Bismarck’s widest street: neighbors grateful for the extra space, especially with all this snow!

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 12:15 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. – As the snow piles up, you might notice it’s a bit of a tight squeeze driving down some Bismarck streets.

Between piles of snow and cars parked on the streets, it can be tough to get one car down some city streets.

But there’s a two-block stretch between Boulevard and Avenue E, where even in the snowiest winters, there’s still plenty of room.

Tim Moore has called this neighborhood home for more than four decades.

“We’ve been here 41 years,” he said.

In his years here, he’s noticed a few things about his street.

“The neighbors here are absolutely wonderful,” said Moore.

He’s also noticed this street is a little wider than others.

“People understand when I tell them where I live and they’ll go, ‘Oh, yeah, that big wide street,’” he laughed.

This two-block section of 1st Street between Ave. E and Boulevard is 50 feet wide. That makes it the widest street in the entire city.

From the air, it’s easy to see just how wide this street is. Moore has done a little research into the history of this extra-wide street.

“The developers wanted to try something new and so got the permission to do that here, built a couple houses. But at the same time when he was developing this, got into a bit of an argument with the city commission and they said, ‘Well, we’re not doing that again,’” he explained.

Bismarck city engineer Gabe Schell says that might be true. There’s nothing in writing explaining the idea.

“I wasn’t able to uncover anything that would tell me the right reason or rationale why. Bismarck was growing at the time from the south to the north. I’m not sure if the thought process at the time was, ’We want to try something different.’ Then that just really only lasted a block before they changed their mind,” said Schell.

Whatever the reason, homeowners like Moore are grateful for the extra space.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Moore.

He says it’s especially wonderful when the snow starts to pile up.

“I can still park my truck here and cars can get by,” he said.

And in a winter like this, that makes Moore’s smile just as wide as the street he lives on.

For comparison – while that stretch of 1st street is 50 feet wide, Schell says most city streets are 32 to 38 feet wide. Some are as narrow as 26 feet.

One other thing that makes that two-block section of first street unique: there is no boulevard. The sidewalk goes all the way to the street.

Moore says he appreciates not having to mow a small sliver of boulevard grass in the summer.