Back in 2011 Denver hired a team of consultants to perform a comprehensive update to the city’s bicycle master plan known as Denver Moves.
While New York and Washington, DC were adding physically separated cycle tracks to protect riders from automobile traffic, Denver Moves relied almost exclusively on traditional striped bike lanes.
Denver Moves proposed 121 new miles of bike lanes, however only 2.7 miles of these offered any physical protection from automobile traffic. The majority of these new cycle tracks were placed in park loops and none were located downtown where protection from traffic is most needed.
Fast forward three years and planners have realized that by providing cyclists with protected space on the roadway, conflict between cars, bikes and pedestrians can be reduced and more ordinary people can be encouraged to ride. In May, Denver began a process to update Denver Moves utilizing the latest design strategies, emphasizing ease of use for new riders and connectivity between neighborhoods. On October 7, a public open house was held to reveal a first draft of the proposed maps and designs. This update focuses on what Denver calls “enhanced bikeways”- physically protected bike lanes, buffered lanes and neighborhood bikeways:
The ambition of this plan is seen most strikingly downtown, where almost all of the striped lanes proposed in Denver Moves have been converted into protected cycle tracks:
Maps and design proposals can be viewed here and comments are still being accepted for a few more days. The city plans to start implementation with 14th Street (paralleling the protected lane on 15th St) and with Lawrence and Arapahoe Streets. This will create a low-stress north/south and east/west grid through Lodo and Arapahoe Square downtown. With any luck over the next year, this scene-
Will look something more like this-