Are you a bicyclist and are you frustrated with all of the newly "protected" bike lanes the city of Denver is installing everywhere, unnecessarily? On a recent bike commute down 7th avenue we ran into this mess of poles and the people responsible for installing it. They appeared to be repairing or adding more bollards to this already super messy intersection. This Intersection at Adams and 7th is a pole garden, with visually distracting poles everywhere. This was a very quiet intersection, and still is, but now it feels like you're riding through a gauntlet.
Bicyclists like us are baffled by the city of Denver's decision to clutter up and visually impair our streets by installing these "temporary bollards" to count towards installing bike lanes in Denver. Denver has always (until recently) been a great place to commute on your bike. The straight grid of streets allows for easy bicycling through neighborhoods or into downtown. But the city of Denver appears to be on a mission to make it a less safe place to ride. Now, there are unnecessary bollards appearing on quiet neighborhood intersections and streets, confusing both drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.
These visually distracting bollards make it harder for drivers to see pedestrians and bicyclists, and are NOT a real barrier, we've seen many of these posts run over by vehicles on a regular basis. Most of the intersections that they are being installed on have not had any pedestrian or bicycle related accidents with vehicles, yet Denver is randomly installing them and patting themselves on the back for spending our tax dollars on adding these to our streets and telling us that they're helping make it safe.
Denver Cycling Impaired by Plastic Bollards
These new "protected bike lanes" are not safer. Far from it. Now, debris, trash, and even construction nails litter these formerly clean bike lanes – as the street sweepers can no longer clean them due to the bollards. When it snows, it's even worse, with snow and debris making the bike lanes impassable by bicyclists. The city says they are trying to work on getting new equipment and staff to now clean these "protected bike lanes" but they are already strapped for funding and staffing for just the regular street sweeping, so this is going to become a big problem.
Seventh avenue, along with many neighborhood streets, were formerly perfect for riding your bike. But, as these bollards continue to be installed and litter our streets, our formerly safe bike lanes are becoming hazard lanes. Many commuting bikers (including ourselves) now go out of our way to avoid these protected lanes of debris for a side street one over that has no bollards.
This week, we rode by 7th avenue again on the way to work, and saw these trucks from Colorado Barricade installing (or repairing) more bollards in a plastic barrier. Upon a quick google search, we found this:
Here's the deal:
A resolution approving a proposed Contract between the City and County of Denver and RDP Barricade Company LLC d/b/a Colorado Barricade Company LLC for sign construction services. Approves a contract with Colorado Barricade for $1,193,411.61 and for three years to install and maintain new and existing signage citywide, including post mounted, utility and signal pole mounted, posts in hardscape and softscape, meter posts, plastic bollards, and signs attached to permanent structures, and associated labor, material and traffic control (201736163). The last regularly scheduled Council meeting within the 30-day review period is on 10-2-17. The Committee approved filing this resolution by consent on 8-1-17.
And this is just one contract from 2017. There have surely been more since.
When did the city of Denver voters approve funding to this company for installing bollards? We are sure there were a lot of handshake deals being made without care of thought for the people of Denver. This is a money grab. The cheap plastic bollard poles are likely inexpensive but the installation can be very lucrative. Did the City Council receive bribes or kickbacks for these types of deals?
And it leaves the people of the city of Denver with this: visually distracting poles everywhere on our streets that trap debris, trash and actually create a less safe riding area for bicyclists. Many of the poles are installed only in intersections, causing bicyclists to have to move into traffic to go around them. These formerly clean and well-used bike routes have now been littered with the bollards, making the bike commute a debris-filled danger zone where it was much safer before the installation of these poles.
Shame of the city of Denver and the city council for wasting our precious tax funds on litter for our streets that will end up in the landfill, and are causing visual distraction and impairment for everyone in Denver – drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians alike. This is unnaceptable and our tax dollars have been wasted.