Earlier this month, we were excited to bring back the first Ride-Around-Town (R.A.T.) Ride since 2019. On May 6th we hosted 14 riders/community members as we casually pedaled a 5+ mile, no-drop route through Capital Hill, City Park and University North neighborhoods, stopping on four separate occasions to discuss improvement opportunities, as well as celebrate improvements that have been made.
Leaving from Beaver’s Market (at Shields and Mountain Ave.), again, we followed a 5+ mile route heading west on Mountain Ave and took a left on Jackson Ave. Following the sharrows along Jackson, we made a right turn onto Mulberry St followed by a left onto Crestmoore Pl. From here we snaked our way through the Moore neighborhood before taking a left onto W. Elizabeth St. Heading east on W. Elizabeth St. gave us an opportunity to experience the Campus West area as well as the relatively new bike/ped tunnel under Shields St. Riding through campus we eventually met up with Loomis Ave and the streets of Old Town West. We then rode westward on Laporte Ave and concluded the ride at Stodgy Brewing, where several stayed to enjoy a libation together.
The route highlighted a number of strengths and weaknesses in bicycle infrastructure for Fort Collins. The addition of buffered bike lanes on Mulberry St., the bicycle pedestrian bridge under Shields St. and the new crossing at the intersection of Loomis & LaPorte have been major improvement in the last few years, while Laporte Ave overall is still in great need of attention. Some key observations to come from thee group on May’s RAT Ride are as follows:
- The designated bike route on Jackson Ave turning right onto Mulberry St puts cyclists and pedestrian in direct conflict with on another as the bike route crosses over the sidewalk.
- Following the bike lane eastbound on Mulberry St. better striping could improve safety and visibility for cyclists turning left onto Jackson Ave.
- The Mulberry St. bike lane directs cyclists in front of nose-in, diagonal parking on Mulberry. This route creates conflict between cyclists and pedestrians sharing the same sidewalk. The bike lane/sidewalk is not maintained and debris tends to collect in large quantities. A popular fishing spot, cars tend to back up to the lake and create an obstruction for cyclists and pedestrians alike.
- Cyclists turning left onto Crestmore Pl. from Mulberry St. must contend with fast moving traffic. Better striping would be helpful in allerting vehicles to this bike route.
- The crossing light at the corner of Elizabeth St. and Skyline Dr. is positioned to cater to pedestrians but not cyclists creating difficult conditions for cyclists turning left on Elizabeth St. or continuing straight across.
- Bike lane transition from Elizabeth St. into the bike/pedestrian bridge is confusing and creates conflict among bicycles, pedestrians and motorists.
- The intersection of Washington and Oak is a major route for children walking and biking to Dunn Elementary. Angled streets create dangerous blindspots and low visibility for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists alike.
- Garbage cans left in bike lanes on Loomis Ave. and Laporte Ave. are a common hazard to cyclists.
- Narrow sections of Laporte Ave. without bike lane or sharrow striping leave little space for cyclists to navigate this popular east/west connector safely
We are grateful to everyone who participated in our first RAT Ride of 2021 and will submit a formal report with the above notes to City of Fort Collins, Active Modes Manager, Courtney Geary. Please stay tuned for more information on our next RAT Ride slated to take place in mid-July. Your voice matters!