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DENVER — Anyone who drives down South Broadway near Alameda Avenue knows how congested it is. And anyone who rides a bike there knows it, too.

The city of Denver began construction Monday for a temporary bike lane along a six-block stretch of South Broadway between Bayaud and Virginia streets. It’s a major change.

The city will study safety issues and decide whether to make the bike lane permanent.  The four lanes of through traffic for vehicles are being reduced to three lanes.  The bike lane will be the first lane near the left curb and the parking lane will be adjacent to that.

The city said bicyclists currently have to ride on the sidewalk or in a busy traffic lane, and that is not safe for anyone.

“We have pedestrians, we have bike riders, cars and transit,” spokeswoman Nancy Kuhn said. “What we want to do is better organize this traffic for safety reasons.”

Reaction is mixed.  Some say the bike lane is a great idea.  But others worry it will create more congestion for vehicles and that could hurt businesses.

The initial study is slated to last three months.  If it seems to be working, the study will go on through next fall.  Kuhn said if there are not any safety issues, the bike lane could eventually be extended farther south and north into downtown.

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