The Bismarck Mandan Metropolitan Planning Organization may award a downtown master plan study for Bismarck on Tuesday.

The MPO has negotiated with Crandall Arambula of Portland, Ore., to do the study for $325,000, said MPO planner Ben Ehreth. “We’ll be working with the existing interest groups on urban design, parking needs, improving access, street design, improving bike and pedestrian access,” said Ehreth. “It will look at a transit hub building for buses to come in and out of.”

It will examine the effectiveness of one-ways, sidewalk widths and how traffic circulates downtown. The bus hub could lower the reliance on cars, Ehreth said.

Another goal may be locating a community plaza area where people can gather downtown for public events like farmer markets, he said. The plan will identify realistic goals, a time frame for making improvements and how to fund them, according to Ehreth.

Work on the downtown study could start this month, said Ehreth. The contract specifies the study will be completed by Nov. 29.

The sub-area downtown study will replace a previous downtown master plan that was done in the mid-1990s for Bismarck.

Federal MPO planning funds would pay for 80 percent of the project. Bismarck would pay a 20 percent match of $65,000 if the offer is approved, Ehreth said.

Reach LeAnn Eckroth at 701-250-8264 or leann.eckroth@bismarcktribune.com.

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