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Owners anxious about how new bike lanes will impact business

Studies: Protected bike lanes may help businesses
Posted: 6:39 PM, Aug 14, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-14 20:39:16-04

DENVER -- Business owners along a six-mile stretch of South Broadway in Denver are anxious to see whether changes in traffic there will be good or bad for business.

The City of Denver added its first two-way bike lane path along South Broadway between East Bayaud Avenue to East Virginia Avenue and is set to open Aug. 15. The city hopes to promote alternative methods of transportation as the population continues to grow.

However, business owners near the affected area have a few concerns, mainly about parking.

“Parking is horrible in this area and it just lessens that,” said Laura Givins, who co-owns the Broadway Book Mall.

Givins has already seen her share of traffic problems along South Broadway, saying they’ve had two cars smash into their building.

“I don’t know how the bicycle people are going to fare,” she said.

For now city leaders will wait for three months before looking at public input to determine whether or not to keep the lanes for 15 months or longer.

Studies from cities show that with similar protected bike lanes, retail tends to go up at businesses near the lanes. In 2015, the Salt Lake City Division of Transportation f ound retail went up by nearly nine percent a year after the lanes were installed.

The New York City Department of Transportation reports r etail nearly doubled for businesses near new protected bike lanes along 9th Avenue.

Denver7 spoke with business owners along 14th Street in downtown Denver where a one-way protected bike lane already exists.

While two owners near the area say it’s still too early to know whether the lane has been good or bad for business, Jim Pittenger, who owns Pop’s Place, says parking is no longer an issue.

“It didn’t take too long for people to figure it out,” he said.

He has positive words for business owners along South Broadway on what they can expect. “I'd say look forward to it,” he said.

Givins is still on the fence about the changes.

“On the good side it could bring a lot of bike people,” she said.

However, after years of seeing the traffic and driving habits along South Broadway, she’s not entirely sure whether the trial will work out.

“I'll believe it when I see it,” she said, “how the bike people and the cars interact.”

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