AURORA, Colo. -- If you’ve driven near the Anschutz Medical campus during rush hour, you know how traffic can bog down, especially on Colfax.
As more drivers use nearby Montview Boulevard, the risk increases for bicyclists.
So Aurora, which recently repaved Montview, is creating dedicated bike lanes between Havana and Oswego Streets.
“This is a pilot project,” said Anthony Avery, of Aurora Planning Services. “It’s a safety project.”
Avery told Denver7 that bicyclists have been sharing traffic lanes with cars and trucks.
He said most bike riders keep to the far right unless they’re they're trying to get around a parked car.
“When parked cars enter the picture,” he said, “bicycles merge into traffic and that creates a safety hazard for people driving and for people riding bikes.”
“There were definitely some hairy times,” said Derek Smith, who uses Montview to commute on his bike. "I look forward to having some new bike lanes and feeling a bit safer.”
As part the bike lane project, the city plans to eliminate parking on that stretch of Montview. That’s a move that concerns several business owners.
“I know a lot of people are used to parking in front,” said Olga Chiprez, owner of Olga’s Hair Salon near Montview and Newark. “They don’t like to park in the back.”
“If they don’t see an empty spot [in front], they don’t stop by,” said Primo Banuelos, owner of Carniceria La Consentida.
Avery said the city is working with business owners to address their concerns and may provide resources to help direct customers to the back parking lots.
He said Aurora has consulted with Denver Public Works and Boulder Go in hopes of avoiding some of the same problems they experienced.
Boulder installed dedicated bike lanes on Folsom Street and ended up removing a section that created big traffic tie-ups.
Denver is in the midst of a pilot project on South Broadway, one that has some business owners complaining about a shift of parking from the curb to what used to be a traffic lane.
Avery said Montview is different.
He said no traffic lanes will be eliminated. There will continue to be two in each direction and the center, left-turn lane, will be preserved.
Avery said 16,000 cars a day use that street. So do 150 bikes.
He said Montview is a key transportation corridor between the Anschutz Campus and all points west and will become even more important, as the campus is built out.
“They’ll have about 42,000 employees at build out,” he said. “That’ll be in about 10 to 15 years.”
Avery told Denver7 that city staff will evaluate traffic and crash data and will collect feedback from residents and business owners, over the next year.
He said very few residents park along the street, because of concerns that their cars could be hit by fast moving traffic.
He said if the bike lanes work, they'll consider extending them westward toward Yosemite Street.
Concerned residents can send their comments, about those plans, via email to email@example.com.