The 2014 Fort Collins Bicycle Master Plan (Bike Plan) envisions Fort Collins as a city where people of all ages and abilities have access to a comfortable, safe and connected network of low-stress bicycle facilities. The Bike Plan recommends implementation of a low-stress bicycle network by 2020 to achieve a 20 percent bicycle ridership goal and fewer bicycle-related crashes. This low-stress network leverages existing low-volume and low-speed streets where possible, while also recommending the implementation of protected bike lanes along higher volume or higher speed streets. The Bike Plan proposed initial implementation of protected bike lanes through a Pilot Program, allowing the city to develop best practices for the design, implementation, and maintenance of this new type of infrastructure in Fort Collins through a series of pilot projects. The Laurel Street Protected Bike Lane Pilot Project, implemented in 2015, was the first of several proposed protected bike lane pilot projects. City staff are currently in the planning stages for the next pilot project, which is scheduled for 2018 implementation.
A three-block protected bike lane project was installed in 2015 on Laurel Street between South Howes Street and Remington Street. The project featured parking protected bike lanes, protected bike lanes, shared lane markings, green paint denoting a merge zone, and a bike box.
The Laurel Street Pilot Project completed missing segments of the City's bicycle network, while addressing one of the City's highest bicycle crash locations (College Ave. and Laurel St.). Following installation, a year-long evaluation process was conducted to support the development of best practices for future protected bike lanes and to identify if design refinements are needed to improve the Laurel Street corridor.