City to eliminate one-way streets in downtown Bismarck

Published: Jun. 22, 2017 at 5:37 PM CDT
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Navigating the one-way streets in Downtown Bismarck can be a challenge.

The city is eliminating one-way streets hoping to keep people downtown, rather than have motorists drive through.

The city of Bismarck is changing Chancellor Square, from a six block, one-way street system in the heart of town, and replacing the lanes to two-way streets, like it was back in the 70s.

Downtown businesses are excited for the upcoming street conversion.

"It'll make things a little simpler downtown. I was concerned about the parking, but it doesn't seem that we're going to lose much in the way of parking. I'm hoping that it's going to be a good move," said owner of Westley's Jewelry, Rick Kiemele.

"I think a lot of people don't come downtown because of the congestion. All my friends, nobody wants to drive downtown, especially during the afternoon," said Patrick Spitler, Bismarck.

City engineers say switching Chancellor Square from a one-way back to a two-way street is going to be a quick turnaround.

"Most of the construction is going to be signing and pavement marking rehabilitations and changing those sort of things. We will be taking the traffic signals that are on Fifth Street, both Thayer and Broadway Ave out of service," said city engineer Gabe Schell.

Losing parking spots downtown isn't an issue.

"We'll lose five car spaces but we'll gain some motorcycle parking. So downtown will have Bismarck's first motorcycle only parking," said Kate Herzog, Assistant Director of the Downtowners Association.

The goal of the project is to promote walkability and make the downtown atmosphere safer and more efficient.

The city plans to start configuring the roads in mid-July. They ask the public to be cautious of the changing roadway system and to keep an eye out for the new signage.