BILLINGS — Parades traveling along the three Billings parade routes will now take a less obtrusive path after the Billings City Council unanimously approved changes to the routes Monday.
Billings City Engineer Debi Meling gave the parade route presentation to the council.
“We looked at how to change these routes to make easier access to parking and better circulation," Meling said.
The downtown parade route had the most changes and is the most used of the three routes.
The downtown route was changed so that the parade will never come into contact with North 27th Street, a highly-trafficked Billings thoroughfare.
“North 27th is closed for every parade, and it really doesn’t need to be if we can stay on the west side. It makes it easier for people to get to the parades, park, and just general circulation in the city," said Meling.
The new route has floats lining up on the west end of downtown along North 35th, 34th and 33rd Streets. The previous route had floats lining up on the east end of downtown.
Downtown parades will start on the corner of Second Avenue North and North 32nd Street. It will travel down Second Avenue North, turning left on North 28th Street and returning to North 32nd to finish.
The new downtown route aims to alleviate congestion around the downtown Met Transit Downtown Transfer Station at 220 N. 25th St. And will hopefully make it easier to leave downtown after the parade is finished, Meling said.
The downtown route will also go under Skypoint on the corner of Broadway and Second Avenue North.
The Daylis parade route is primarily used for Billings Senior High School's homecoming parade. Meling mentioned how this route hasn't been used in the last few years.
The Daylis route was only changed to stage on the west side of North 27th Street, instead of the east.
The Daylis route now starts on the corner of North 28th Street and Third Avenue North. The parade travels west on Third Avenue North and continues west on Clark Avenue before turning right on Third Street West. The Daylis Route ends at the intersection of Avenue C and Third Street West.
The Heights route had similarly small changes and is primarily used for Billings Skyview High School's homecoming parades.
The Heights staging area was moved from the east side of Lake Elmo Drive on Wicks Lane to the west side of Lake Elmo Drive. The parade will move up Wicks Lane and end at the Skyview football field on that same street.
This is the first time the Billings parade routes have been modified since their creation in 1988, Meling said.
The first parade to take advantage of the new route is the St. Patrick's Day parade scheduled for March 14.