CDOT, State of Colorado fund bikeway improvements at CSU

Center Avenue Trail map
Center Avenue Trail, seen here as going through campus. Photo by Colorado State University.

Colorado State University’s pedestrian and bicycle traffic patterns are getting an upgrade thanks in part to the Colorado Department of Transportation and the State of Colorado.

In a construction project spanning across campus, the Center Avenue Bikeway — also known as the Mountain Loop — is being reorganized into separate bicycle and pedestrian walkways to avoid congestion and to improve traffic safety and predictability in two heavily congested intersections. The project also includes a roundabout at the junction of the Pitkin and Mountain Loop.

The upgrades will be made possible thanks to a grant of more than $580,000 through Revitalizing Main Streets, a CDOT initiative designed to help communities across the state implement transportation-related projects that improve safety and yield long-term benefits to community main streets.

The President’s Vision Zero Task Force played a key role in the grant application process. The task force is charged with the examination of all mobility and safety related to pedestrians, personal vehicles, University and contractor work vehicles, bicyclists, skateboarders, e-scooter riders, buses and trains on and near the main CSU campus. The ultimate goal is to eliminate serious injuries and deaths related to traffic and mobility at CSU.

Revitalizing Main Streets

The Colorado Department of Transportation allowed the University to submit the Larger Safety Infrastructure grant application directly to them instead of requiring a sponsor like the city of Fort Collins or Larimer County.

“They see our campus as a small city,” said Aaron Fodge, the Alternative Transportation Manager in CSU’s Parking and Transportation Services. “They graciously allowed us to show our transportation data and use it to improve safety on campus.”

The complete redesign of the Mountain Loop area is covered by the grant, which totals approximately $581,735. It includes a complete landscape redesign by CSU Facilities Management, site preparation, irrigation relocation, concrete and reposting of signage and striping for directional purposes.

In a series of seven meetings during the summer of 2020, CSU met with several stakeholders across campus to aid in the redesign of the trail and roundabout in this congested areas.

Blueprint of the Mountain Loop redesign. Photo by Ditesco Engineering.

These neighboring colleges and departments included the Visual Arts Department, the Gifford Building, Central Receiving, Chemistry, Microbiology, Poudre Fire Authority and the CSU Police Department. These meetings also included Fred Haberecht of Facilities Management and David Hansen, CSU’s Landscape architect for help in the redesign.

A Platinum Bicycle Friendly University

Rams Moving Safely Pedestrian and Bicycle Roundabout board. Photo by Alexandra MacDonald.

These upgrades build upon CSU’s reputation as a bicycle-friendly campus. The University maintains its recognition as a Platinum Bicycle Friendly University, awarded by the League of American Bicyclists. First receiving the award in 2011, CSU has held the spot as the largest Platinum university so far for two full cycles of the award process, in which the LAB convenes to vote every four years.

“We have over 18,000 bike spaces for students, staff and faculty to use on campus,” Fodge said. “We actively invest in active transportation and our designation reflects that investment.”

The Alternative Transportation Fee Advisory Board, a student-run organization that seeks to provide guidance and advice concerning the University Transfort Contract and transportation needs to ASCSU, supports the project. ATFAB dedicated a student fee award for the Revitalizing Main Streets opportunity as a required grant match.

“Initially, the project came out of the Vision Zero Task Force. ATFAB matched the application with their award for the bike roundabout,” Fodge said. “We want to express our appreciation to the state for allowing us to apply and awarding us.”