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Changes coming to North Franklin Street as City of Denver expands biking infrastructure

Construction begins on N. Franklin Street
Posted at 9:40 PM, May 12, 2023

DENVER — The City of Denver is continuing its years-long effort to make streets safer for pedestrians and bikers, including the addition of protected bike lanes and changes to traffic flow to reduce the speed of cars.

One of the latest projects underway is fundamental changes to several blocks of North Franklin Street near Cheesman Park.

Scott, a resident on one of the impacted blocks, reached out to Denver7’s Driving You Crazy submission form, saying he and his neighbors were caught completely off guard by the project when construction began.

A barricade now blocks traffic from turning north onto N. Franklin Street from 14th Avenue, and many freshly-painted markings on the street mark bike lanes in both directions. On-street parking has been reduced to the east side of the road.

Despite some confusion on the part of residents, the city confirms it is not turning N. Franklin into a one-way street. It is, however, planning to permanently prevent drivers from turning north on N. Franklin from 14th Avenue.

“At Franklin and 14th, we’re installing what’s called a diverter, which will serve to reduce vehicle volumes along the neighborhood bikeway to make biking a more comfortable and attractive option,” said Nancy Kuhn with the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI).

Izra Rosario, who has lived in the area for five years, said they too were surprised to learn of the project when construction started.

“I found out pretty much the exact same day that the road ended up being shut down,” Rosario said. “I was heading out to work one morning, and noticed that there’s all of these cones up and everything… and then when I came home, the road is shut down.”

The City of Denver said it conducted virtual community meetings and meetings with neighborhood groups between 2020 and 2022, and distributed public surveys for feedback on the project. The city also said it mailed postcards about the impending changes before construction started. However, Rosario said they did not receive the postcard until after work had begun.

“I check my mail every day. I’m a big fan. I’ve got multiple folks that I’m still very old school with, [we’re] pen pals,” Rosario laughed. “I would have known whether or not we had a postcard inviting us to a forum of some sort.”

Still, Rosario supports the broader efforts of the city to rework infrastructure and make Denver’s streets safer for "non-traditional" commuters.

The city of Denver has set a goal of getting 15 percent of people walking, biking, or using a “micromobility device” to get to work or school by 2030, which would be nearly double the number estimated in 2019. This will be key in decreasing traffic congestion and air pollution, the city says on its website.

“I’m a big proponent of the fact that we need to have more walkable cities, be more respectful of the non-traditional commuter. We’re a very car-centric city,” Rosario said. “But, it’s kind of one of those things where it’s like, I would have appreciated some heads up. I would have appreciated more of a say in the conversation.”

The city expects construction on N. Franklin Street to be completed this summer, weather permitting.

Denver7 traffic anchor Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 25 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook,Twitter or Instagram or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast on iTunesStitcheriHeartRadioSpotify or Podbean.