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City designs Neighborhood Bikeway in Billings to make biking and walking safer

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Posted at 8:51 PM, Oct 06, 2021

The city of Billings has put up new signs and markers to make it safer for bicyclists on the streets and also for pedestrians.

It's part of a new route called the Neighborhood Bikeway.

"You want to pick out neighborhood streets with not too many cars driving through on them and people driving relatively slowly," said Elyse Monat, active transportation planner for the city of Billings. "You don't want them to be going above 25 miles an hour."

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City officials say cyclists have a safer place to ride with a designated path that avoids the city's most dangerous streets.

"It's going to stretch from the North Park area all the way over to Rose Park and a little bit north to Lyman Avenue," Monat said. "And the idea is that we want to create a route that's safe and accessible for everybody, including families, seniors, kids."

Monat said the signs and markings will help keep drivers alert of pedestrians and bicyclists.

"It's going to consist of some wayfinding signs to help people figure out where they need to go easily," she said. "It will have some sharrows which are the double Chevrons with the bicycle symbols that you see sometimes around town. Hopefully you know by seeing all the signs on the sharrows, they'll pay a little more attention and slow down when they're driving through the streets."

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"One thing we have to remember is that not everybody can drive or not everybody has access to a car, whether they're too young, they're seniors, they have a disability and can't drive for some reason. So we really need to be creating transportation routes for everyone in our community so that's what we're trying to do with this route."

One of the safety features is enhanced crossings on some of the busier streets.

"Virginia, 13th Street West and 17th Street West," Monat said. "Those were kind of the busiest streets so we wanted to include some enhanced crossings, especially for people who are a little bit more cautious crossing some of those busier streets."

This is the first for Billings, but the idea has worked for other cities around the country.

"Missoula's doing some," Monat said. "I know Portland has, Oakland, Salt Lake City. People are really trying to create routes for people of all ages and abilities to be able to travel safely across their cities so that's what we'd love to go."

The approximately four-mile Neighborhood Bikeway cost $215,000. And the master plan calls for more routes throughout the city.

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The proposed bike route through Billings.