Free downtown shuttle to debut on July 6

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Tejon Street will never be the same.

At about 10 a.m. on July 6 the free downtown shuttle will be up and running. “We’re gonna have a big celebration to kick it off,” said Beth Kosley, executive director of the Downtown Partnership. The inaugural ride will begin at Cache La Poudre and Tejon Street, with Mayor Lionel Rivera in the driver’s seat.

Three or four yellow and green checkerboard-patterned buses are scheduled to be on display for the opening event. “We wanted the bus to have a retro, sort of funky look,” Kosley said. “This ought to just be a fun thing.” Kosley said she expects the downtown shuttle will be a source of convenient transportation for people who find they have errands to run during the workday. The downtown shuttle will travel the area between Cache La Poudre to the north and Moreno Street to the south, with stops along the way.

“If I had a meeting at Colorado College, I’d have no choice but to move my car,” Kosley said. Good parking spots are hard to come by in the bustling downtown streets and looking for a new spot often cuts into already tight schedules.

Kosley also mentioned the positive impact the downtown shuttle will have on the environment. “Every time I start my car, there are emissions,” she said. All five of the downtown shuttle buses are powered by electricity, which eliminates the issue of emissions.

And maybe, someday, there will be fewer vehicles lining downtown streets. “People will be able to leave their cars at home and not bring them downtown,” Kosley said.

The shuttle will allow people the option to park somewhere outside of the main downtown hub without having to feed coins into a meter. They could then take the free shuttle, which will run every 15-30 minutes, to a location near their offices.

The shuttle will venture south, away from the high rise buildings in the center. “We wanted to pick up the cluster of businesses on South Tejon like the Old Town Bike Shop and Southside Johnny’s,” Kosley said.

The original release date for the downtown shuttle was June 21, but the project experienced some technical difficulties. “The delay in our opening was because the chargers weren’t ready at the manufacturer,” Kosley said.

Funding for the shuttle came from federal and local sources. A Congestion Mitigation Air Quality grant (CMAQ) was provided by the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, according to Kosley. Additional funding came from downtown tax dollars generated by the Business Improvement District, she said.

The shuttle will run during the summer from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday.