A new multi-use trail will be constructed in 2023 on the west side of Centre Avenue between the Gardens on Spring Creek and the underpass at Prospect Road.
The new trail will improve access and safety along a corridor that is tricky to navigate, especially for cyclists heading toward CSU’s main campus.
Alternative Transportation Manager Aaron Fodge pointed out that a cyclist headed north on Centre Avenue from the South Campus or the Yugo Fort Collins Grove apartments currently uses a bike lane along the street, and then has to cross to the west side of Centre to go through the underpass at the southwest corner of the Centre and Prospect intersection. To avoid dealing with crossing that traffic, some riders have just been using the sidewalk or riding the wrong way on the west side of Centre, which isn’t ideal either.
“We don’t want people to have to cross Centre,” Fodge said. “You have to be a pretty confident cyclist to cross those multiple lanes of traffic. With this new trail, they’ll never have to use Centre Avenue to access Spring Creek Trail and housing options south of campus.”
Alternate route during flood season
He added that Spring Creek sees seasonal flooding in the bike/pedestrian tunnel under Centre, but a new bridge will be constructed over the creek as part of the project, giving people an outlet for a detour north if the tunnel is blocked by high water.
The trail will start near the Gardens on Spring Creek amphitheatre and will run north through Lilac Park, then along the east side of the CSU Horticulture Center before reaching the underpass at Prospect.
Initial plans for the trail were created in 2017 as part of a senior engineering design project in which University Landscape Architect David Hansen served as adviser. Fodge said planners have been pursuing grants to fund it ever since.
A combination of funding sources made the trail a reality earlier this year. CSU’s Alternative Transportation Fee Advisory Board is providing more than $200,000, and Bob and Ann Phemister made a substantial gift over a 10-year period. Bob is a former dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and former interim CSU president. The new path will be called the “Phemister Trail.”
‘Places for reflection, inspiration and nurture’
The Phemisters said they were looking for a way to add an attractive passage for people moving between the Main and South campuses.
“It is often the special outdoor spaces around buildings and attractive walkways that define a campus, providing places for reflection, inspiration and nurture,” Bob Phemister said.
The remaining funding for the $900,000 project came through a grant from the state’s Multimodal Transportation and Mitigation Options Fund, in an application process administered by the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization. Fodge said the importance of the project was underscored by the fact that those funds are typically awarded to municipalities, but Larimer County helped sponsor the application and secure the grant.
Planners are hoping that the Phemister Trail will be completed by fall 2023, pending favorable weather during the construction season.