GVLT Launches Project Connecting Trails, East to West

For years the City of Bozeman and real estate developers have worked hard to piece together trails that connect pedestrians and cyclists to and through new neighborhoods and parks in the rapidly growing west side of town, but there is still work to be done.  In newer areas of Bozeman, pathways take users through beautiful areas of the city, but sometimes lead to busy streets with no crosswalks or bike lanes, or they dead end with curbs or across from undeveloped properties. Without clear signage, users struggle to find existing trails that can safely take them to destinations like schools, parks, playgrounds and commercial centers. That’s why GVLT has launched a new East-West Connector Trail project  to ensure that trails on the west side are not only connected safely to each other, but also move people to  the existing trails and parks on the eastside of town. The GVLT Trails Team has identified small connections, safety improvements, and cohesive signage needs that will put the finishing touches on a robust and connected trail and off-street pathway system for Bozeman’s westside. See East-West Connector Trail Overview Map.

“The East-West Connector network is already over 80% complete,” said Matt Parsons, GVLT’s Director of Trails. “Our focus is to enhance public safety by installing signage, guiding users to safe crossings, and building short connector trails to augment what’s already a pretty good system of interconnected trails in Bozeman’s northwest neighborhoods. It’s a shift in the way we’ve thought about our trail system. We’re not just building trails, we’re building experiences.”

Not only will this initiative complete connections in and around the westside, it will also establish a primary route from the westernmost part of Bozeman east to the heart of downtown, the new Story Mill Community Park and onto the Path to the M and Drinking Horse. Once completed, the five-and-a-half-mile trail network will connect many parks, the new high school, elementary schools, and neighborhoods, providing trail users with safe, off-street commutes and recreation opportunities.

Easy-to-read wayfinding trail totems, signs, map kiosks, and smaller intermediary maps will guide trail users from one side of town to the other. GVLT will work with City of Bozeman Recreation and Parks, Public Works and Engineering to establish safe, accessible trail routes. GVLT is currently pursuing funds for the project from the Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOP) Bond which was passed by voters in 2012.  GVLT hopes to kick off this project within the coming year.

Once complete, the route will connect the farthest west subdivision, The Lakes, east to the M and Drinking Horse Trails. Check out the route on the video below.