December 11, 2020

The intersection of Peach Street crossing Rouse Ave reopened with no dedicated bike facilities on either side of Rouse despite having four lanes for motor vehicles on each side. Interested or concerned community members have an opportunity to submit public comment related to this issue right now.  

THE ESSENTIAL
If you are interested, please take just a few minutes (literally) before Sunday night (Dec 13) to submit a comment to the MDT through its web portal to the effect: 

1.  That the intersection where Peach Street crosses Rouse Ave is not sufficient because it does not provide for safe and effective use by people traveling by bike. 
2.  Feel free to express appreciation that the new Rouse corridor, from Mendenhall heading north, does include the addition of bike lanes on both sides of Rouse.

Link: 
https://www.mdt.mt.gov/mdt/comment_form.shtml

Fields/inputs: 
click "comment on a project/activity" (i.e., do not click "report a problem")
type your comments
"reporting a problem" -- don't choose anything from this drop-down menu
"commenting on a project / activity" -- choose other (at the bottom of the drop-down list)
"other identifying information" -- Bozeman:  Rouse Ave - Peach Street Intersection

If you don't mind, please forward to delmue@yahoo.com the e-mail you get back from the comment portal.

THE PURPOSE
To let the MDT know that this is an important issue for our community. 
We don't need to assign blame. 
We don't need to be critical. 
We don't need to know the exact details of the solution. 

THE OPPORTUNITY
1.  The City of Bozeman will take up this issue with the MDT on Tuesday, Dec. 15.
2.  The Peach Street intersection crossing Rouse is not finished.  It will be finished in the spring.  As a result, it can be changed before being finalized. 

THE IMPORTANCE
It abruptly ends a long, continuous bike lane.  For over four miles -- from basically the western border of the City with the County -- there are continuous bike lanes along Durston Road and Peach Street.  This is especially troubling because, prior to the project, there WERE bike lanes west of Rouse.  

It creates a sudden, very dangerous condition.  Currently, traveling east on Peach Street, about midway between Montana Ave and Rouse Ave, not only do the bike lanes end, but an abrupt new curb forces people on bikes into what is then a single eastbound lane, which then quickly expands to THREE eastbound lanes (left-turn; through; right-turn).  Across Rouse, there are no dedicated bike facilities, either; instead, there are sharrows in the through lane.  (Westbound, the configuration is the same:  THREE vehicle lanes plus one oncoming/through lane.  The bike lane west of Rouse doesn't begin until about halfway to Montana Ave.)

East of Rouse are major destinations: 
The NE Neighborhood with its amazing offerings (e.g., Wild Crumb Bakery, Treeline Coffee, Rendezvous food truck, Bozeman Brewing Co., Mountains Walking Brewery, Fink's Deli).  There are two bike shops east of Rouse:  Alter Cycles and Rad Bikes. There are many other great businesses in the NE Neighborhood. 

East of Rouse (then north) is connectivity to the Story Mill Community Park (and beyond -- to the M and Drinking Horse Mountain Trails) as well as the Story Hills mountain bike trails. 
After Peach becomes Avocado and then Broadway, is connectivity to Lindley Park, Peet's Hill, the hospital, and more. 

BE DECENT
You will likely get a reply from Takami Clark, from the PR firm hired by MDT.  She did not design the project and will not be designing a solution.  What she conveys likely will not satisfy you.  Of course, you can reply, but please keep in mind that she is only the messenger.   

This is a response that we have already received from Takami regarding the issue. 

Good morning, 

I was forwarded your comment and appreciate your concern for bicyclist safety. I know that MDT also shares the same concerns. Adding on-street, 5-foot bike lanes wherever possible throughout the Rouse Ave – Main to Oak project was identified as a goal of the project early on to address these needs.

I wanted to explain why the bike lane configuration is laid out that way. Unfortunately, this project presented numerous challenges, of which the major one was constrained space due to the creek and residential nature of the road. There was space to include bike lanes on the west side of Peach Street. However, on the east side of the road, on-street parking and Bozeman Creek's floodplain constrained travel lanes. There wasn't enough space to include bike lanes on the east side. Since there isn't full bike lane connectivity across the intersection, the bike lane merges into the travel lane via a skip strip transition and sharrow (i.e., the dotted lane line and bike symbol), indicating that travel lanes must be shared. Sharrows continue across the intersection as well. It’s also important to note that crews have not yet placed the permanent striping and these markings will show up as crews return to work in the spring.

Please know that MDT does care about bike safety and has worked hard to improve it throughout this project. We also are listening to your concerns and will continue to review this intersection to see if any changes can occur over this winter/upcoming spring. Any changes that do occur need to be coordinated with the City of Bozeman, and we are in conversations with them to see what can be done. 
- Takami Clark 12/11/20

Jason Delmue, Acting Chair of the Bozeman Area Bicycle Advisory Board will join us on the NENA Meeting on Thursday, December 17 to talk about this issue and other updates related to biking in Bozeman. If you would like, you can forward any response you might get to delmue@yahoo.com

Please contact Jason with any questions or concerns related to this issue: Jason Delmue, Acting Chair, Bozeman Area Bicycle Advisory Board (BABAB), 406 600 2896 delmue@yahoo.com

 

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