Whether they will be walking or biking to light rail, almost all Denver Union Station customers will have to use multiple forms of transit to complete their trips through DUS. Thus, if the station is going to work for all users, transit facilities for multiple modes must be strong.
The bicycle link in this transit chain is growing all the time. With a stated goal of reaching 10% commuter mode share by 2018 for bicycles, Denver is working hard to improve bicycle facilities throughout the city. As Union Station is the jewel in the FasTracks system, so should it be the jewel of Denver’s new bicycle network, a network outlined in the new DenverMoves plan. Thousands of people on bikes will travel through Union Station each day and their experience in and around the facilities will help determine whether Union Station is a success.
Below is the recently released Union Station bicycle facilities map which includes some innovative facilities and treatments that will go a long way toward making Union Station user friendly for people traveling by bicycle.
Key components of the plan include:
- Bike lanes on 16th Street from Wynkoop to the Millennium Bridge, providing key connectivity to the Wynkoop bike lane, Cherry Creek bike path, 18th Street bike lane, and future 15th Street cycle track.
- Opening day bike parking through out the facility, both racks and bike lockers, numbering 96 bike racks and 6 bike lockers.
- Room to add additional bike racks and lockers if demand requires.
- Two B-cycle bike share kiosks.
- Proposed bicycle commuter facility on 16th next to the EPA building. This facility will be built over the parking garage for one of the new tower buildings in existing public right of way that was once railroad tracks. The construction of this facility depends on the construction timing for the below ground parking garage, identifying funding, and identification of an operator for the facility. Preliminary designs are being worked on now with input from the Downtown Denver Partnership, Bike Denver and the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee. The current plans include indoor bicycle parking, repair facilities, lockers and showers similar to those found at the McDonald’s Center in Chicago pictured below.
Left: photo of the proposed site for Denver’s Bicycle Commuter Facility next to the EPA building on 16th street. Right: photo of the McDonald’s Bicycle Center in Chicago’s Millenium Park, one of the best commuter bicycle facilities in the country.
Missing from the plan, but hopefully included in the final design are:
- Proposed new bike lane on 19th to complement the existing bike lane on 18th (DenverMoves plan)
- Proposed bike signal at 16th and Wynkoop to help manage traffic safety at what will likely be a busy intersection for bikes, cars, and the mall shuttle.
- Explanation of bicycle access on 17th between light rail and Wewatta street. It’s not clear whether bikes are allowed at all on this street, which will be a key access point to businesses, the plaza and the bus terminal below.
- On-street marked facilities to 20th Street along Wewatta. 20th Street is the only bike route between 15th street and Park Avenue for a cyclist to cross over the rail road tracks without dismounting and walking over a bridge with the bike. Not an easy task. So providing a marked facility to 20th street from Union Station is an important missing element.
Overall the plan is very good and on the right track. I hope that with continued discussion and public input the plan can get even better.
John W. Hayden is a Colorado native whose passion lies in building healthy communities. As a realtor at Kentwood City Properties with 12 years experience, John has learned a great deal about what draws people to particular communities and why some neighborhoods / cities prosper while others seem to stagnate. A resident and community activist in Curtis Park just North of Downtown Denver, John is committed to making Denver a healthy, attractive place for all its residents. Building a safe, well connected bicycle network is key to achieving this goal. John is the chair of the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, a board member of BikeDenver, and is currently working on a masters degree in Urban Planning at the University of Colorado, Denver.