December 2009

Parking Wars in Downtown Missoula

Missoula’s downtown faces many of the same problems that most downtowns in America face. One of those problems is dealing with parking. Our cities long term planning envisions big growth for our little city over the next 20 years, especially in our urban core (seen above) where a lot more people will not only come to shop and eat lunch, but also increasingly come to live. To deal with this growth and the subsequent need to accommodate more cars downtown, Missoula’s Downtown Master Plan calls for the building of seven new publicly owned multi-story parking structures at the cost of tens of millions of dollars to tax payers and using up precious real estate for the storage of our communities vehicles.

Recently this issue came up in Missoula’s city council and discussed further in a great local list serve updated by one of our council members to keep Missoula citizens informed. A possible update to Missoula’s parking meter system erupted into the biggest debate I have yet to witness occur over the email list serve. Over 30 emails went back and forth detailing almost all points of view people have on parking downtown.

Visit the Imagine No Cars blog for the full article.

!! Trail Extensions Coming !!

Announced 12/10/09 at the organizational meeting for the new committee to review and update the Missoula Non-motorized Master Plan.

Great news on the proposed Milwaukee Trail extension from Russell to Reserve! After years of work, the necessary easements have been obtained and the project should be underway in 2010! A huge thanks and congratulations to Dave Shaw, Trails Manager, and Jacki Corday, Open Space Program Manager, for their dedication and resultant success!

Riding in the Winter Wonderland!

by Kevin Hyde - 6 December 2009 for BWAMWinter Biker

What does it take to ride year-round? Dedication? Persistence? Running a half bubble off plumb? I’m confident it’s some combination of the three – plus preparation and staying especially alert. And slowing down …

I’ve been riding (nearly) year-round for the past ten years, early on from necessity, now from passion. Winter riding mostly brings fun and reinforces the stuff that stirs regular riders to keep pedaling… (click here for the full article)

August 2009

Another Connection!

Orange St Lane

Cyclists traveling north over the Orange Street Bridge to Broadway found a nice surprise recently – bike lanes in that dangerous block where parking used to exist! Thanks to all who made this happen. Click Here for more Missoula Bike Lanes.

Curb Extensions (Bulbouts)

Corner Paxson School Northbound

Curb extensions that extended a foot or more into the bike lanes on South Higgins Avenue and elsewhere under a “Safe Routes to Schools” grant prompted an immediate outcry from BWAM members and others. Public Works Director Steve King responded by meeting with representatives of BWAM and MAST on the Higgins Avenue site and then working with the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Board to come up with a plan for re-striping the bike lanes. The BWAM Board agreed that the new striping, which results in unobstructed 5′ bike lanes and narrower motor vehicle travel lanes, will be a satisfactory remediation. We have registered our outrage that this occurred and have asked that steps be taken to ensure that nothing like this happens again. City Council member Jon Wilkins has responded to a constituent’s request to introduce a Resolution. It should be on the Public Works Committee Agenda soon.

New Parking on Spruce St.

Spruce Street now has 6′ bike lanes and back-in angle parking on the south side, where parallel parking existed previously. Back-in angle parking had been discussed in downtown planning meetings that included bicyclists, as well as downtown organizations, and the general feeling seemed to be that it was worth a try. The angle parking increases number of parking spaces in an area where Saturday morning markets sometimes make a parking place difficult to find. Not all Bike advocates like this change, but an informal poll of BWAM Board members indicated most felt the 6′ bike lanes gave cyclists enough room to avoid being hit by car doors opening into the lane on the north side, and all agree that back-in angle parking is safer for cyclists than the usual angle parking. All users will need to watch carefully as people learn the new maneuvers and where to watch for each other. Also, cyclists should avoid the temptation to ride two abreast in the larger bike lanes. Always keep a safe car door’s distance between yourself and the parked cars, whether here or on Higgins Avenue, or on quiet neighborhood streets without bike lanes.

We encourage cyclists to ride on Spruce Street and let us know what you think at *protected email*. Spruce Street will be discussed at the September 9 3P Team meeting, noon at the Public Library.

Complete Streets for Missoula!

Thanks to the excellent work of BWAM member and Franklin-to-the-Fort resident Jon Salmonson, Missoula now has a resolution calling for “complete streets” — in the future, the city will provide facilities for cyclists, pedestrians, motorists, transit, and the disabled on newly constructed and re-constructed streets. The city council approved the resolution by a 9-2-1 vote on August 24. Here’s a link to the resolution. Other folks worked on this measure, including the city’s Publlic Works Department, the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Board, and other bike/walk advocates. But Jon was easily the most tenacious supporter of this resolution, especially its provisions to get more sidewalks built around the city. Forward thinker that he is, Jon would still like to see timelines set to complete our sidewalk network. For a nice story about the resolution and Jon see the Independent.

