Collaborative Design Architects’ Nick Pancheau remembers meeting friends for a 20 mile bike ride two hours before he reported to work, most every day of the week, for years.
“We would ride up 27th, through Swords Park, down Black Otter Trail, under Airport Road to Aronson to Skyway Drive, through Lake Elmo down the Kiwanis Trail, to Metra Park and return,” he said.
That inspired his vision for the trail system and his support for Billings TrailNet’s efforts to continue to develop trails.
In 2019, Collaborative Design Architects became a corporate member of Billings TrailNet. Corporate support is essential in promoting and developing Billings’ trails.
Most of the staff at Collaborative Design Architects are trail users, and that is one of many reasons they support Billings TrailNet as a corporate member.
Nick explains that many architects come from larger municipalities and consider moving to Montana because of its rural nature. They want access to the front country recreational activities such as those provided in the larger municipalities from which they came.
Nick’s vision extends beyond Billlings, and he describes seeing the whole of Yellowstone County through a cycling lens.
He would like to see a 70 mile loop between Laurel and the Heights, with a grand picture of connecting Laurel to Lockwood. “When you can stitch together a century ride in Yellowstone County, that kind of connectivity would be phenomenal,” he explains.
Nick lives in Lockwood and is proud and inspired by the work the residents there have accomplished by taxing themselves to form a pedestrian safety district.
“That money is used specifically for sidewalks to connect populated neighborhoods of the community to the school,” he said. He also sits on the TEDD advisory board and would like to promote connections between the TEDD and the Kiwanis Trail and sidewalks from the Heights to Lockwood.
As a family man, Nick would like to see trail connections made between Lockwood and Billlings. “Shooting the gap between Highway 87 Old Hardin Road and east at Metra is critical. If we had something there, that connection piece would enable my family to bike to downtown Billings to go the library and fun activities like Artwalk,” he says.
Nick, Collaborative Design Architects and Billings TrailNet also share a vision to give our local communities a sense of identity by connecting and unifying neighborhoods to campuses and community venues.
Some of the work they have done to create a sense of place is evident at West Park Plaza, where they redesigned the shopping center by “de-malling” it making it a pedestrian friendly place which is now a vibrant and attractive part of our city.
We are grateful to Nick and Collaborative Design Architects for having the vision for a connected, pedestrian and bike-friendly community.