Two-way streets are head­ing to Up­town

Den­ver will add more bike lanes in grow­ing area

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Libby Rainey

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.

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