In Denver, They Get It: Bikes Are Good for Business

People see bicycles and bicycle infrastructure in a lot of different ways. In New York, for instance, some politicians and business owners seem to view bike lanes and the people who ride in them as somehow dangerous for small businesses.

This in spite of studies that have shown better bicycle facilities are likely to be good for business.

In Colorado, apparently, they get it. Today on the Streetsblog Network, we’re featuring a post from member blog Bike Denver about this month’s recipient of the "Bicycle Friendly Business" award:

71963559_4f920fc97f.jpgBike parking in downtown Denver. Photo by richardmasoner via Flickr.

September honoree Downtown Denver Business Improvement District
(BID) committed $50,000 to install new bike parking facilities
downtown, including 100 new bicycle “U” racks throughout the Central
Business District and Lower Downtown and the launch of a matching
grants awards program for property owners interested in installing new
bike parking facilities or expanding existing facilities.

“We
strongly encourage bicyclists to utilize this mode of transportation
throughout Downtown,” said Tami Door, President & CEO of the
Downtown Denver Partnership. "Our surveys show that roughly 6% of the
Downtown workforce consistently commutes by bicycle — and we are
confident this number can expand with the right infrastructure
investments."

A recent article on the Village Voice website by Mathew Katz highlighted a couple of New York businesses that are actively seeking cyclists’ patronage by offering discounts. (We’re not aware of any stateside brothels that are matching this Berlin brothel’s incentive, however.)

Do you know of any businesses in your part of the world that are angling for the cycling trade? Give them some credit in the comments.

Another favorable notice for Colorado from the network: Barry’s Bike Blog, out of Louisville, Kentucky, contrasts media treatment of a Boulder cyclist’s death with the way such crashes are covered in the Bluegrass State.

  • JL

    While I commend the Downtown Denver BID for their commitment to bicycling I can’t say the same about Denver as a whole. The city of Denver and the surrounding municipalities (minus Boulder of course) could care less about bicycling as a serious mode of transportation. As a former resident of Denver I found the biking environment to be very hostile. Bike lanes stopped and started with maintenance being non existent. The “bike network” is a joke that was created back in 1993 with a lazy update in 2001.

    I’d rather have Commissioner Sadik-Khan and the DOT over a bike friendly BID and $50,000 any day of the week. While New York has plenty to do for bicycling it’s certainly more bike friendly then Denver. Heck, it’s even illegal to ride or lock your bike along Denver’s 16th Street bus and pedestrian mall, the retail backbone of the downtown BID. How bike friendly is that? Actions truly speak louder then words and money in this case.

  • cat

    For some reason, it seems like this blog and similar sites are consistently anxious to cast Denver and Colorado as being bike-friendly and sustainable on the level of places like Portland. I don’t understand it. Is it because people here on the east coast idealize the mountains and the sunshine and, pretty much, the West as a whole?

    As a former long-time resident of Denver, I wish the Denver-hype were true, because then I might actually still live there. One of the problems with Denver is that the city officials know they can earn this type of hype my taking highly publicized actions such as this, but the reality is that these actions only apply to the downtown proper area (the southern portion of the diagonal-grid section), where pretty much nobody lives. Outside of this part of town, Denver is only slightly better than any 99% car-dependent city anywhere else in the U.S, and outside of a few central neighborhoods it quickly deteriorates into mindless suburbia where nobody walks and bicyclists are unwelcome

    I understand that people like to imagine that there are mid-sized U.S. cities out in the West that “get it.” But Denver is not one of them. The city has a long history of hyping up its downtown at the expense of the parts of town where people actually live.

  • I moved from NYC to Denver a couple of months ago. Most business here do have bike racks set up out front to serve bikers, even the big box shopping malls. At the hospital I work at they recently converted a smoking hut into a bike shelter and there is also a secure, video-monitored bike cage. Unlike New York, it is never difficult to find a free rack, but this probably has more to do with the far fewer numbers of bikers (and people in general) here. As far as being bike friendly, we do have bike paths following the rivers, but aside from that you are pretty much on your own. However, the streets here seem practically deserted compared to New York, so I am not sure if there is a great need for protected lanes and such. I do miss flying by all the cars stuck in gridlock in NYC 🙂

    Bike share is supposed to start this spring. It could be transformative or just hot air.

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