June 2009

New Bike Lanes on Higgins!

It’s hard to believe but brand new bike lanes have just been laid down on North Higgins Avenue, thanks to the efforts of the Bike/Walk Alliance for Missoula and many others. The new lanes stretch from the Higgins Bridge to Broadway. Higgins_IMG_2919_sml.jpgEventually, the lanes will stretch to the XXXs near the old depot, though it remains to be seen if these are traditional painted lanes or separated “cycletracks.” The bottom line is that lanes are here on Missoula’s main street in downtown! There’s more information about the new lanes atNew West and Missoula Red Tape. Special thanks to the Montana Department of Transportation, including new district chief Doug Moeller, and the downtown business community for making this happen. Make sure you get out there and test them out!

More information about the new lanes in a Missoulian article.

42Ride Pedals Challenge to Benefit Alliance for Biking and Walking

Washington, DC – June 19, 2009 Forty-two bike enthusiasts taking off this month across the country, are pedaling a challenge to people along to way to support grassroots biking and walking advocacy. The 42Ride, sponsored by 42BELOW Vodka, wants tweeters to follow the ride on Twitter. If 100,000 sign up as followers on Twitter, 42BELOW will make a $42,000 donation to the Alliance for Biking & Walking, 42 cents per person. Learn more at www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org/42below

Tips For New Bike Commuters

Bill Schneider at New West has a good list of tips for people who want to learn how to commute by bike. He’s been riding for more than 30 years but recently asked other folks why they don’t ride. In response, he created the list at this link. With gas prices rising again, make sure to share this with your friends!

New bike lanes on Stephens

Good news on a busy road: the Montana Department of Transportattion (MDT) has repaved the section of Stephens between Brooks and Mount and added nice new 5 foot wide bike lanes! To do that, MDT narrowed the “travel lanes” from 13 feet wide to either 10 or 11 feet. The result is a nicer passage way for cyclists on this important north-south route. Thanks to Doug Moeller (the new MDT district director) and his crew for making these changes — and to BWAM members and Bob Giordano at MIST for requesting the lanes.Bike Lane Stephens southbound

Bike Lanes: Orange Street

As many of us know, Missoula has some bike lane issues. There are critical gaps in the system and at times maintenance could be better. There’s one gap BWAM and others are trying to close on Orange Street, between the bridge over the Clark Fork River and 6th Street (where bike lanes resume on Stephens). With prodding from BWAM and others, the City and MDT has painted a “fog line” 4 feet from the face of the curb on Orange Street. This has created a symbolic division for cyclists without providing any of the legal protections afforded by a designted bike lane. While this may be better than nothing, we continue to advocate for 5 foot bike lanes, especially when more permanent lanes are striped later this year. BWAM sent a letter to MDT.

At issue now is a very firm statement by MDT that the motor vehicle travel lanes will not be reduced below 10′. This will preclude the establishment of two 5′ bike lanes on this section of Orange St. Options that have been mentioned and are under examination:

  1. Leave the fog line markings and live with the current situation.
  2. Remove the fog line and paint “sharrows” on the road and add additional bike route signs to help educate all travelers that this is a shared road.
  3. Provide and mark one bike lane northbound, shifting lanes as necessary to provide 2 10′ northbound, 11′ center left turn lane, 10′ inner southbound, and 13′ outer southbound with “sharrows” and signs to indicated a shared lane.

We need to provide a united voice to the City and MDT regarding the best way to encourage safe cycling through this important corridor. Please share your thoughts by sending them to Bike/Walk Alliance for Missoulagro.a1409335459luoss1409335459imkla1409335459wekib1409335459@maet1409335459P31409335459

7th Annual Ride of Silence

UPDATE: Thanks to the 20 cyclists who attended the 2nd Missoula Ride of Silence. We consider the ride very successful with great cooperation from most of the motor vehicle drivers who passed us during the ride.  Most drivers allowed a significant safety space as they went by.

BWAM is organizing the Ride of Silence in Missoula for the second year. The Ride Of Silence is an International free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph and remain silent during the ride. There is no brochure, no sponsors and no registration fees. The ride, which is held during Bike Safety month, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for those who have been killed or injured.

The Missoula Ride of Silence will begin in Caras Park at 7:00 PM. Please arrive by 6:45 PM. The ride will last approximately 1 hour. For more details click to MIM Social Network Events.

Click for more information about the world wide Ride of Silence.

The Missoula Greater Downtown Master Plan is nearing completion.

