Denver’s new designated bus lanes on 15th Street make bus travel a breeze

No one likes to sit in traffic, whether you’re on Colorado Boulevard heading to the store, sitting in your ski gear on I-70 anticipating fresh snow, or waiting on the tarmac for your flight to take off for a dream destination. Traffic is a drag.

As a daily bus rider, I am not immune to the traffic delays that my fellow rail riders get to avoid, but things are getting a little bit quicker for us bus riders. New street improvements made by the City and County of Denver, including bus-dedicated lanes, are making it easier for more and more people to move around the city.

If you find yourself on 15th Street in downtown Denver, you might notice lanes marked “BUS ONLY.” This is one of many new improvements in the downtown area designed to ease congestion and provide a reason for people to try out a new way of commuting.

Regular riders like me, can comfortably sit on a bus as it lets passengers board and deboard without delays. This is a time-saver. The bus doesn’t get stuck behind cars and it allows the bus to keep moving without the hassle of getting in and out of a traffic lane, which also makes it safer for individual cars. Dedicated lanes will improve reliability for 15 bus routes traveling through downtown. During the busiest times of day, more than 60 buses per hour travel on 15th and 17th streets. It is predicted that bus service will experience a 42 percent time savings on 15th Street during the evening peak commute time. That’s definitely not a drag!

Denver plans to add these special lanes to 17th Street by the end of the year. The lanes are designated bus-only from Court Place to Larimer Street; the other lanes allow for all vehicle traffic.

If you prefer to ride a bike or scooter, Denver is adding protected bike lanes so you can safely breeze down the street on the opposite side of the bus lanes on 15th.  All of these improvements by the City are intended to better organize the roadway so that people who walk, bike, take transit and drive have dedicated space to travel safely and more predictably. These changes fulfill Denver’s goals established through multiple planning efforts including the Comprehensive Plan 2040, Blueprint Denver, Denver Moves: Transit, Denver Moves: Downtown, as well as the Mayor’s Mobility Action Plan. RTD continues to collaborate with Denver to meet these goals that will likely provide more transit options and help everyone safely and efficiently get through the city.