For immediate release: Nov. 20, 2023
Neil Cardwell, Belgrade City Manager
Takami Clark, Bozeman Communications & Engagement Manager
Whitney Bermes, Gallatin County Communications Coordinator
Gallatin Valley Communities Win Grants to Improve Road Safety
More than $760,000 awarded to City of Belgrade, City of Bozeman, Gallatin County
Multiple communities in the Gallatin Valley recently won more than $760,000 in grant funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) program. The program helps local governments study safety challenges in their communities and identify solutions to make roads safer for all users. The Department funded 235 proposals across the nation totaling $82 million, which included funded proposals from the City of Belgrade, the City of Bozeman, and Gallatin County.
Belgrade’s SS4A grant is split into two categories. The first is a planning grant in the amount of $228,000, which will allow for the development of a comprehensive Safety Action Plan for the city. This plan will be developed cooperatively with the Master Planning efforts. The goal of the Safety Action Plan is to find ways to prevent fatalities and serious injuries, both through policy and projects, while also ensuring those improvements are equitably distributed within our community.
The second is a demonstration grant in the amount of $86,464. The proposed demonstration project will be located along Main Street, from Davis Street to Jackrabbit Lane. The project will install temporary curb bulb-outs using flexible delineators, high-visibility crosswalk markings, bike sharrows, and signing. All the treatments are temporary, will remain in place for approximately one summer, and align with the city’s existing Downtown Master Plan. The goal of the project is to evaluate the efficacy of these treatments as options to make downtown Belgrade safer for pedestrians and bicyclists while still maintaining functionality for vehicle users. As part of this project, the city will also engage the community via multiple avenues to learn more about residents’ attitudes toward the current downtown street infrastructure and gather their feedback regarding the temporary treatments during and after the project. Lessons learned during the demonstration project will inform the development of the Safety Action Plan and ideas for permanent solutions.
“Belgrade’s growth continues to put a strain on our financial resources; this grant is critical to continue to improve our road and pedestrian safety, particularly in our downtown Main Street area,” said Belgrade City Manager Neil Cardwell.
Bozeman’s $200,000 grant will fund the expansion of the Bozeman Streets Are For Everyone (SAFE) Plan. This includes public engagement, data analysis to identify critical issues and a prioritization plan to ensure construction funding is allocated to where it matters most. The grant also includes funding for Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures at major intersections across the city. This equipment collects information on speed, red light running and near-misses so the city can improve signal timing and direct enforcement where it is needed most. This will be the first time this technology is being employed in Montana.
“This grant is an important step towards improving road safety in Bozeman,” Mayor Cyndy Andrus stated. “Each improvement and project that gets implemented means fewer and fewer severe crashes, which will ultimately save lives.”
Gallatin County’s $252,771 planning grant will be used to develop a comprehensive safety action plan and do supplemental planning for up to five safety emphasis areas for the county’s transportation system, focusing heavily on county roads within the rapidly growingly Greater Triangle Area between Bozeman, Belgrade and Four Corners. These emphasis areas are expected to include single-vehicle run-off-the-road crashes, user behavior (impairment, speeding, distractions, etc.), vulnerable road users, and others.
“We have recognized gaps in our pathway system for a long time and this grant funding will support the engineering and planning needed to fix the breaks in our walking and rolling transportation system,” said Gallatin County Commission Jennifer Boyer.
Doing these plans in compliance with federal standards makes local governments eligible for further funding from the SS4A program. This helps projects identified in the planning process to become a reality at little expense to local taxpayers.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) established the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) program with $5 billion in appropriated funds over 5 years, 2022-2026. The SS4A program funds regional, local, and Tribal initiatives through grants to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries.
More information about the SS4A program can be found at https://www.transportation.gov/grants/SS4A.