Current Advocacy Actions and Projects
Current projects include (click the links for more detail):
- Keeping bike lanes and sidewalks free of obstructions. If you see obstacles in lanes or walkways, call the Missoula Street Maintenance Division at 552-6345. If the obstacles are parked vehicles call 911 to report. Or to leave a gentle reminder to the offender. Print & cut this Clearing Reminder.
- 2011-12 Bike Lane Epoxy Project
- Bike Lanes & Sharrows
- South Higgins Bridge to Brooks
- Bulbouts and other Obstructions in Bike Lanes & Sidewalks
- Supporting “3-Plus for Russell Street Citizens Plan” (an alternative to the Department of Transportation preferred 5-lane Russell project)
- Creating a crosstown bikeway
- Striving to get Missoula’s sidewalk network complete
- Representation on Citizen Advisory Committee for the Missoula Active Transportation Plan
- Supporting the Missoula-Lolo Trail Alliance which is now a committee of BWAM. (see http://sites.google.com/site/bitterroottrail/Home)
BWAM was invited to a meeting with WGM, Campus police & Transportation, Public Works, and other alternative transportation advocates to look at plans to make these four intersections safer for bicycle and pedestrian traffic. See this presentation and other information at the WGM web site. BWAM submitted a letter regarding the lack of a bike lane for the north bound lane on the west leg of the bridge approach. BWAM also continues to favor a plan put forward by MIST for roundabouts rather than traffic signals as seen in this preliminary rendering.
BWAM also supports further evaluation and implementation of another MIST proposal. This recommendation is for a crosstown bikeway on S. 5th and S. 6th Streets between Higgins Avenue and Russell Street. See details of this proposal on the MIST web site.
In addition to advocating for bike lines on any new or reconstructed streets (Brooks, ) our advocacy has helped to bring about bike lanes on other streets including Stephens between Brooks and Mount, Orange between Front & Broadway, W. Greenough Dr. between N. 2nd and the top of the hill, and Higgins Ave. between Broadway and the bridge. We are working to get bike lanes on Russell Street between Mount and Brooks. We actively support bike lanes on Bancroft Street, where the Neighborhood Council has voted in favor of bike lanes from Southwest Higgins to South Avenue. We propose bike lanes on Bancroft from South Avenue to Brooks Street would complete an important north-south bike route. We continue to advocate for sharrows where there is not enough room for standard 5-ft. bike lanes such as on some sections of Third Street from Higgins to Russell, Orange between the Bridge and Beckwith, and Southwest Higgins until re-configuration (3-lanes) results in standard bike lanes.
The City has indicated there will be additional public meetings to discuss the permanent installation of bike lanes on Brooks Street between Higgins Avenue and Mount Avenue. With the paint disappearing we need to advocate for these lanes to be repainted after the summer 2011 chip-seal. Given the previous strong objections by some residents of Brooks Street to the installation of bike lanes on this critical corridor, we need to continue to engage the Missoula bicycling and walking community in advocating for the continued use of bike lanes on Brooks Street. The bike lanes here have not only made access to downtown safer for bicyclists but also made crossing the street by pedestrians safer by providing greater visibility by removal of some parking. Check back for updates on when your support will be most effective.
In November 2010 members of BWAM learned that a new list of bike lanes that needed to be epoxied was to be prepared and sent to the MDT before the end of 2010 for painting during the 2011 painting season. See the new list Round 2 Epoxy Painting that has been recommended by Missoula Public Works Department for epoxy paint during the 2011 painting season. Having concerns about the streets listed, BWAM members have reviewed the listed streets and previously measured bike lanes, parking lanes, and in some cases the travel lanes of the designated streets. BWAM will be working with the Missoula Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board to insure that all bike lanes are adjusted to meet the AASHTO and MUTCD minimums.
There is special concern regarding the proposed epoxy painting of the “fog line” on Orange Street between S. 1st Street and S. 6th Street that delineates a 4 feet wide shoulder. Due to the fact that this shoulder does not meet the minimum AASHTO standards for bike lanes next to a curb, neither the City nor the State will authorize designating this shoulder as a bike lane.
There are varied opinions amongst the cycling community as to the desireability of this shoulder marking. Because of this breadth of opinion the Missoula Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board is discussing the recommendation to not epoxy this “fog line” on Orange Street this year but rather to have a continuing discussion of the pros and cons of the marking of this corridor. If this is epoxied it will be virtually locked in for the next 5+ years until the paint wears off again. Let us know at 3P Team what you think.
In 2007 when BWAM was formed, members joined the many citizens and advocacy groups who oppose building 5-lane thoroughfares on Russell and South Third Street. We have consistently supported the 3 Plus for Russell plan put forth by MAST and others. The final EIS and Preferred Alternative (5 lanes on Russell between Broadway and 3rd Street) should be coming early in 2011 and BWAM has insisted another public meeting should be held. We will continue to advocate 3 lanes from 3rd Street to Mount Avenue. We have been told that a decision on Russell Street from 3rd to Mount will not be made for many years and will not be involved in this EIS.
