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Master plans for a bike-friendly Fort Collins

Local renovations are on the way to smooth the ride for bike commuters.

The City of Fort Collins and Colorado State University have partnered to outline changes to infrastructure and policy to encourage bike travel and increase safety on the road, according to Aaron Fodge, project manager.

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Fodge said the updates will range from new bike trails on campus separating bikes from pedestrians, to crossing signals and secure locking stations.

“This is CSU’s first comprehensive look at bike infrastructure,” Fodge said. “We hope to increase bike use on campus, while decreasing accidents and congestion.”

CSU’s plan will add over 18,000 new bike parking spaces, including secure cage or box options and mechanical bike counters to monitor traffic flow, Fodge said. The first addition, a new bike cage on campus, should be installed by the end of summer break.

“Students will be able to rent a space for their bike for long-term storage, and access it with their student ID,” Fodge said. “We really want to make biking as convenient as possible.”

Fodge said he hoped the increased ridership will open up parking spaces for long-distance students and contribute to an overall healthier CSU campus.

“We even want to see commuter showers installed in some of the campus buildings,” Fodge said.

The Fort Collins master plan changes include protected bike lanes and bike-specific traffic signals, according to Bike Fort Collins Vice President Dot Dickerson.

Dickerson said a specialized traffic signal for bikes is planned on South Shields Street and West Elizabeth Street to protect both riders coming on to campus and commuters in their cars.

“The goal is a sense of safety for both riders and drivers,” Dickerson said.

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The funding for both plans is coming from two federal grants as part of the Transportations Alternatives Program, designed to increase mobility in cities, Fodge said. However, exact cost have not yet been determined.

Bike lovers like Rico Lighthouse, a mechanic at Recycled Cycles, are hopeful the changes will bring safer commutes for their fellow riders.

“I’d much rather see people in here looking for flat tire or maintenance repairs than after an accident,” Lighthouse said. “One accident is enough to put some people off biking forever, and that’s bad for business.”

Lighthouse said he would also like to see an increase in bike safety education.

“If riders and drivers knew how to interact safely at stop signs and intersections, that would really help too,” Lighthouse said. “I want to see riders alive and healthy.”

Full proposals of the Fort Collins bicycle master plan can be found on the City of Fort Collins website. CSU plans can be found here.

Collegian Reporter Rachel Musselmann can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @rmusselmann.  

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