Summer is coming to a close and hopefully that means that several road construction projects will be finished up soon. I’ve checked in on three projects to see where they’re at and what’s left to be done. Here’s a brief update:
Laurel and Remington
Laurel and Remington are two separate projects, but they join up at a brand new roundabout where the streets cross. So I’m addressing these streets together. If you want to know what these two projects entail, I’d encourage you to look back at previous posts on the Laurel reconfiguration and the Remington Greenway.
The good news is that Laurel is entirely done and Remington will be mostly done in time for Open Streets this Sunday. (I believe that artwork, landscaping, and perhaps a few other finishing touches will still need to be completed.)
The first thing you might notice when you check out the changes on Laurel is that the protected bike lane on the north side of the street has been flipped over to the south side of the street. This makes a lot more sense than the original plan because you already have sharrows on the first block of W. Laurel as you cross College, so this just keeps the sharrows in sequence. (Meaning that instead of getting stuck with one block of sharrows in each direction, you end up with two blocks headed west and none headed east.)
As you head east on Laurel after College, you end up on a rather nice protected lane that’s separated from traffic by a row of parked vehicles. It seems to be working very well. The cars were all parked very neatly. (No one was against a bollard or even over a line, so it seems to be working well from a motorist point of view.) As you reach Remington, you either go right to get onto the side path, or, as the fellow above did, you turn slightly to the left to merge with motor traffic and then enter the roundabout. (This is the only possible problem spot that I could see, and the traffic might be light enough that it’s not an issue.)
I watched three cyclists approach the roundabout and every single one chose to ride through it rather than to take the side path around it. There also seemed to be a tendency to stay to the right within the roundabout, which could pose a problem.
When you enter a roundabout, always take the lane!
Taking the lane (riding in the center of the traffic lane) keeps motorists from turning into you when they attempt to leave the roundabout. If you hug the right side, then a car may begin to pass you on the left, then turn right into you as they attempt to exit the roundabout.
A really wonderful change along Remington is this double buffered lane. On the right there’s protection from opening car doors and on the left there’s protection from passing traffic. Woot! This should make biking along Remington feel quite comfortable.
Timberline and Horsetooth
There have been quite a few changes made to the intersection of Horsetooth and Timberline, all of which should help both motor and pedal traffic pass through much more smoothly. And pedestrians have been given some added amenities as well.
In my opinion, the most important thing that has been done is that the right hand turn lanes have all been lengthened, giving motorists more time to get right. This means that if there’s a cyclist in their way, they won’t feel compelled to crowd them because they’ll have space to wait, and then get right. And because the motorists turning right only have to stop for peds, there shouldn’t be a long line backed up at a light that might make cycling between the stopped right turn lane of traffic and the stopped through street traffic uncomfortable. (In other words, cyclists headed straight shouldn’t get stuck with long lines of cars on either side of them, which can make some folks feel mighty uncomfortable.)
You’ll also note there have been added “pork chops” for pedestrians. This is a little pork chop shaped island where peds can wait for the light to change before crossing. The main advantage here is that it gets pedestrians safely part way out into the street before the light changes, giving them a shorter distance to cross once they have a walk sign.
On the northeast corner of the intersection, from the corner all the way past Fort Collins High School, is a super wide multi-use trail, which this cyclist preferred to use. (There’s also a bike lane on Timberline for those that would prefer that to a multi-use trail.) The trail is a particularly nice amenity so close to a high school where some cyclists might feel more comfortable on the multi-use trail.
I also found it interesting that this red car waited for the cyclist to pass, then pulled up to, but not over, the red pedestrian walkway. From this vantage point they were still able to see oncoming traffic very clearly, and then were able to turn right on red without having to block ped traffic just to see if the way was clear. This seems to be very smart design, giving the motorists clear view of oncoming bikes, pedestrians, and motor traffic without blocking anyone’s way, and still allowing the motorist to turn right on red.
I mentioned the long right turn lanes already, but in addition to the right hand turn lanes approaching the intersection, there was also a lengthened right hand turn lane at the McDonald’s. (At least, it appears to have been lengthened.) This will keep motorists out of the way of other motorists as they turn in to grab a bite to eat and it gives those turning motorists a long window in which to make their lane change without crowding passing cyclists.
N. Shields and W. Vine
I just posted an update recently about this intersection, but there have been some significant improvements since then, so I’m including those here. (If you want to get an overview of all that’s being done here, check out this old post – North Shields Improvements and a New Roundabout.)
N. Shields is finally being paved. That is HUGE news. This road has been shut down since November of last year and residents have had to detour either through N. College (which is under construction) or Taft Hill Road (which had been intermittently under construction). It’s been a royal pain in the saddle, to be quite honest. So to see asphalt getting rolled out along this stretch is a big deal indeed.
It’s hard to see what’s going on in this pic, but the upshot is that the area around the apartments on the southeast corner of the Vine/Shields intersection is finally getting worked on. There’s going to be a large bulbout here that should help to keep kids safe as they cross to get to Putnam school. Children using this intersection has been my biggest concern, so I’m eager to see how this works for the young kids that walk through here on their own in the mornings.
The pedestrian island on the north end has been poured and is just awaiting landscaping or some interior cement work. These look like substantial islands that should help to keep pedestrians safe as they cross. Again, there are so many little kids in this area that I think defensive architecture is especially important in this project. I’m glad to see islands that are more substantial here than what was put in over on Remington.
So with that, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to Larimer County and the City of Fort Collins for all the work that’s being done to improve bicycle and pedestrian transportation in these areas. Thanks for all you’re doing to improve safety for our active travelers.