Denver has taken giant steps forward in encouraging more people to ride a bike for transportation, and all that effort is paying off according to the recently released 2010 US Census American Community Survey (ACS).
Out of 43 cities with a population of more than 400,000 Denver places 6th in bicycle commuting. The number of people commuting by bike here is more than four times the national average, and has increased by 22% in the past year.
The Downtown Denver Partnership’s (DDP) annual commuter survey echoes that growth, reporting commuters in Denver’s urban core are three times as likely to travel by bike.
“We are really excited that the bicycle mode share has reached 6.3% in downtown Denver,” Cole Judge, DDP’s Downtown Research Coordinator, reports. “To give some perspective, the bicycle-friendly city of Portland, Ore. has about a 6% bicycle mode share. This means that Downtown Denver is becoming more welcoming for bicycle commuters, offering increased bicycle facilities along with a ‘safety in numbers’ factor of being surrounded by other bicyclists.”
Since 2008 Denver has more than doubled its on-street bike markings and bike parking and launched the nation’s first large-scale bike sharing program. Along with embracing large bike themed events like the city’s first Ciclovia, Denver has recently revised the city bike ordinances, and completed the Denver Moves bicycle and pedestrian plan. Public Works has begun adding new infrastructure components like bicycle lights and separated bike lanes too.
Looking to the future, BikeDenver is pleased to see that capital projects like the bicycle and pedestrian access bridge at Colorado and I-25 are coming to fruition after more than a decade of community input and planning.
Exciting new challenges and opportunities are ahead, including plans to open more of Auraria campus to people on bikes, efforts to pilot on-street bike parking, and Denver’s first separated bikeway on 15th Street.
“More people are choosing to bike for convenience or out of a conviction that biking betters our communities,” BikeDenver Executive Director Piep van Heuven said. “The next question facing the city will be: can our infrastructure keep pace with an annual (almost) 25% increase in bike trips? Denver needs to continue its commitment to building a safe environment for people who bike.”
Written by Piep van Heuvan, edited by Monica Ignaszewski