Project aims to improve transportation in Bozeman | City

A Bozeman group is trying to change the way people think about getting around town.

As rain drizzled Thursday morning, Dani Hess with the Western Transportation Institute and Bozeman Street Superintendent John Van Delinder watched traffic at the corner of Tracy Avenue and Tamarack Street.

Hess said the area typically acts as a cross-through street, meaning drivers tend to go too fast and don’t look for walkers.

But through Sunday, barriers along Tamarack Street will mark where an extended curb would allow people to stand in sight of cars. In the center of the road, an island of plants borders recently painted crosswalks.

The temporary display was created by a partnership between Western Transportation Institute and the city on a project called Transportation Demand Management, which kicked off in August last year.

“As Bozeman grows, instead of having to go build out all of these additional five-lane roads and widen our streets and build more parking, we can look at ways to use what we have more effectively,” Hess said.

She said that ranges from increasing transit services to encouraging more people to bike or walk from place to place.

The temporary displays are cheap. Hess said that helps the transportation team gauge whether people are interested in looking for long-term replacements before spending a lot of money.

On Monday, the cohort set up a one-day pop-up downtown with couches and outdoor furniture in front of Wild Joe’s.

Hess said the setup took two parking spaces.

“That was to demonstrate how much space is taken up by parking on Main Street and how we might better use that space to encourage active modes of transportation downtown,” she said.

Van Delinder said as the team sorts through community feedback, they’ll look at whether there’s support — and dollars — to make the pop-up displays permanent.

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