Archive for June, 2012

Bad news on the federal front for active transportation.  Federal funding potentially available to support future Missoula active transportation projects has been significantly reduced as a result of the federal transportation bill agreed to Thursday June 28.  Thanks to everyone who sent messages to our senators and representative over the last several months.  Our voices joined thousands from around the country and kept the losses lower than they would have been.

The program that allocates federal transportation dollars to local street safety projects like bike lanes, sidewalks and crosswalks has morphed into a much more general fund for anything that can be considered an air quality improvement strategy.  States have great leeway to shift funds around, and bike/ped projects will have to compete with road projects and much more.

“Transportation Alternatives” (TA) has also absorbed the Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails programs, which used to have their own dedicated funding. And it can be used to fund “planning, designing, or constructing boulevards and other roadways largely in the right-of-way of former Interstate System routes or other divided highways.” The TA funding was reduced from $1.2 billion in FY 2011 to $700 – 750 million. Read the rest of this entry »

An interview by Smart Growth America with Mayor Engen was posted to their website in May and featured in the June 14 newsletter with 3 other Western cities. View this interview and read the accompanying text at Smart Growth America.

RUX BridgeHave you heard about the new Rattlesnake Creek crossing to be constructed this summer? This new bridge and accompanying trail system will connect Pine Street with Van Buren Street.  For a great overview of the project check out the presentation by HDR Consulting.  In general I think this project will be a nice addition to Missoula’s active transportation system, but I have a couple of concerns that I expressed during the last public meeting on May 31.  My main concern is the reconfiguration of Van Buren Street south of Broadway.  As indicated in slide 11 of the presentation by Dustin of HDR, the current plan is to eliminate the existing northbound bike lane and add a southbound bike lane on the west side .South Van Buren Street

I would strongly urge that this section be reevaluated to examine the advantages of retaining the northbound bike lane on the east side of Van Buren St. and place sharrows in the southbound travel lane.  Given that southbound bicyclists will have the option of using the travel lane if they are comfortable with that or the adjacent 10’ wide multiuse trail, the inclusion of a southbound bike lane would seem redundant. Read the rest of this entry »

Bike Walk Montana (BWM) is the new statewide advocacy organization that was founded by a volunteer leadership team which put together the Founding Summit that took place in Helena in April 2012. That group charted a course for the organization’s future and now a volunteer board is being formed to carry out those action plans.

BWM’s mission is to make biking and walking safe and accessible for all.  Their vision for the future of cycling is that in all communities across Montana, cycling and walking are safe, everyday, mainstream activities. Cycling and walking are recognized, accommodated and funded as legitimate and essential modes of transportation. As a result, Montanans enjoy an enhanced quality of life, a cleaner environment, and better health. Montana is a model for innovative cycling and walking facilities and programs.

BWM is currently striving to establish a strong, diverse Board of Directors. Read the rest of this entry »

The slow journey to a changed and hopefully improved Russell Street continues.  WGM Group and HDR will provide engineering and design services for the Russell Street and South 3rd West reconstruction.  The Montana Department of Transportation selection process to select a design firm is over.  The WGM proposal is available at:

Their proposal described extensive public involvement opportunities and interesting initial ideas about how to approach the big project and redesign the Russell St. bridge.

The designated preferred alternatives from the Record of Decision includes four travel lanes and a center median/turn lane on Russell Street, and two travel lanes and a center median/turn lane on South 3rd Street.  Major intersections on Russell Street and South 3rd Street would be controlled with signals.  The proposed project also includes a new Clark Fork bridge, accommodation of alternative transportation modes through increased trail connectivity and access, sidewalks, curb and gutter, boulevards, bicycle lanes, and stormwater drainage.

The Record Of Decision is available for downloading online (10MB PDF file).

Sunday Streets Missoula is a free community event that celebrates Missoula as a bikeable and walkable community. On Sunday, June 3, 10AM-4PM. Missoulians can enjoy walking, biking and using all other forms of human powered transportation on a car-free Higgins Avenue from the XXXXs to 5th Street. By providing a venue for safe on-street activities like walking, biking and opportunities to support local businesses, Sunday Streets encourages spontaneous fun & festivities, games & activities, and dining & shopping in the Downtown Missoula area. Sunday Streets Missoula promotes healthy physical activity and supports active transportation choices for everyone who lives, works or plays in Missoula.

Downtown will be accessible via Orange, Madison and Broadway. Central Park on Main Street will be accessible via Ryman.

If you would like to volunteer at the event, please contact Ben Weiss at 406.258.4961.