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South Broadway bike lanes confuse drivers, cyclists

DENVER -- Business owners on South Broadway are combining forces and gearing up to tell the city of Denver what they think about newly-placed bike lanes just south of Bayaud Avenue.

Criticism over less street parking is one of the top concerns of business owners.

The new lanes are still confusing people, according to cyclists and business owners. Those who like the extra cycling space say it’s a sign of Denver being a progressive city.

Others say the new lanes complicate things for everyone. Critics are signaling the current Broadway layout could be improved.

“Just with the traffic, the buses … it doesn’t make anybody feel safe,” said Terry Sheasby, owner of Gary Lee’s Motor Club and Grub on South Broadway.

There is a bike lane in both directions on the east side of the busy one-way street. The lanes have been designed to add protection with a buffer zone of parallel parking.

But the design has made parallel parking more limited.

“About 14 or 15 parking spots were lost [near my restaurant],” said Sheasby, who said the now scarce parking is impacting his business.

Drivers and cyclists don’t follow the new traffic light rules, according to business owners and other cyclists. The lights are timed to allow cyclists to move across an intersection while cars are prevented from doing so.

“They’re pretty well marked, if you can see all the signs,” cyclist Andy Cahill said. "[The signs] tell the other cars not to turn left. I think it’s just going to take some time to get used to.”

Business leaders are set to meet Monday to form a united front, petitioning the city to make changes or to do away with the lanes all together.

“[The lanes make] it very useful to get in and around town,” Cahill said.

A permanent South Broadway bike lane plan is in the works. Business leaders are hoping they will be part of that planning conversation. The business owners' meeting is set for 10 a.m. Monday.