Sitting at the foot of the Anaconda Range, Anaconda, Montana is located in the southwest area of the state. With less than 10,000 people residing in the town, it has a small, community feel. Within the town, Park Street and Commercial Street are Anaconda’s two main thoroughfares. Together, they serve as Highway 1, whichbisects Anaconda’s historic downtown.
Like all highways, Park Street and Commercial Street are designed for cars; they’re wide, straight, and allow cars to travel from one place to another efficiently. However, even though the corridor bisects the downtown, the street does not feel like Main Street. In an effort to calm traffic and bring a sense of place to the corridor, Community Builders partnered with Project for Public Spaces to work with key business owners, local leaders, and the Montana Department of Transportation(MDT) to develop a series of recommendations aimed at slowing down traffic, encouraging a greater level of pedestrian activity, and fostering a community-oriented climate.
Over three days, we brought Anaconda residents together for a community engagement workshop. Residents shared their ideas and provided feedback on improving traffic operations. A second workshop was heldto understand feasibility and public opinion around curb extensions in Downtown Anaconda.
A walk audit also empowered residents to evaluate their experiences walkingalong Park and Commercial Street, encouraging them to note barriers, opportunities for improvement, and existing destinations along the way. This process allowed participants to assess the multimodal and safety performance of four major intersections in the downtown core.
This public process resulted in the Anaconda, Montana: A Vision for Downtown report.
The Anaconda, Montana: A Vision for Downtown report, established a clear vision and strategy for improving Anaconda’s traffic operations, increasing safety and connectivity, and supporting the attractiveness and economic vitality of the downtown. The report included a few short, mid, and long term recommendations, including: establishing a management entity for downtown core(i.e. Business Improvement District or BID), developing wayfinding and branding for the downtown, and exploring finance opportunities for business relocation and renovations of vacant lots.
In February 2015, the Montana Main Street Program awarded Anaconda-Deer Lodge County $10,000 to develop a master plan for downtown Anaconda in an effort to accomplish the goals that were established in the Anaconda, Montana: A Vision for Downtown report. The Downtown Anaconda Master Plan was adopted March 15, 2016.