At this time, BWAM has joined the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board in asking that sharrows be painted on the outer lanes of both sides of Higgins from the Higgins Bridge to Brooks. We thank Missoula Public Works for seeking authority from MDT to paint these bicycle safety symbols on this section of this critical corridor. We understand that these will be epoxied during the 2011 bike lane epoxy project.
In 2008 BWAM members proposed 3-lanes on Higgins from the bridge to Brooks, and that summer surveyed businesses along Missoula’s Hip Strip to get their reactions to the proposal. We found over 90% supported it. However, our work became stalled in Public Works due to Higgins falling under the State Highway restrictions, and eventually the idea was put on a shelf. Now with three lanes north of Broadway, BWAM is considering reviving advocacy for three lanes on Higgins. It will be a long time before it could happen, so at this time BWAM is asking for clearly marked sharrows on this section.
BWAM, MIST, and MAST’s outcry in 2010 against the especially dangerous bulbouts extending into the bike lanes on South Higgins resulted in two repaintings of the lanes. A better, but more expensive action would be to cut back the bulbouts. Other bulbouts such as those on Park & South and on streets without marked bicycle lanes continue to be a hazard for cyclists. BWAM encourages all bicyclists and pedestrians to report other obstructions to the Street Maintenance Division at 552-6345 or, in the case of vehicles, call 911, indicate non-emergency, then give the exact location of the blockage.
When BWAM worked to get the City of Missoula to adopt a Complete Streets Resolution which they did in 2009, we made it clear that in addition to making all new construction complete streets with bike lanes and sidewalks, completing the sidewalk system throughout the City of Missoula should be a high priority. We have worked with members of the Franklin-to-the-Fort Neighborhood Council and others to place sidewalks as a high priority in the 2010 Active Transportation Plan. As a result of BWAM and other citizen advocacy to find a better way to fund sidewalks, the City of Missoula Public Works Committee is in the process of setting up a Citizens Committee to explore means of funding sidewalks. BWAM plans to have a representative on the committee.
The Missoula-Lolo Trail Committee, which has been in existence since February, 2008, voted in 2010 to bring the project under the 501c3 of BWAM. Chair, Jean Belangie-Nye became a Director on the BWAM Board. The Committee has earned a favorable response from the Missoula County Commissioners, and the Missoula-Lolo Trail is now a high priority with the County providing funding can be obtained. A lobbiest has been hired by the County to advocate for Missoula-Lolo Trail funding in Washington, D.C. If you are interested in working on this project, please come to BWAM 3P meetings or contact Jean Belangie-Nye.
In 2010 BWAM opposed, without success, the plans to add a second north to west bound left-turn lane on the Reserve & Mullan Intersection which would take out the pedestrian island. BWAM board members also spoke frequently about the increasing complexity at the Reserve/South intersection. BWAM supported a citizen’s advocacy to improve the crossings near C.S. Porter School. Those efforts resulted in a reduced speed limit and warning signals around the school crossings.
BWAM had representation on the 2010 Active Transportation Plan citizen advisory committee and supported including language to guide the City in completing the sidewalk system as well as for direction in bike lanes and paths. The plan is now in Draft form available for public comment until March 11. BWAM members will discuss the plan at the March 9 3P meeting and hope to formulate a position. All BWAM members or those interested are invited to attend. Comments may be made at http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/transportation/
Since BWAM’s formation in 2007 we have:
- Spoken on behalf of cyclists and pedestrians at numerous City Council and Public Works Committee meetings
- Written letters of support or concern to government officials on many proposals and projects, and participated in transportation workshops
- Collaborated with other groups (MIST, MAST, Bike/Ped Advisory Board) to achieve some improvement in poorly-designed bulbouts
- Helped introduce and pass a Complete Streets Resolution in City Council
- Had representation on Citizen Advisory Committees for the Long-Range Transportation Plan
- Had representation on the 2010-11 Active Transportation Plan
- Written letters of support for other trail projects or land acquisition for trails.
- Responded to national efforts to retain or increase transportation funding for trails and transit.
- Helped bring about new bike lanes on Higgins Avenue, Orange Street, Russell Street, Bancroft Street, and Brooks Street
- Developed relationships with agency staff with some success and positive results, including their attendance (at our request) at 3P and annual meetings.to discuss projects, and their attention to our concerns.
- Provided a regular meeting opportunity (3P Team meetings) for all the bike-ped advocacy groups to come together to share information and discuss concerns and strategies.
- For an abbreviated list of BWAM’s advocacy since 2007 see Brief_3P_Advocacy_summary_201103
Help Make BWAM Stronger, our Voice Louder!
Here’s how: Become a BWAM Advocate. The Advocacy Committee meets on the 1st Tuesday of the month, 4:30 – 6:30 pm at Liquid Planet, 223 N Higgins (in the rear meeting space). If you can’t make the meetings but want to be involved, please e-mail Advocacy Committee Chair, Robin Spaziani.