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As CSU's Final Stadium Decision Draws Near, Local Thoughts Turn To Traffic

Grace Hood

Colorado State University President Tony Frank has recommended that the school move forward with plans to build an on-campus stadium. CSU's Board of Governors is expected to make a final decision when they next meet in Denver.

After nearly three years of contentious debate, what are CSU students and Fort Collins residents thinking as this chapter comes to a close?

In a word, traffic.

"There's all kind of stuff that goes on around the [proposed] stadium that there will not be room for," said CSU Senior Gabrielle Henery. "I feel like there's not going to be parking available."

For Henery, parking is already tight on the southwest edge of campus — the proposed site for the new stadium.

Fort Collins resident Michael Conrad's concern is just getting through town on game days.

"Traffic is going to be ridiculous, horrendous and they're not going to be able to deal with it," he said.

For its part, the university evaluated the increased congestion that would come to Fort Collins on game day. Initial plans with the city of Fort Collins [.pdf] include stepped-up public transportation and establishing shuttles for parking spots that are not within walking distance. The estimated cost for those improvements is between $13 - $22 million.

The report does point to more people using alternative transportation to get to the proposed location. It estimates that about 8,000 people would walk or bike while 7,500 would use public transportation.

In a college town where many students drink alcohol, and now smoke recreational marijuana, Sophomore Raphael Steinberg said an on-campus stadium could potentially increase safety because it's more accessible.

"It would prevent a lot of drunk driving," Steinberg said. "You know a lot of people drink and go to the game."

Even after three years of deliberation, CSU student Bryan Goings said he’d like to see even more effort put into how CSU will juggle potential impacts like traffic, parking, noise and the cost of the stadium.

“Yeah, three years is a big chunk of time, but it’s not a small decision,” he said.

On Dec. 5, CSU's Board of Governors will weigh the cost of traffic and other impacts for Fort Collins residents with what's best for the future of the university. The meeting in Denver will be open to the public; the proceedings will also be streamed live for those unable to attend.

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