Jan 272010
Authors: Matt Miller

Senior apparel merchandising major Allie Ermel has witnessed many potentially fatal driving errors just from looking out her front door. 

“I’ve almost gotten into so many car accidents because people go the wrong way,” said Ermel, who lives on Mason Street and has seen firsthand the dangers of the one-way to two-way switch at Mason and Myrtle streets.

To fix this confusing intersection, the City of Fort Collins has embarked on a project to make Mason a two-way street. This change is just one of the few improvements that will be made during what is called the Mason Corridor project.

This $82 million project includes changing Howes Street into a two-way street and building Fort Collins’ first ever rapid transit system connecting the transit center to a new center to be built south of Harmony.

“I think it’s going to be quite a big benefit for CSU and the community,” said Steve McQuilkin, project manager of the Mason Corridor project.

The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) will have three stops for CSU at Prospect Road, University Avenue and Laurel Street. CSU students will be given free passes on this new transit system.

It is projected that at least half of the riders on the BRT will be CSU students, McQuilken said. He added that the University of Oregon, which has had success with their BRT, inspired the city.

According to the Fort Collins city Web site, the BRT will run faster than normal bus travel and operate in an environmentally friendly manner with rubber tires.
“It’s not your average bus,” McQuilkin said. “It’s designed for speed and comfort.”

The Mason Corridor project, which has been discussed since 2000, began in 2009 with the conversion of Howes into a two-lane road. The project will continue in the fall of 2010 when the city is given permission from the railway to convert Mason.

Project organizers hope that this project, which was funded by a federal transit grant, will help stimulate redevelopment and economic growth.

“Fort Collins transportation isn’t that good,” Ermel said. “With everyone trying to carpool and be environmentally conscious I think it will work.”
Staff writer Matt Miller can be reached at news@collegian.com._

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