If you drive a ramp-equipped van, you know how hard it is to find on-street parking. In its attempts to beautify and modernize, Denver has done two things that make it even harder: added planters, trees, bike racks, and other obstructions near the curb; and moved a large number of on-street spaces to the middle of the street to accommodate bike lanes.
CREEC in partnership with Michelle Uzeta, a California lawyer with extensive experience in this area, are investigating.
Over the past few years, Denver has constructed a network of “parking protected bike lanes,” where – as the name suggests – bike lanes are protected by a row of parked cars. Here’s an example from 14th Street near Larimer:
While this may encourage cyclists, it has the effect of eliminating on-street parking for people with disabilities, especially those who drive or use vans with ramps that deploy out the passenger side. As is clear from the photo above, the ramp would be blocked by the bollards and would, in any event, put the wheelchair-user in the middle of the bike lane, posing a danger to both cyclist and wheeler.
Denver has installed these lanes around the city without making up for the lost accessible parking.
In addition, Denver simply lacks sufficient accessible on-street parking. The city counts 36 marked accessible spaces, though a number of those are inaccessible or nonexistent. This is in contrast to the over 3,800 ordinary metered on-street parking spaces offered in the same area. This situation is further exacerbated by the fact that many of these on-street spaces are obstructed.
We are glad that Denver is becoming a more bike-friendly city. We call on the city to become more wheelchair-friendly as well.