Thursday, June 18, 2015

Denver bicyclists test pilot program for traffic light changes

A new Denver bike initiative hopes to give the green light to safer, friendlier intersections for drivers and bicyclists alike.
Denver Public Works has installed bicycle detection technology at seven intersections across the city as part of a pilot program, said Rachael Bronson, bike planner at City and County of Denver.
Bicyclists ride onto a green symbol painted on the road, Bronson explained, where a camera hanging from the adjacent traffic light pole will detect the bike and alert the crosswalk.
A sign is in place at these seven locations to guide riders, she said.
"Instead of having a biker go up on the sidewalk, where they are not supposed to be, or ride through a red light, this will allow a bike to be noticed and should make traffic for drivers and bicyclists flow more naturally," Bronson said.
Cara Jo Miller lives in the Denver area and said she often bikes 20 miles a day for her commute and daily life.
"I think this will help cyclists be more respected," Miller said of the detection system. "Sometimes Denver roads are a hot mess for drivers. Then you mix bikes in, and it becomes this free-for-all, but I think this will alleviate some of that."
The initiative is a study funded by the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program that is looking to test the effectiveness of the detection systems through October, Bronson said. She hopes more systems can be added after the study.
Elijah Marquez and Jessie Espinoza wait for the light to turn green on Wednesday morning at the intersection of East 17th Avenue and CIty Park Esplanade,The $100,000 systems are made up of two cameras per intersection intended to capture cyclists coming from each direction, Bronson said. The pilot program is testing to see whether infrared cameras or thermal cameras work best.
The intersections being studied are West 35th Avenue and Federal Boulevard; West 17th Avenue and Federal Boulevard; East 17th Avenue and City Park Esplanade; Colorado Boulevard and Montview Street; York Street and East 23rd Avenue; Evans Avenue and Oneida Street; and East First Avenue and Gilpin Street.
If the equipment proves beneficial and further funding is granted, Bronson hopes to incorporate the local biking community in selecting the best locations for additional detection systems.
She encouraged concerned cyclists to attend the monthly Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee to voice their suggestions.
"We've got limited resources and hundreds of intersections that need it," she said, "so we welcome help identifying the highest-need areas."
Elizabeth Hernandez: 303-954-1223, or

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