Bismarck’s Painted Sidewalks Spark More Feedback Than Expected

It was in early July that Bismarck saw a colorful change to it’s busiest intersection. Now a total of nine cities across North Dakota have joined in on the initiative.

Renée Cooper tells us about Bismarck Moves.

Bismarck resident Bruce Brunner says, “This is a lot better than the dots they had on here earlier.”

The North Dakota DOT is calling these sidewalks pop-up demonstrations.

ND DOT Planning Asset Management Division Director Scott Zainhofsky explains, “We’re looking to make the system safe and convenient for all users of the transportation system, not just those that drive.”

The initiative, which is also in play across the river in Mandan, is unique to North Dakota.

Zainhofsky adds, “They’re completely temporary. It’s a public engagement activity, and we’re extremely excited about the amount of public input we’re getting. We have over 1,000 comments. For a strategic plan in North Dakota, that’s unheard of.”

You can actually see where the paint is fading. This is the second color scheme the city has tried out, and the permanence of the demonstration depends on feedback from the community.

Bismarck pedestrian Ruth Schill says, “I like the wide walking areas for the elderly, because there’s a lot of people that live down here.”

Another Bismarck resident Florence Zimmerman says, “There is enough sidewalk, I feel like every corner has a lot of sidewalk.”

The City of Bismarck’s Engineer Gabe Schell says if residents are on-board with the project, eventually these painted walkways will be replaced with a higher sidewalk.

Schell adds, “A whimsical-type color scheme is used just to bring attention to the area. By no means does that mean the permanent solution would construct polka dots or anything along those lines.”

There is a poster board tacked to a light pole at the intersection in Bismarck to share your thoughts. The link for online comments is listed at the bottom.

The project is set to be removed this week. Schell tells us his department will make a recommendation to the City Commission for construction based on the comments you gave. 

From there, it’s up to the Commission to take up the project or not.

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