The PeopleForBikes Green Lane Project has selected Denver as one of six new U.S. cities to join its intensive two-year program to build better bike lanes. Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Seattle will receive financial, strategic and technical assistance to create low-stress streets and increase vitality in urban centers through the installation of protected bike lanes. The six cities were chosen from more than 100 U.S. cities that submitted letters of interest for the program.
Launched in 2012, the Green Lane Project works with U.S. cities to speed installation of protected bike lanes around the country. These on-street lanes are separated from traffic by curbs, planters, parked cars or posts to make riding a bike an appealing option for more people.
“It was extremely difficult to narrow down our selection to just six cities; we are seeing an upsurge of interest in accommodating bikes on busy city streets,” said Martha Roskowski, vice president of local innovation for PeopleForBikes. “Denver has ambitious goals and a strong vision supported by the elected officials and community. They are poised to get projects on the ground quickly and will serve as an excellent example for other interested cities.”
Denver will install its first protected bike lane in late spring of this year when it introduces an element of vertical separation on the 15th Street Bikeway downtown. Denver is also embarking on a planning effort to identify more opportunities to install protected bike lanes in the city. By designing facilities that are attractive to more people, Denver hopes that 15% of commuting trips will be made by biking and walking by 2020.
“Walk, bike or ride – Denver is focused on strengthening our multimodal culture here in the city. We have worked hard to make significant progress in expanding our bicycle infrastructure in the last few years,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “Now, we look forward to being part of the Green Lane Project and exploring how we can increase designated spaces on the road for people on bikes and more possibilities for additional high quality bike facilities.”
In the first two years of the program (2012 and 2013), the Green Lane Project worked closely with other major U.S. cities—Austin, Chicago, Memphis, Portland, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.—to build protected bike lanes. Since then, the number of protected bike lanes on city streets nationwide has nearly doubled from 80 to 142, with more than half of all growth coming from the project’s six focus cities.
The founding cities will continue as mentors to the new class while continuing to build their bicycling networks with the momentum driven by the Project. Protected bike lanes bring predictability to busy streets: drivers like knowing where to expect riders, and pedestrians report fewer bikes on the sidewalk. The lanes make roads safer for all users, reducing bike, auto and pedestrian injuries by up to 50%.
Protected lanes also add vitality and energy to the street, attracting new businesses and helping create a community people want to be in, not just move through. In New York City, local businesses on the 9th Avenue corridor saw a 49% increase in retail sales after the construction of protected bike lanes, compared to only a 3% increase citywide.