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The original item was published from 12/11/2014 8:59:30 AM to 12/26/2014 12:05:01 AM.

News Flash

Butte-Silver Bow

Posted on: December 11, 2014

[ARCHIVED] Plan adds more angled parking, bike lanes Uptown

County officials unveiled their plans Wednesday night for bringing more angled-parking to Uptown and making the heart of Butte more pedestrian- and biker-friendly.

Lane widths would be reduced along portions of some streets to make room for the changes. Reverse-angled parking – an idea county officials liked but many in the public did not – would be limited to the north side of Mercury Street between Washington and Arizona.

That stretch will allow motorists to try it out and determine for themselves if driving past angled spots and backing is safer and more convenient pulling out.

It also allows an east-bound bike lane to be placed in front of parked cars on the north side of Mercury Street.

The plan would mean 148 additional parking spaces Uptown, more parking for the handicapped and the addition of north-south and east-west bike lanes.

It also calls for an analysis of nine remaining traffic signals Uptown to determine if they should be removed and possibly replaced with two-way or four-way stop signs.

In the bigger picture, the changes are designed to make Uptown easier to visit, more attractive to pedestrians and bicyclists and, through all of that, improve commerce and quality of life.

Public Works Director Dave Schultz and Karen Byrnes, director of community development, presented the plan to the Council of Commissioners, which must approve the changes before they take effect.

Schultz said the changes, if approved, wouldn't be implemented until the spring.

"The idea is to give the public and the council a lot of time to think about this," Schultz said.

Some of the changes were recommended by urban designer Jeff Speck, who was paid $20,000 by the county to suggest ways of improving Uptown.

His initial recommendations included narrowing driving and parking lanes to accommodate bicycles, removing seven of 13 traffic signals and moving toward reverse-angle parking.

The county also approved $31,820 in contracts with Pioneer Technical Services of Butte to draw up specific plans for implementing some of Speck’s concepts. The firm and county rolled out drafts of those plans in July.

Parallel parking would still be available on many streets or sections, but 60-degree or 45-degree angled parking would be added or expanded in various places.

Those include sections of Granite, Broadway, Galena, Washington, North Idaho, South Dakota, Colorado and Wyoming streets. Bike lanes would be added on Granite, Mercury, Washington and Main streets.

Some streets would have “sharrows” –- a shared-lane marking to indicate that cyclists may also use the full lane.

Schultz said many of the changes involve “trade offs” to make room for angled parking or bike lanes.

Read the full story in the Montana Standard
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