Bicycle Ambassador Program
By BAP Admin
The 2014 Bicycle Master Plan envisions a low-stress network of bicycle routes suitable for families, youth, commuters and recreational cyclists alike. While much of this low-stress network exists today, certain sections of the network remain high-stress and uninviting for people wanting to travel by bike.
Laurel Street, between Howes and Remington streets, is a good example of a deficient connection along the future low-stress bicycle network. Despite the high volumes of people who bicycle along Laurel today, and its connectivity to the MAX, Mason Trail, Colorado State University, future Remington Greenway and key destinations, this section lacks dedicated bicycle lanes and experiences a relatively high number of bicycle crashes and other safety challenges. As a reflection of the lack of dedicated bicycle lanes, people frequently bicycle along the sidewalk and use the crosswalks to navigate the intersections, contributing to conflicts with motor vehicles as well as pedestrians.
The 2014 Bicycle Master Plan proposes a pilot program to implement new types of bicycle facilities in Fort Collins, such as protected bike lanes, which are proving successful in other communities around the country. With funding in place from Kaiser Permanente, the City now has the opportunity to pilot its first protected bike lane project. For reasons identified above, Laurel Street was selected as the ideal location to implement this pilot project, with the goal of increasing safety for all corridor users while increasing the number of people who choose to bicycle in the area.
The Laurel Street Pilot Project will feature innovative bicycle facilities, including protected bike lanes – which provide physical separation between the travel lane and bicycle lane – enhanced shared-lane markings, innovative intersection treatments such as green paint and bike boxes (like the one at Shields and Plum), and other treatments to improve predictability, safety and comfort for all. Additional bicycle parking will be provided in the area to support an anticipated increase in demand for people traveling by bike to area businesses.
The Laurel Street Pilot Project is planned for implementation in June 2015 and will be extensively evaluated over the course of one year. Similar projects in other cities have demonstrated safety, ridership and economic benefits. The Laurel Street Pilot Project will allow the City to collect meaningful local data from businesses and corridor users to determine the impact of this new bicycle infrastructure here in Fort Collins. At the end of the one-year evaluation period, the City may elect to retain or refine the changes based on the result of the evaluation.
The Laurel Street Pilot Project will tie directly into the upcoming Remington Greenway, with construction beginning in May. Together, these projects will demonstrate cutting-edge bicycle infrastructure for future implementation in other parts of the city, while providing options for people to travel along comfortable, low-stress routes between the Spring Creek Trail, downtown, Colorado State University, MAX and other community destinations.
For more information about the Laurel Street Pilot Project, visit fcgov.com/laurel.
Tessa Greegor is the FC Bikes Program Manager, a Bicycle Ambassador (www.bicycleambassadorprogram.org) and a League Cycling instructor.