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Downtown Bozeman Creek Park(ing) Project Seeks To Improve Corner of South Rouse Avenue and East Babcock Street.

The Downtown Bozeman Partnership has launched the Bozeman Creek Park(ing) Project. The project seeks to redesign the public parking lot and adjacent section of Bozeman Creek at the intersection of South Rouse and East Babcock. The project objectives are to enhance Bozeman Creek and create a creek side park; maximize public parking function and capacity; and mitigate storm water issues.

“This parking lot, though well used, underperforms in many aspects. The vehicle access and circulation are poor; the creek is largely ignored rather than highlighted; and pedestrian amenities such as lighting are non-existent,” says Chris Naumann, Executive Director of the Downtown Partnership.

The Bozeman Creek Park(ing) Project involves three distinct improvement objectives that must be designed to interact with one another. The first objective is to enhance Bozeman Creek and create a small park along the eastern side of the creek adjacent to the public parking lot.  The second objective is to restructure the public parking lot to maximize its safety, capacity and function. The third objective is to effectively mitigate storm water runoff into Bozeman Creek from the parking lot.

Five teams of consultants responded to a Request for Qualifications in September of this year. From the submittals, an oversight committee comprised of City officials, downtown representatives, and stream restorations experts selected the consultant team led by Intrinsik Architecture. The other members of the chosen team include Confluence, Design 5, and TD&H Engineering.

Naumann explains, “The multi-disciplinary nature of this project demands a diverse team of professionals to examine everything from stream restoration to urban landscaping to traffic engineering. Like most downtown projects, the Bozeman Creek Park(ing) Project is very challenging.”

The Downtown Partnership and the Intrinsik team are developing three alternatives for transforming the parking lot and the adjacent stretch of Bozeman Creek. While the alternatives may favor one of the three objectives, each must address all three. In order to better weigh the options, a survey has been developed to encourage public input. The on-line survey is open to the public until 5:00pm Thursday, December 15, 2011. The survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BozemanCreek-PARK-ingProject

The Bozeman Creek Park(ing) Project is directly supported by the 2009 Downtown Improvement Plan. The plan stipulates that “Bozeman Creek should be revealed and made a centerpiece of a downtown open space system. An intermittent ‘Bozeman Creek Park’ would provide a natural connection from the north and south neighborhoods to the downtown commercial area. Where space is available, such as through existing parking lots, public open space should be provided along the creek, complete with seating areas and viewing platforms, so that this unique natural feature can be appreciated by both residents and visitors to downtown.”

In regards to improving downtown’s public parking lots, the Downtown Plan says they “should be enhanced with pedestrian scale lighting, way-finding signage, and aesthetic elements such as screening and landscaping. These improvements were proposed in the 1998 MAKERS Plan but have yet to be implemented”.

The Downtown Partnership and team of consultants will present three alternative designs for the parking lot and creek to the public in early February. The Downtown Partnership will continue to collaborate with the City of Bozeman, the Bozeman Parking Commission and adjacent property owners to decide how best to improve this area.

Parking lot behind The Eagles Club on South Rouse and East Babcock

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