By Jeff Todd
DENVER (CBS4)– A new library has opened in North Denver but patrons aren’t turning pages, they’re turning pedals.
“We’re not asking people to bike all the time but just try out biking once in a while and know those routes. Know how to get through the neighborhood,” said Eric Herbst with the Northeast Transit Connection.
The bike library opened earlier this month at the Focus Points Family Resource Center in the Elyria Swansea neighborhood. It has about 15 bikes from cruisers to kids bikes.
“I rented a bike myself. I picked the red bike and I’ve ridden it to work and it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be,” said Grace Soulen, the Family and Community Development Specialist at Focus Points.
“We know it’s going to be a challenge for us to get to work, so we are targeting staff as a chance to rent a bike. We’re trying to lead by example.”
The bike library is the first step in helping the community handle the impending years of construction. CDOT is planning to reconstruct 10 miles of Interstate 70 including tearing down the viaduct above the neighborhood and lowering the roadway.
With that much consecution, many believe biking across and out of the construction zone will be the best option for many people in the community.
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“I’ve seen firsthand it can be kind of tricky to get around, especially if you don’t have a car or driver’s license. With the new construction project coming, we know it’s going to cause a big headache with traffic so it’s a necessary part of the construction process but in the end it will be worth it,” Soulen said.
The bike library costs $20 a year and bikes can be checked out for 48 hours at a time.
Soulen says Focus Points plans to work with the community to grow ridership over the summer.
“We’ll do trips to specific destinations that people may want to get to on the other side of I-70 to show them a safe route to take during construction and we’ll also do learn how to ride bike days for people who don’t know how,” Soulen said.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.