Proposed changes to South Washington Street in Bismarck

By  | 

BISMARCK, N.D. - Rob Woodruff leaves his house every day, gets in his truck, and heads out toward south Washington Street.

"Every day, five days a week, we take our daughter over to HIT in Mandan, so we're usually leaving out of here a quarter to eight every morning," Woodruff said.

The Bismarck City Commission is considering making changes to South Washington Street from the Bismarck Expressway to Wachter Avenue.

The proposal aims to change the four lanes to two lanes, add a left turning lane, and "share the road" bike lanes on either side.

"There's concerns about speed on that area, there's concerns about when you have someone that's turning left that there are people that are going to dart
into the right lane," Shawn Oban, Bismarck City Commissioner said.

South Bismarck residents like Woodruff feel that Washington Street needs changes elsewhere instead.

"It narrows down to two lanes for about a mile from Burleigh to Solheim and there's been a big population expansion that's taken place here over the
last decade," Woodruff said.

However, bicyclists like Lance Larson welcome the potential of more bike paths in the area.

"Shared lanes are a great thing, because the town is growing," Larson, owner of Larson’s Cyclery said.

As someone who bikes to work frequently, Larson feels that bike lanes like those proposed on Washington Street ensure bicyclist safety.

“Having bike lanes, designated bike lanes and things like that bring more awareness to the community," Larson said.

Oban has been working to get community feedback on the proposal, most of which has been negative.

“The feedback I've been receiving on Facebook would indicate that they do not support making that change,” Oban said.

Oban says that this proposal is still in the planning phases, and he is welcome to more feedback from the community.

The proposal will continue to be discussed at the next Bismarck City Commission meeting.