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The Bismarck Mandan Metropolitan Planning Organization Tuesday awarded Crandall Arambula the contract to do Bismarck’s downtown master plan study for $325,000. The Oregon-based consultant has until late November to finish the study, said Ben Ehreth, planner for the MPO.

“The city and the MPO will use it as a guide to developing downtown,” he said. “The last one was done in the mid-1990s.”

The new plan will examine traffic patterns, parking needs, street design, urban design, downtown access, features for bike and pedestrian traffic, and the bus system.

Bismarck City Commissioner Josh Askvig said the master plan is a key part of the city’s strategic plan that was approved in 2012. He led the meetings that set the goals for the growth plan. “Our downtown has changed — our services, our traffic, parking needs, the need for quiet rail and housing needs,” he said. “We have new developments like the Pine and Becker projects. Another big thing is our transit. We have people who don’t drive. How do we get people connected to other parts of the city and create a more efficient transit system.” A busing hub has been discussed.

One-ways, sidewalks and downtown traffic patterns and finding a site for community plaza will all be considered in the study. Finding downtown housing is a growing challenge, Askvig said.

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

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

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