Fort Collins community discuss Sunday bus service, road construction

Haley Candelario

The Fort Collins City Council listened to community members opinions on Sunday bus service and discussed eminent domain issues for the Prospect and College intersection Tuesday evening.

Sunday Bus Service

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Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell allowed citizens who wished to discuss budget issues for the 2017-2018 fiscal year speak first during the citizen participation portion of the meeting. Many citizens thanked the council for considering Sunday bus transportation and encouraged council members to support it.

Around 10-15 citizens at the meeting wore yellow cards reading “Sunday Service Now” on the front of their shirts. Citizens that advocated for Sunday bus transportation discussed how it improved their personal lives or improved the lives of those around them.

Maggie Wesley, the Advocacy Specialist for the ARC of Larimer County, talked about how Sunday bus service is important to her and to individuals she works with who live with developmental disabilities.

“(Sunday service) is important because, (for) those with disabilities in particular, transportation is essential for both access to employment and access to the community all seven days of the week,” Wesley said. “Without it, employment opportunities can be lost, opportunities to participate in the community can be lost, and access to important services and supports for those who individuals can be lost without the opportunity to be able to get there.”

Lynn Thompson, a member of the Fort Collins Homeless Coalition, also encouraged council members to support the plan for Sunday bus service and support funding for it.

“It’s important for people to get around, it’s important for employment opportunities, it’s important for personal safety,” Thompson said. “We talk about people who get stranded in their homes on Sundays (and) people who don’t get stranded in their homes on Sundays.”

Community member Deborah James also spoke about how Sunday bus transportation is helpful to members of the Fort Collins community.

“It would be so nice for people on Sunday to go to church, go visit their family, go help someone in need,” James said.

Road Construction at Prospect and College Intersection

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City council members discussed the plan for construction at the intersection of Prospect and College.

Mayor Troxell allowed citizens to speak about the plans regarding the second discussion about construction at the intersection.

Community member Kevin Harper encouraged council members to reconsider the third option for construction because of his concerns about safety and congestion in the area. Harper discussed a study conducted by the University of Maryland which found that more accidents occurred on more congested roads.

“The study did find that increased congestion on freeways, as opposed to arterials, did increase the accident rate,” Harper said. “But freeways are very different from arterials, and we should not be designing Prospect as a freeway. If we are truly designing for safety, you should reconsider option three.”

A community member said eminent domain would only be used if good faith negotiations fail and encouraged the council to reconsider the option because it would undo the good faith negotiations.

Council member Gino Campana responded to the community member that the ordinance would not affect good faith negotiations if eminent domain was supported.

“If (one of the options) fails, then you use eminent domain,” Campana said. “You still have to use good faith and negotiating throughout the entire time and pay fair market value for that property.”

Council member Ray Martinez remained supportive of the first option, whereas Council member Ross Cunniff remained supportive of the third option.

“I agree with (Gino) that option 1 and option 2 have concerns with trying to fit that many lanes in that size of a can,” Cunniff said. “That’s one of the reasons I preferred option 3. It prefigures the problem and gets a large amount of the congestion relief, though not all of it.”

Collegian reporter Haley Candelario can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @H_Candelario98.