Bicyclists seeking a dedicated cycling route between Denver and Boulder now have one. The Colorado Department of Transportation has announced the Tuesday, March 1, opening of the second phase of the U.S. Express Lanes commuter bikeway. CDOT made the announcement with the High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) and Plenary Roads Denver (PRD), the project’s concessionaire. The new section, which runs from 88th Street in Louisville/Superior to Table Mesa in Boulder, brings the length of the bikeway to 18 miles.
The project’s first section, which runs 11 miles from 80th Avenue in Westminster to 88th Street in Louisville/Superior, opened to bicyclists in June 2015. The newly finished path, which should help prevent bicycle accidents, has 12-foot-wide lanes and 2-foot-wide shoulder Its. was designed with 6-inch concrete for a comfortable ride, and it connects to the existing trail system to accommodate recreational users as well as commuters.
Jennifer Rios, writing for The Daily Camera, said Westminster bicycle store owner Eric Jones, who commutes 22 miles from Boulder, plans to use the new bike path at night and when there is snow or wind. During the day and in good weather, he likes to ride on McCaslin Boulevard, which is more scenic. Jones told Rios that he hopes the new bike path is better lit along sections of the highway, and he also hopes it will be well-plowed when there are snowstorms. The worst thing about slush and ice, he said, is not riding through them, but getting splashed by cars.
‘Surge’ in Use Expected
Bicyclists may see some minor construction, landscaping, and cleanup activities on the new bikeway this spring. CDT Project Director Scott Rees encourages cyclists to tell CDOT if there is any part of the bikeway that needs attention. He added that because the completed path is “a great commute option,” the department expects a surge in the number of riders using it. There have been nearly 100 per day on average since last summer.
The bikeway cost $16.6 million, which is part of the $427 million price tag of the U.S. 36 corridor improvement. Routine maintenance and snow removal will be done by Boulder and Boulder County, according to an intergovernmental agreement with Colorado.
Larry Dawson, a ride leader for Performance Bicycle in Westminster, emphasized bicycling safety when speaking with Rios about the new bikeway. He said a long bike path is important to commuters, who face the danger of not be expected or seen in congested intersections:
When someone moves into the north metro area, it can be very intimidating if you don’t know the safe ways to navigate throughout the cities,’ he said. ‘That’s always my goal. Not to take the group on unsafe routes.