Feb 252009
Authors: Ryan Sheine

Despite a mediocre turnout, students, residents and Fort Collins energy experts expressed hesitant optimism Wednesday of the route changes that Fort Collins’ local transportation service plans to implement March 9.

Transfort concluded its informative series, the third since mid-December, taking feedback from the public and explaining the new changes, which the city hopes will alleviate future transit problems.

“The intent is to provide better service,” said Kurt Ravenschlag, assistant general manager for Transfort.

“We want to provide better coverage to community, improve travel times and allow for better access to people’s destination.

Changes have been proposed to almost all the routes. Reasons for these changes vary, and include improving safety, reducing travel time and providing more efficient stops and changes in route times.

“These changes will improve safety, maintain destinations and better serve the students of CSU,” Ravenschlag said.

Student Government President Taylor Smoot agreed but wavered on some scheduling issues.

“These are necessary changes, but I don’t agree with the timing or the amount of frequency,” Smoot said.

Smoot also said he disagreed with the timing of the proposal, saying that “implementing these changes in the middle of the semester is bad timing.”

“Most students aren’t aware of these changes and may get confused with the sudden change,” he added. “We don’t want anyone to miss classes.”

One of the major alterations to the routes is the addition of Route 19, which travels from the CSU Transit Center south on Shields Street to Front Range Community College.

“Route 19 will better serve CSU, Front Range Community College and Rocky Mountain High School,” Ravenschlag said.

“And we will be able to provide 30-minute services during peak hours.”

The route will run every 30 minutes when Poudre School District is in session. However, the route offers no turns off of the major street besides its frequent stops, which Smoot said he finds to be a hole in the city’s plan.

“There is not good coverage on Shields from Prospect to Harmony besides route 19,” he said.

Another major change for the transit system is the extension of Route 6, which will provide more coverage west of campus in lieu of Route 4, which will be eliminated.

The circuit will travel north of campus to Mulberry Street, west to Taft Hill Road and south to Horsetooth Road.

The route will cover parts of Route 4, which encompasses the City Park area.

“Route 6 is being changed to give extended coverage along Taft Hill,” said Nicole Hahn, transit planner for Transfort.

“We are eliminating a lot of excess turns, which will save time and help ease bus transfers.”

Ravenschlag said the new route change “improves safety,” eliminating a turn along the circuit with no signal.

“Busses would have to wait eight minutes at a time before trying to shoot into traffic,” Ravenschlag said.

Other modifications include a direction change on Route 5; scheduling changes for Routes 7, 9 and 14; canceling the Edora Pool and Ice Center stop on Route 18; and making safety improvements to Route 15.

“We hope to improve safety by having buses turn onto Olive (street) instead of Magnolia (street),” Hahn said.

“This will take away an un-signaled turn where we have had accidents before.”

Routes 1, 2, 3, 11, 16 and Fox will not be changed. For specific route changes and information, visic http://fcgov.com/transfort.

Staff writer Ryan Sheine can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Suggested route modifications:

-Route 4 – Eliminated for failing to meet revenue standards

-Route 5 – Extended to include Super Wal-Mart

-Route 6 – Extended to include more stops

-Route 7 – Will run at 60-min frequency instead if 30-min due to limited riders

-Route 8 – Extended to better serve Atzlan Center

-Route 9 – Extended to align with Lincoln Junior High and Poudre High School

-Route 17 – Will include fewer stops due to limited boardings

-Route 18 – Will include fewer stops due to limited boardings

-Route 19 – Extended to work with CSU student schedules

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