The traffic calming study displays signs about the online survey to share input. PHOTO BY HANNAH KEARSE

Ennis traffic calming study

Main Street demonstration

The traffic-calming study on Main Street is concerning to some Ennis residents.

Temporary delineators have been clustered around Main Street’s four crosswalks. They block off several parking spots and exude a hectic vibe to the quaint Main Street. But they are temporary and part of studying potential solutions to the present and growing speeding problem on the section of U.S. Highway 287 that is called Main Street Ennis.

“It’s all about safety and improving safety for a variety of users,” Ennis Town Council member Lisa Roberts said.

Ennis partnered with Montana State University’s Western Transportation Institute to assist in finding a way to make Ennis Main Street more pedestrian friendly and to slow down speeding traffic. Curb bump outs, which the current white delineators represent, are a proven way to increase pedestrian visibility and slow down traffic. It is not the only way.

Public outcry at a June 13, 2019 Ennis Town Council meeting demanded action to address incoming traffic speeds on Ennis Main Street. Two days prior to that meeting, a semitrailer truck barreled into the corner of the Riverside Hotel, coming to a stop inches from the Nearly New Shoppe. It was not the first time a vehicle ran off the road on the southeast entrance of Ennis.

A semitrailer flipped into Willie’s Distillery October 2, 2014 causing $18,000 in property damage. The truck failed to maneuver the wide turn into town at the speed it was going. Multiple residents have reported near pedestrian and vehicle accidents on the street’s crosswalk, especially on the crosswalks on either end of Main Street.

The project did not require a town council vote. Mayor Blake Leavitt signed the encroachment permit in July 2020. No member of the town council opposed the executive decision.

WTI is matching every $1 Ennis spends on the project with $2. Ennis will commit $7,000 to the $21,000 study project. The project will run until Oct. 19.

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The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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