Working together, Bike-Ped advocates achieved a small goal at the Missoula Redevelopment Agency board meeting on Wednesday, March 18! Representatives from BWAM, MIST, MAST, Bike-Ped Board and UM Transportation voiced their concerns about the Broadway Street language in the Greater Missoula Downtown Plan to the MRA board and were heard! After an extended discussion, the MRA board members passed a resolution to support the Downtown Plan with the exception that the Broadway Street language be changed from the specific 4-lane option to a continued public discussion provision. Thanks to the MRA board members for listening to our concerns and taking appropriate action. The public comment meeting previously scheduled for April 7 has been moved up to probably May. Keep informed on developments, and plan to come.

BWAM Member goes CarLESS!

March 2009

Lewis Kelley has committed to being without a car for the next year. Follow his blog to see how he navigates Missoula via biking, walking, and transit.

May 2009

7th Annual Ride of Silence

UPDATE: Thanks to the 20 cyclists who attended the 2nd Missoula Ride of Silence. We consider the ride very successful with great cooperation from most of the motor vehicle drivers who passed us during the ride.  Most drivers allowed a significant safety space as they went by.

BWAM is organizing the Ride of Silence in Missoula for the second year. The Ride Of Silence is an International free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph and remain silent during the ride. There is no brochure, no sponsors and no registration fees. The ride, which is held during Bike Safety month, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for those who have been killed or injured.

The Missoula Ride of Silence will begin in Caras Park at 7:00 PM. Please arrive by 6:45 PM. The ride will last approximately 1 hour. For more details click to MIM Social Network Events.

Click for more information about the world wide Ride of Silence.

Liquid Planet Supports BWAM during National Bike Month with “Velo Valencia” Special

 

For the second year Liquid Planet has agreed to donate $.50 from each sale of the Velo Valencia, a special white chocolate mocha with orange zest and a dash of cinnamon and sugar, to BWAM during the month of May. This special drink will be available at all Liquid Planet locations in Missoula for the month of May, which is National Bike Month. Please support Liquid Planet and BWAM by purchasing the Velo Valencia today! See Liquid Planet’s official Velo Valencia advertisement here.

Bill & Mary Muse Concert to Benefit Karen Kempel Jones Bike Trail

A concert to raise money to complete the portion of the City Bike Trail between Russell Street and Reserve Street will take place Saturday, May 9, 2009, at the University of Montana Recital Hall in the UM Music Building. Bill and Mary Muse, who toured as professional musicians for seven years before moving to Missoula in 2001, have agreed to a one-time-only Missoula concert to benefit the bike trail and to honor Karen Kempel Jones, for whom the trail is to be named. The Muses will be joined by Doug Wintch and Bill Ward in their first-ever reunion concert.

Bill Muse is a singer-songwriter whose music and lyrics make you recall a home you never had, smell a country breakfast, long for an old love or jump up to dance on the table. The Muses make Bill’s songs come alive with their ringing harmonies, Mary’s keyboard and Bill’s guitar. Ward and Wintch add color and depth with keyboard, guitar, harmonica, and harmony vocals. Call it Singer/Songwriter, Roots, Americana, Original, or Acoustic. Their style defies a single label. Whatever it is, it is real – and the obvious connection and love these four have for each other and the music they share intertwines for a sound that is sure to strike a chord in everyone.

This concert will help the Missoula Rotary Club raise a portion of the $60,000 needed to complete construction on a one-mile portion of the bike trail which runs through Missoula from east to west. The section chosen for this project will be dedicated as a tribute to Karen Kempel Jones, a long-time Missoula resident who died last spring. Karen touched the lives of many Missoulians through her work with local not-for-profit agencies, by mentoring and otherwise supporting young women, and in her work as a real estate agent.

Tickets for the concert go on sale April 1, at A Carousel for Missoula. Prices are $10 for balcony seating, $15 for general admission and $20 for reserved seating in the center floor area. For more information, contact Dolores Bandow at *protected email*.

The Missoula Greater Downtown Master Plan is nearing completion.

Working together, Bike-Ped advocates achieved a small goal at the Missoula Redevelopment Agency board meeting on Wednesday, March 18! Representatives from BWAM, MIST, MAST, Bike-Ped Board and UM Transportation voiced their concerns about the Broadway Street language in the Greater Missoula Downtown Plan to the MRA board and were heard! After an extended discussion, the MRA board members passed a resolution to support the Downtown Plan with the exception that the Broadway Street language be changed from the specific 4-lane option to a continued public discussion provision. Thanks to the MRA board members for listening to our concerns and taking appropriate action. The public comment meeting previously scheduled for April 7 has been moved up to probably May. Keep informed on developments, and plan to come.

BWAM Member goes CarLESS!

