West Elizabeth Bus Rapid Transit Design Project (2023)#
West Elizabeth Street is a major east-west arterial in Fort Collins that connects Colorado State University’s Main and Foothills campuses along with a dense corridor of housing, restaurants, and retail.
Connecting those areas safely and efficiently has resulted in the proposed addition of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along the corridor.
This page focuses on proposed BRT service, and information about past improvements on West Elizabeth can be found near the bottom of the page.
About West Elizabeth BRT#
The West Elizabeth Corridor was chosen as a future BRT route due to its function as an important, three-mile transportation corridor which serves as a critical link for students accessing the Colorado State University Main and Foothills campuses, and for a growing business district and multi-family housing. This year’s design work will build onto the West Elizabeth Enhanced Travel Corridor Plan, which was adopted with extensive community engagement in 2016. The 30% design process was completed in 2022.
More than 24,000 residents and 20,000 jobs are along the West Elizabeth corridor, and the design will incorporate infrastructure supporting all modes including transit, bicycling, walking, and driving.
What’s Happening Now?#
In Summer 2023, the City of Fort Collins, Transfort, and Colorado State University are kicking off the final design project for BRT service along the West Elizabeth Street corridor.
The project area goes from Mason Street and the CSU campus to Overland Drive via West Plum Street and West Elizabeth Street. BRT is a bus transit mode that combines many features of rail transit with the flexibility of buses. BRT systems typically offer frequent trips on a fixed route. MAX service along the Mason Corridor in Fort Collins, which opened in 2014, is an example of BRT service. The BRT along West Elizabeth will share a lane with traffic.
The West Elizabeth design project will result in 100% design plans in the Fall of 2024. Work will include development of a project management plan, environmental clearances and mitigation, public outreach, vehicle procurement, construction bid documents and construction plans. The construction plans will include multi-modal roadway design, structural, drainage and water quality, erosion control, floodplain analysis, utilities, lighting/power, traffic impact study, landscaping, environmental mitigation, transit stops and communications systems. This effort is a necessary step to advance the West Elizabeth project forward for possible Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding and future implementation.
BRT was chosen as an ideal transit option for this corridor due to the high transit ridership and density along the corridor.
As the first operator of BRT in the state of Colorado, the City seeks to build on the success of the MAX and the extensive experience gained through all phases of that project. In addition to the West Elizabeth BRT, the City is also beginning early work on plans for an extension of existing MAX service along North College Avenue.
Currently, the total project cost is estimated at $99 million. This amount includes transit, intersection, roadway, pedestrian, and bicycling infrastructure, as well as a roundabout, transit center, and 6 electric buses.
How can I be involved?#
As part of the design process, the City and its partners will be conducting outreach efforts. Stay tuned for information related to public involvement.
West Elizabeth 30% Design (2022)#
The project included preliminary engineering along the 3-mile corridor and support for Transfort to enter into, and through, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Small Starts program. Corridor design focused on the integration and connectivity of transit, cycling, and walking to improve mobility and safety. This process was completed in 2022. For a preview of the 30% design, click here.
West Elizabeth Improvements (2020)#
Improving West Elizabeth Street between Taft Hill and City Park#
Beginning approximately early June, The City of Fort Collins through the Streets Maintenance Program (SMP) will be implementing improvements along West Elizabeth Street between Taft Hill Road and City Park Avenue, as recommended in the 2016 West Elizabeth Enhanced Travel Corridor (ETC) Plan. The W. Elizabeth project aims to address safety concerns and improve conditions for corridor users, especially bicyclists and pedestrians, through the restriping of the roadway to 3 lanes through the entire project area, and the addition of buffered bike lanes and crossing improvements. The lower traffic volumes along this section of W. Elizabeth St. allow for one travel lane in each direction, while the center turn lane provides for safer and more convenient left turns to residential driveways and local streets. Space gained from the reduction in lanes will be utilized to enhance bicycle mobility, while also increasing the buffer between the sidewalk and travel lanes. A crossing improvement is also planned at a key location along the corridor as described below. With up to 2,000 bikes per day along this portion of West Elizabeth, this project will enhance safety for all roadway users, especially bicyclists.
- West Elizabeth from Taft Hill to City Park: Resurfacing and restriping of the roadway, and the addition of buffered bike lanes. A road diet will occur from Skyline to City Park reducing this segment to 3 lanes with one travel lane in each direction and a middle turn lane.
- West Elizabeth just West of Bryan Avenue: A pedestrian crossing at the Woodbridge Senior Apartments. This crossing will include a pedestrian flashing beacon and a center island where pedestrians can safely wait to complete the crossing.
Street improvements completed this year are just part of a larger W. Elizabeth St. corridor plan. Later this year, the City will begin the design process for the entire West Elizabeth corridor from CSU’s Foothill Campus to Mason Street to implement the vision established in the West Elizabeth ETC Plan. Stay tuned for more information about public outreach and community input opportunities. The design will be pursued through a combination of funding from a CDOT grant, the City for Fort Collins and Colorado State University (CSU).
The project is anticipated to begin early June and will take 1-2 weeks. Preparatory work to begin April/May. A travel lane will remain open during construction. More detailed information about this project will be distributed by the Street Maintenance Program prior to construction.
More information about the long-range vision for the West Elizabeth Corridor can be found here: https://www.fcgov.com/westelizabeth/about.php
Mike Knox, Streets Project Manager
Melina Dempsey, FC Moves Transit Planner
2016 West Elizabeth Plan Documents#
The West Elizabeth ETC Plan was adopted by City Council in October 2016. The City has started the 30% design process in 2021. The West Elizabeth ETC plan is below.
NOTE: The entire plan is a large document (95MB) and will take some time to download. For convenience, the various sections of the plan have been broken out below so they can be viewed individually.
Entire Plan and all Appendices (93.5MB)
- Plan - (High Resolution) (49.8MB)
- Plan - (Lower Resolution) (6.1MB)
- Recommended Design and Interim Design (21.3MB)
- Executive Summary (6.5MB)
- Plan Appendices
- Vision, Purpose & Need (6.4MB)
- Community Engagement Summary (3.5MB)
- Corridor Understanding Report (broken into 4 parts):
- Report (25.5MB)
- Report Appendices A and B (684KB)
- Report Appendices C and D (6.6MB)
- Report Appendices E (4.6MB)
- Alternatives Analysis Summary (9.2MB)
- Conceptual Designs of Recommended Design and Interim Design (21.3MB)
- Responding to the Project Need (172KB)
- Traffic Operations Calculations (301KB)
- Cost Estimates Summary and Methodology (364KB)
- Maintenance Considerations (159KB)
- Final Design Considerations (2.1MB
Want To Learn More?#
Contact Senior Transportation Planner Melina Dempsey at email@example.com or Civil Engineering Manager Spencer Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.