The first Ride-Around-Town (RAT) Ride of the year took place this month. RAT rides are open to the public and their purpose is to explore and discuss the strengths and weaknesses in bicycle infrastructure and connectivity in Fort Collins, as well as celebrate improvements as they are completed.
- Date: May 11, 2022
- Time: 5:30 p.m.
- BFC Ride Leaders: Bruce Henderson, Dave Dixon, Tim Wooten
- # Attendees: 7
- North on Lemay from Rally King to Pitkin
- East (right) on Pitkin to Welch
- South (right) on Welch to Stuart
- West (right) on Stuart to Remington
- South (left) on Remington to Dartmouth Trail
- North (left) on Stover to Pitkin
- East (right) on Pitkin to Lory
- NE (left) on Lory to Lemay (Lory becomes Pitkin east of Lemay)
- East (straight) on Pitkin to Welch
- South (right) on Welch back to Rally King (via Spring Creek Trail)
Notes & Observations
The bullets below summarize observations that took place along the ride and/or after the ride during a post ride discussion:
- The bicycle facility on Lemay is quite narrow. Have the bike lane is represented by the gutter pan.
- When traveling southbound, approaching Prospect, there is no signage to alert motorists that cyclists may be crossing Welch or riding against the flow of traffic in order to get to the Hawk signal.
- Once across Prospect using the signalized crosswalk, there is nothing directing the cyclist back to a safe riding location (in the bike lane) with the traffic on Welch. Riders are left on the sidewalk to figure things out for themselves.
- At the Stuart and Lemay intersection, bike lane disappears and bicyclists must share the vehichle lanes. Could a Bike Box here improve safety? However, a Bike Box does require a separated bike lane leading into it.
- At the Stuart and Stover intersection there are only signs alerting motorists on Stuart that people may be crossing the street. There are no traffic control devices. Students traveling north on Stover to Lesher have noticed numerous drivers speeding on Stuart and unaware of people using the crosswalk. Two seventh grade Lesher students have started a petition to install a stop sign at this intersection. Discussion took place about adding stop signs to Stuart, or an RRFB in both directions.
- There is a stop sign on Dartmouth at the intersection with Stover. The visibility turning from Dartmouth on to Stover is limited. Signage needed?
- There are stop signs on both north and south bound Stover, nothing on Stuart. Crossing Stuart on Stover, Stover is offset. There are signs on Stover informing road users of the offset connection across Stuart.
- Additional dialogue took place about speed limit enforcement on Stuart, or other traffic calming measures to slow down traffic.
- Traveling north on Stover passes the Global Academy on the east side of the road. There is a parking lot just east of the sidewalk. Paint and signs cautioning motorists to watch for pedestrians and cyclists on Stover would improve the safety of that area.
- Crossing Prospect on Stover requires using the sidewalk to activate a Hawk signal. Stover is also offset at this intersection. This crossing is designed for pedestrians, not bicyclists. Some discussion took place with ideas on how to make the crossing more bike friendly: some type of grade separated crossing extending from the bike lane from Stover to the actual crossing, a bike queue area on Stover, a corner island separating the bikes and motor vehicles, an additonal Hawk signal for southbound bike/ped traffic, and/or real intersection markings with green bike lanes and symbols. Potentially could also use the Toucan crossing setup from Pitkin and Lemay as a sample for this intersection.
- Pitkin east to Lory/Pitkin crossing of Lemay. This intersection utilizes a Toucan crossing which was cited by the Lesher staff as a preferred controlled intersection for students crossing busy streets.
- After our first crossing of Prospect on Welch all the riders stayed in the right hand bike lane on Welch while Dave crossed Welch in the crosswalk to trigger the walk signal. This way all the other riders could remain in the Welch bike lane, with the flow of traffic, until the light changed. Awkward crossings of Welch against the flow of traffic were avoided. This technique worked great for a larger adult group but not for single riders and probably not for younger students
- As we were waiting on the west shoulder to cross Prospect, the traffic light on Prospect was NOT visible to any riders. If Dave had not been positioned at the crosswalk there would be no way to know when the light changed. This creates a very dangerous situation.
- We primarily considered the impact of challenging and unsafe intersections during this ride. One topic we did not specifically address was how these intersections impacted potential compliance with the new Colorado Safety Stop law. For example: Is it safe to use the Safety Stop technique for crossing Prospect with its narrow lanes, high traffic speeds, and limited intersection visibility? Or how about crossing Stuart on Stover
While this ride summary focuses on how conditions and rider safety could be improved, we also need to remember current conditions in Fort Collins are far better than those in most communities. Improvements suggested here are opportunities to increase our overall bicycling infrastructure.
We are grateful to everyone who participated this RAT Ride and will submit a formal report with the above notes to City of Fort Collins. Mark your calendars and plan to join us for our next RAT Ride, currently scheduled for July 17th. Watch our social channels and e-Newsletter for registration details and/or any information in the event of a reschedule. Your voice matters!