“True” BRT Clogs Up the Roads

The strange notion that bus-rapid transit isn’t “true” bus-rapid unless it uses lanes dedicated only to buses has infected Denver. The city is now considering converting two lanes of Colfax, the most important (and most congested) east-west street in the region, into dedicated bus lanes.

This would make the remaining lanes even more congested, yet Denver’s Regional Transit District (RTD) simply does not have enough buses to fully utilize dedicated lanes. Despite this, the idea has gained the editorial endorsement of the Denver Post, which nonsensically claims that this would “fix” Colfax’s congestion problems.

Recall that Istanbul has a dedicated busway that supports more than 250 buses per hour. RTD has less than 1,200 buses in total, the vast majority of which never go on Colfax. It would never be able to run more than a small fraction of 250 buses per hour down Colfax, even if the demand existed, which it does not.

Ironically, Denver already has a successful example of bus-rapid transit that doesn’t use dedicated lanes: the Flatiron Flyer, which uses high-occupancy/toll lanes between Denver and Boulder. Despite not having dedicated lanes, it is faster than any of Denver’s rail transit lines.

The HOT lanes attract enough cars off of adjacent lanes to truly relieve congestion on U.S. 36, while the tolls insure that the buses never have to deal with congestion. That’s true bus-rapid transit. The idea that bus-rapid transit is only true BRT if it takes away lanes from others is truly stupid.


3 thoughts on ““True” BRT Clogs Up the Roads

  1. prk166

    buses would get priority at traffic signals to move through more quickly.

    How much more quickly, if at all? By operating in the center, they will have to stop those buses at the traffic lights for some period of time just to allow those left turns. Take them out of the center and the left turns can occur on a green; no need to stop either one.

  2. CapitalistRoader

    Changing Colfax to one car lane each way will just push more cars over to adjacent one-way 14th and 13th Avenues, which typically have rush hour backups seven or eight blocks long at major N/S intersections like York/Josephine and Colorado Blvd. Expect those backups to double in length if this idiocy goes through.

    Anyone east of downtown knows not to take the crime-ridden 15 and instead opt for the more sedate 10 or 20 or 6:

    Shooting reported on RTD bus; Aurora PD investigating
    KUSA 7:53 PM. MDT August 13, 2017

    AURORA – A man was shot on an RTD bus and rushed to the hospital in serious condition Sunday afternoon, police said.

    Aurora Police are investigating the shooting that happened just before 3 p.m. on E. Colfax Avenue and N. Sable Boulevard.

    No arrests have been made in the shooting at this time.

    Other passengers were on the bus at the time of the shooting, but RTD couldn’t confirm how many. A spokesperson did say the driver heard an argument and pulled over – that’s when the man was shot.
    Aurora police are not releasing any further information during their active investigation.

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