City Council discusses Fort Collins’ construction and enhancing biking community

Mayor Karen WeitKunat talks city budget and construction with members of the Fort Collins City Council on Tuesday night. (Photo credit: Cisco Mora)
Mayor Karen Weitkunat talks city budget and construction with members of the Fort Collins City Council on Tuesday night. (Photo credit: Cisco Mora)

Fort Collins City Council focused on construction projects, road improvements enhancing the biking community and outlining the 2015/2016 budget at their meeting Tuesday.

Skyview South General Improvement District

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In 2010, Skyview South was added to city limits. The homeowners have been covering costs to maintain roads in the area but now the City will take over the re-pavement of Galaxy Court and Galaxy Way. The project will cost approximately $100,109.

Midtown in Motion: College Avenue

College Avenue is under constant development due to the high traffic and necessity for travel. The city proposed to split College Avenue into five sections and develop them over the next 20 years, adding in multi-use paths, better intersections and one-way frontage roads. The goal is to make College Avenue more accessible and safer for bikers and pedestrians.

Since College Avenue has not been paved for 18 years, the first steps of the renovation will be re-pavement, beginning next summer.

Midtown in Motion will also help Fort Collins lead in city bicycle transportation, according to Mark Jackson, the planning, development and transportation deputy director.

Bicycle Master Program 

The Bicycle Master Program focuses on finding better, more connective routes for bikers as well as enhancing bike safety programs.

The program will enable bikers to ride in low-stress zones and make high-traffic zones more accessible and bike friendly.

“We want to create a world-class city for cycling with a low stress design,” said Tessa Greegor, Fort Collins bikes program manager.

According to Greegor, the program is working closely with Colorado State University.  Eventually, they want to create safer bike lanes on Shields Street and possibly tunnels toward Elizabeth Street.

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“Safe routes to school need to be priority,” said Mayor Karen Weitkunat.

West Central Area Plan: Prospect Corridor

City council is considering building additional student housing on Prospect Corridor, as well as beautifying neighborhoods and advancing safety measures.

“This is an exciting project in terms of public outreach … a lot of engagement with these neighborhoods including student housing,” said Karen Cumbo, planning, development and transportation director.

Council hopes to create a street parallel to Prospect Corridor as a safer option for bikers.

City budget 

Fort Collins’ budget is based on revenue derived from taxes, grants and other governmental money. Fort Collins has a total tax of  7.35 percent, which is in the bottom third of other Colorado towns. According to Mike Beckstead, chief financial officer, the city tax is nearly half of the total tax, and the rest is from the county and the state.

The 2014 budget, including utilities, was originally estimated to be $401 million, but ended up at $433 million. The extra funds went to projects such as the Max Bus Rapid Transit.

This year the budget will be split into three categories: Environmental and Poudre Restoration, Transit and Mobility and Neighborhood and Community.  Primary concerns for 2015 are reducing the amount of injuries in the community, enhancing the Mulberry Bridge and creating more plaza areas for pedestrians in the evenings.

CSU will be contributing to the budget by donating $700,000 to the city to provide additional transit opportunities, especially west of campus.

Collegian City Beat Reporter Josephine Bush can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @JoBush620.