If you have traveled along MLK Blvd. west of Central Park Blvd. recently, you undoubtedly noticed that the right lanes in both directions have been re-striped to allow bicycle traffic only. This big change is the result of a request submitted to Denver city government (City) by SUN in September 2011, and serves as an important link to the bicycle lanes installed on MLK west of Quebec in 2010. Combined with bicycle lanes recently added to 23rd and 26th streets in Park Hill, there are now a variety of ways for bicyclists to travel between downtown and Northeast Denver.
SUN views the new bike lanes on MLK as just one step in a much larger process of making Stapleton safer for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists alike. That process includes a variety of proposals submitted to the City by SUN in a November 2014 document that can be accessed and downloaded from the Transportation section of SUN’s website. Those proposals include the addition of bike lanes on MLK and 29th Drive between Fulton and Havana streets, something that so far has not gained traction with the City despite imminent plans to develop the Eastbridge Town Center between those streets.
Even if the City chooses to add bike lanes east of Fulton, that will still leave a significant stretch of MLK between Central Park Blvd. and Fulton without bike lanes. Unfortunately, the city has informed SUN that bike lanes are not feasible on that section of roadway because the pavement is not wide enough. According to the city, bicyclists should utilize the paved path on the north side of MLK instead. That makes it more important than ever for motorists in the area to come to a complete stop in front of stop signs as they enter MLK, particularly in high-volume areas such as the driveway for the Central Park Rec Center. Remember that if you don’t stop until after you pass a stop sign, you have already broken the law. Worse, you have jeopardized the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians who cross in front of you, both of whom have the right of way.
Stapleton was designed as a place where pedestrians and bicyclists can safely move throughout the neighborhood much more easily than they can in other places, but it only works as long as drivers hold up their end of the bargain by paying attention and keeping a lookout. That can be hard to remember during rush hour when you’re in a hurry to get to work or drop your kids off at school, but peak traffic hours are also when the most bicyclists and pedestrians are sharing the roadway with motorists. Please do your part by slowing down and looking twice at intersections.
—David Vogel, SUN Transportation Committee