DENVER (CBS4) – The effort really picked up speed 5 years ago and the city of Denver has just finished making its 100th mile of bike lanes.
A stretch of Water Street off 23rd Avenue is a major route for people living west of Interstate 25 to make it into downtown. On Thursday it got a lot safer — and some industry officials the new bike lanes are going to give Denver an edge in recruiting new businesses.
“We want to give people a chance to move throughout our city without a car, and to do so safely and comfortably,” Denver City Councilwoman Susan Shepherd said.
“In the 2007 downtown area plan we identified building a great bike lane network in downtown as an important quality, both to attracting and improving the livability of downtown Denver, but also to attract business,” Aylene McCallum with the Downtown Denver Partnership said.
The now 100 miles of bike lanes in Denver isn’t just helping bikers, it’s helping the city become more appealing to companies looking for a new home.
“The millennial generation really does not want to own cars. They would prefer to be able to walk to work and recreation and entertainment opportunities,” Shepherd said. “There are many studies that prove it really fosters economic development.”
“They attract high quality employees. Today’s work force wants to have high quality transportation options for where they work and bike lanes is part of that,” McCallum said. “We estimate between 4 1/2 and 6 1/2 percent of downtown Denver employees bike to work. When you look at just the employees that live within 5 miles of downtown Denver, about 15 percent of them bike to work.”
The city says it’s not stopping at 100 miles.
“Even more infrastructure and funding resources for our bikers and our pedestrians,” Shepherd said.
Studies show approximately 60 percent of the population would like to bike to work but are concerned about safety. More miles of bike lanes should change that.