Transportation and parking. These are two of the major themes I hear from my interactions with Colorado State University students. We need to provide more and better alternatives to driving cars. And if we do, we can help mitigate parking issues on campus and downtown.
As part of our long-term plan to address these challenges, weâ€™re moving forward with the implementation of the Mason Corridor. In a little more than two years, you will have a new transportation option with the addition of MAX, the Mason Express. MAX is a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system â€” the first of its kind in Colorado. Think of it like a light rail, except with buses.
With MAX, youâ€™ll be able to travel from the south side of Fort Collins to Mason Street, with two convenient stops near campus, plus a stop at the Veterinarian school. MAX parallels the railroad tracks and will travel on an exclusive bus-only roadway for the majority of the corridor. MAX will operate nearly twice as fast as auto travel along College Avenue and will provide high-frequency service every 10 minutes.
While our parking challenges on campus or Downtown wonâ€™t be eliminated, they will be reduced as more and more people choose to leave their cars at home and take MAX instead.
Construction is already underway, and I want you to know about a few specific events taking place in the near future.
Coming soon to the CSU Transit Center will be a display of the proposed art for the 12 MAX stations. We want to hear what you think! Weâ€™ll be collecting feedback and comments Monday, March 19, to Thursday, March 22. You can also rate the art online at www.fcgov.com/MAXart during the month of March.
For those of you who jog or bike on the Mason Trail behind Whole Foods, youâ€™ll soon notice construction beginning on an overpass over the railroad, connecting the Mason Trail with the future MAX station behind Whole Foods. The overpass will get you and your bike safely across the train tracks and guideway. This overpass is key to assuring pedestrian access to the MAX station, and it is an essential element of the Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railroad safety requirements.
This summer weâ€™ll convert Mason Street to two-way operation in Downtown. Conversion will take place over several phases during the next nine months, and come August 2012 weâ€™ll all be driving north and south on Mason.
The MAX BRT is part of a larger economic initiative known as the Mason Corridor. The Mason Corridor is ripe for revitalization and will be a catalyst for future commercial, residential and employment development for years to come. Some projects are already taking advantage of this key location along the spine of Fort Collins: Commons student housing south of Prospect, Full-Cycle Bicycle Shop by Whole Foods, Jo-Annâ€™s Fabrics and the Midtown Arts Center, to name a few.
Construction crews will be out in force over the next two years building the MAX guideway, stations, and a new South Transit Center south of Harmony. I encourage you to follow progress of MAX and the whole Mason Corridor at www.fcgov.com/mason.
Darin Atteberry is the city manager of Fort Collins.