Two-way streets are heading to Uptown
Denver will add more bike lanes in growing area
By the end of the year, some busy streets in Denver’s Uptown neighborhood that have seen one-way traffic for decades will have cars — and bikes — traveling in both directions.
Construction began Monday to convert East 19th and 20th avenues to two-way thoroughfares between Broadway and Park Avenue West and to add bike lanes.
Grant and Logan streets also will be converted to two-way streets between 18th and 20th avenues. The changes should be complete by late fall.
The shift to two-way traffic is a response to rapid development in Denver’s Uptown and greater residential and commercial needs, according to city officials. The neighborhood is home to residential houses and small businesses, as well as the redeveloped former site of the St. Luke’s hospital. The conversion of the streets to two-way lanes offers easier access to Uptown for residents and businesses new to the neighborhood and eases transit to and from the Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Hospital campus east of the neighborhood.
“More people are moving downtown and we’re starting to see this urban neighborhood emerge where people are walking or riding their bikes to their destinations,” said Denver City Works spokeswoman Heather Burke. “The two-way streets will give the area more of a local feel.”
Stop signs will replace traffic lights at many intersections to slow traffic. The project is estimated to cost up to $3.1 million and will be funded through tax increment financing, which leverages future increases in property tax to fund public infrastructure and support future development, said Emily Snyder, the urban mobility manager for Denver Public Works.
The project has been in the works since 2011, when Denver Moves, a public works project to improve the city’s bike and walking infrastructure, identified 19th and 20th avenues as important streets to connect Denver’s bicycle routes, Snyder said.
Chris Hinds, a neighborhood delegate for Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods, said he was pleased to see the city moving forward with plans that will encourage multi-modal transportation and lessen confusion.
“There are already signs and traffic signals in both directions,” Hinds said.
The addition of new bike lanes aligns with Mayor Michael Hancock’s $2 billion “Mobility Action Plan” to drastically reduce car use. In his State of the City address Monday, Hancock introduced a plan to reduce the percentage of resident commuters who drive to work alone to 50 percent from 73 percent by 2030.
Crews will install protected bike lanes on 19th, with physical dividers between bikes and traffic from Broadway to Grant and a bike lane without dividers running from Grant to Clarkson Street, according to city documents.
The city also plans to add an unprotected bike lane on one side of 20th Avenue between Grant and Park.