Anaconda, Montana

From One-Way Couplet to Downtown Placemaking

Location: Anaconda, Montana
Completed Date: Winter 2014
Lead Consultant: Project for Public Spaces
Partner: Anaconda-Deer Lodge County


Park Street and Commercial Street are Anaconda’s two main thoroughfares, and serve as Montana Highway 1. Together, they form a one-way couplet that bisects Anaconda’s historic downtown. Park and Commercial are wide, straight and function principally in their capacity as a highway, not a community main street. New Mobility West brought in the Project for Public Spaces to work with key business owners, local leaders and MDOT to develop a series of recommendations aimed at slowing down traffic and encouraging a greater level of pedestrian activity and fostering a community-oriented climate.

Intersection of Park and Main

Key Activities

Over three days in October 2014, a workshop sought to improve the traffic operations increase safety and connectivity between residences, downtown and local recreation. In advance of this workshop, America Walks led a workshop that indicated technical feasibility and strong public support for bulbouts as a possible tool for Anaconda. A number of placemaking tools were combined with stakeholder interviews and on-site observations to begin to develop of program of improvements, activities, and management tactics to create a thriving downtown core and a street audit empowered participants to evaluate the walking experience of a few blocks of either Park or Commercial, noting barriers, opportunities for improvement, and existing destinations along the way. The intersection audits allowed participants to assess how the four major intersections in the downtown core perform in terms of multimodal accommodation and safety. Using the urban form audit, participants evaluated the common physical characteristics of the built environment that support place and began to brainstorm unique aesthetics to inform future designs.

Underused plazas could be turned into public spaces.


The process led to a vision of how Anaconda would become a star in a constellation of regional destinations and the street design changes that would foster that vision. Anaconda cannot do it alone and community partnerships and good management will be paramount to realizing the community’s goals.

Recommendations from the report were broken into short term, mid-term, and long term projects. A few include:

  • Establish a management entity for downtown core (i.e. Business Improvement District)
  • Develop campaign and brand for downtown.
  • Explore finance opportunities for business relocation and renovations of vacant lots.


Read the final report


Rendering of an enhanced streetscape.


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