City to Spend Stimulus Funds on Bike Lanes

From the 9News website:

DENVER - People choose where they live for many reasons. For Sharon Madison, it's about the outdoors. She loves to spend countless hours on her bicycle. She says she spends 250 to 300 miles a week on her bike.

"It is the way of life, that's why it's great to live here," Madison said.

The city of Denver wants more people to bike, maybe not as hardcore as Madison, but simply to use something other than their cars to get places.

One point four percent of Denver already uses the bike to commute, according to city officials.

"We would really like to increase that number and beyond that commute trip make it so that a 7-year-old on a their way to school feels safe riding their bike or a senior citizen that would maybe take their car a few blocks to the library to get that new library book is comfortable on their bike," said Emily Kreisa, the bicycle planner recently hired by the city.

Denver Public Works believes one way to get more people biking is to improve the existing bike lanes. Some end abruptly and lead no where, others are poorly marked. Over the next few months, the department will spend $250,000 of the federal stimulus money on 11 city locations, connecting existing bike lanes to others and upgrading the signage.

"What we're really trying to do with the bicycle infrastructure is link important destinations downtown to rec centers, to parks, to different shopping districts," Kreisa said. "It's really about making smart decisions on where we're locating these facilities so that people are going to use them."

There are about 350 bicycle routes in Denver that system connects with over 800 routes in neighboring municipalities. The improvements, Denver says, will make the routes more cohesive.

The city plans to improve lanes at the following locations:

Mariposa Street - 8th Avenue to Colfax Avenue
Larimer Street - Broadway to Downing Street
Champa Street - 19th to 24th Street
Welton Street - Colfax Avenue to 14th Street
Tremont Street - 16th Street to Broadway
Stout Street - 30th Street to Downing Street
31st Avenue - Downing Street to Race Street
Martin Luther Kind Boulevard - Elizabeth Street to Quebec Street
Yale - Syracuse Way to Quebec Street
22nd Avenue - Park Avenue West to York Street
East 12th Avenue - Clayton Street to Madison Street

Madison says she supports the move.

"I do not ride the bike path, I'm always on the road, so for safety reasons it would be nice to see more bike lanes and more bike paths," Madison said.

The city also plans to update this bike route map. Right now it costs $5, but by the end of the year, it will have new routes and it will be free, available at any city center, rec center or a library.

Future possible bike lane improvements or additions will be in the Denver Public Works budget.

The department tells 9NEWS next time it's working on a street - it will consider alternative modes of transportation.

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