In response to safety concerns, groups are painting the pavement around pedestrian-heavy intersections across Bozeman to help slow traffic.

Led by the Western Transportation Institute, several neighbors, teachers and volunteers gathered on Church Avenue at the Olive Street and Bogert Place intersections on Saturday to beautify the street corners.

“This is an area that will benefit a lot from these little design features,” WTI project assistant Dani Hess said. “It creates a visual narrowing that makes it a little harder to just cruise through here.”

Being near Bogert Park, the library and Peets Hill, both intersections get a lot of car and foot traffic, and Hess said several neighbors have contacted the city with concerns. In response, Hess said she reached out to neighbors with a few ideas for the intersections, and they liked the painting idea.

WTI has been involved in implementing similar projects in other parts of the city, including near Cooper Park and the Valley Unit neighborhoods, and she said it has shown to slow traffic speeds anywhere from 2% to 14%. Traffic issues are often one of the most contentious topics and neighborhood association meetings, and redesigning pedestrian crossings is one way to address those problems.

Saturday’s Church Avenue project included a painted river design with cutthroat trout wrapping around the curb on the street. Charlotte Gill, the artist who designed the project and made stencils, lives a few blocks from the project.

“I wanted to pick something that is local,” she said. “And kind of creating a sense of place like that.”

Lisa Laird lives just a few blocks from the project and just had a baby, and she said she’s seen people go down the street at 45 miles per hour. She helped out with the project because she said she wanted her street to be safe.

“It’s just too reckless,” she said. “It’s a park — it’s a long, beautiful block; just slow down.”

She said she’s reported speeding to police, but they can only do so much. So instead of complaining, she decided to do what she could to help. Plus, it was a fun way to spend a Saturday.

“Hopefully people will take a deep breath and slow down,” she said.

Abby Lynes can be reached at alynes@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2651. Follow her on Twitter @Abby_Lynes.

Abby Lynes covers business and the economy for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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