, 'bikes on this side, cars on this side,'" said BikeDenver Executive Director Molly North. "It feels so good to be on this major arterial and be able to feel safe on your bike. It's really amazing."

Cyclists that use Broadway to try to get from Colfax Avenue to Interstate 25, have to ride with the traffic, illegally on the sidewalk or use less direct side streets.

"The whole idea of this protected bike lane was to experience what it would be like to have a bike facility on Broadway," said Denver Public Works spokeswoman Nancy Kuhn.

The closed left lane took drivers by surprise as they headed south on Broadway during Friday rush hour.

Traffic was backed up three blocks as drivers realized they had to get out of the left lane.

"I ride on Broadway, I know a lot of people that ride on Broadway and it can be a dangerous proposition," said Chia Basinger, owner of Sweet Action Ice Cream. "This has been a very car heavy street for a long time and we think that it's possible to have bikes on Broadway as well."

"The traffic is already so congested at certain times of the day, I just don't know why Broadway is so important to them, to do it here," said Sarah Lilly-Ray, owner of True Love Shoes. "I don't understand why Broadway is the focus of this."

The city of Denver is trying to figure out a plan for bicyclists to commute from Colfax Avenue to I-25, but won't demonstrate that plan until next spring, However, 7NEWS found out it does not matter how many cyclists do or do not use the lanes this weekend to determine success or failure.

"There's no, 'if we see 100 bikes that's success and if we don't then that means it's a failure'," said Basinger. "Success for this project, for us, is opening people's eyes towards what can be possible on Broadway."

"Success would be to create a safer corridor for everyone," said Kuhn. "What would it look like? What would be the benefits? What would be the trade-offs? What would be the alternatives?"

On Saturday afternoon, those in the area between 1st and Bayaud Avenue will be given a survey to determine what works and what doesn't.

"The survey will really tell us; how much money people are spending in the corridor, how much are they spending here? If there was a protected bike lane, how often would they come back?" said North.

The bike lane will be wiped clean Sunday night and drivers will have use of all the lanes by Monday morning.

Click here for more information about the study.

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