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Transit Lane On 17th Street Could Cause Problems For Downtown Denver Businesses

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Public Works is adding another 24-hour transit lane Downtown. In October, a traffic lane on ‪15th Street became exclusively for buses. Now, crews are adding the same "bus only" markings along ‪17th Street from Broadway to Market.

The city says the purpose of these new transit lanes is to move more people, more efficiently. According the DPW, ‪17th Street sees more than 650 buses each weekday.

Thousands of commuters, like Levy Lee, rely on public transit to get Downtown every day.

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"I don't park down here because it's so rough! Parking is so expensive. I had to take RTD down," said Lee, the manager at ‪Tea Cloud and Poke.

While Lee appreciates the city's effort to improve the efficiency of buses, he says it could come with some inconveniences, for businesses and customers.

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The city removed metered parking spots on the right side of 17th to make room for the new transit lane. Meters on the left side will stay.

‪Tea Cloud and Poke, located at 17th and Champa, no longer has metered parking spots out front.

"We actually get a lot of people who call to ask if we have parking here. It's rough for businesses down here because there's almost no parking at all," said Lee.

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The addition of the 24-hour transit lane also means one fewer lane for cars.

"It's definitely a good way for buses to not get into accidents, but it could cause traffic out here. On 15th, cars are driving in the bus lane because there's so much traffic," said Lee.

The city says it's too soon to produce data on the impact of the new ‪15th Street transit lane, but bus riders have said its made getting to their destination faster.

Transit only lanes are also planned for 18th and 19th Streets downtown. Installation is expected to begin in the 2020-2021 time frame. These streets will also be getting protected bike lanes.

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