March 2009

Lewis Kelley has committed to being without a car for the next year. Follow his blog to see how he navigates Missoula via biking, walking, and transit.

Bike Lanes: Orange Street

As many of us know, Missoula has some bike lane issues. There are critical gaps in the system and at times maintenance could be better. There’s one gap BWAM is trying to close on Orange Street, between the bridge over the Clark Fork River and 6th Street (where bike lanes resume on Stephens). With prodding from BWAM and others, the city and Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) have painted a “fog line” 4 feet from the face of the curb on Orange Street. This has created a symbolic division for cyclists. While this is better than nothing, we continue to advocate for 5 foot bike lanes, especially when more permanent lanes are striped later this year. BWAM just sent a letter to MDT. You can add your voice to the chorus by contacting Doug Moeller, MDT district administrator. Let him know that bicyclists deserve safe bike lanes on Orange Street.

Bike Walk Bus Week

Missoula’s annual celebration of biking and walking is fast approaching April 25 thru May 2, 2009. Check out the BWAM organized events:

Sunday, 4/26 1:00pm -2:00pm – Safe Trail Biking for Kids. Leader: Ethel MacDonald

Monday, 4/27 12noon -1:00pm – BWAM Celebrates a safer West Broadway with a lunchtime bike ride. Leader: Jim Sayer

Tuesday, 4/28 5:30pm – 6:30 pm – Discovering best bike routes: The XXXs to the Missoula Community Food Co-op. Leader: Erin

Wednesday, 4/29 5:15pm -7:00pm – Discovering best bike routes: Jacobs Island to the west limits of the city. Leader: Ethel

Thursday, 4/30 4:30pm – 6:30pm – Discovering best bike routes: bridges and tunnels of Missoula demystified. Leader: Geraldine

See all of the details at the Bike Walk Bus Week web site.

Spring Cycling Party

Everyone is welcome to participate in the annual Spring Cycling Party at Missoula Bicycle Works 708 S. Higgins Ave on Thursday April 16 at 6:00pm.

The Missoula Greater Downtown Master Plan is nearing completion.

Working together, Bike-Ped advocates achieved a small goal at the Missoula Redevelopment Agency board meeting on Wednesday, March 18! Representatives from BWAM, MIST, MAST, Bike-Ped Board and UM Transportation voiced their concerns about the Broadway Street language in the Greater Missoula Downtown Plan to the MRA board and were heard! After an extended discussion, the MRA board members passed a resolution to support the Downtown Plan with the exception that the Broadway Street language be changed from the specific 4-lane option to a continued public discussion provision. Thanks to the MRA board members for listening to our concerns and taking appropriate action. The public comment meeting previously scheduled for April 7 has been moved up to probably May. Keep informed on developments, and plan to come.

BWAM Member goes CarLESS!

March 2009

Lewis Kelley has committed to being without a car for the next year. Follow his blog to see how he navigates Missoula via biking, walking, and transit.

Missoula Downtown Master Plan (cont.)

In addition to our concern over the 4-lane Broadway proposal, there is also a great deal of concern because late last year the planners had promised the bike/ped community a continued dialogue about potential Higgins and Broadway bike-lane vs. protected bikeway configurations that the plan would ultimately reflect. Unfortunately that promise has been ignored and the plan is being moved ahead with recommendations that may be a big step backward with protected bikeways as the recommended alternative. Click to see the plan. Help BWAM, MAST and MIST help Missoula and make your voice heard at the following public meetings, when the draft Greater Downtown Master Plan will be discussed and potentially recommended for approval:

Tuesday March 17, 3:00 p.m. Board Meeting of the Business Improvement District in the ALPS Board Room (Florence Bldg, upstairs, hard to find), 111 N Higgins.

Wednesday, March 18, 12:00 noon, Board Meeting of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency in the MRA conference room (next to Sean Kelley’s).

Most Important: Public Hearing at Planning Board: Tuesday. April 7th, 7:00pm RESCHEDULED: TO BE ANNOUNCED in City Council Chambers (next to Sean Kelley’s).

City Council- Watch for the final vote on the Greater Missoula Downtown Plan which will be held probably in late April or May.

If you cannot attend, but you want to send emails or notes to these entities, please let us know via e-mail gro.a1409335459luoss1409335459imkla1409335459wekib1409335459@maet1409335459P31409335459 and we’ll send you their contact information or we’ll read your letters aloud. But we really need your support by showing up in-person if at all possible.

Bike Lanes: Orange Street and Hearing March 4th, 2009

As many of us know, Missoula has some bike lane issues. There are critical gaps in the system and at times maintenance could be better. There’s one gap BWAM is trying to close on Orange Street, between the bridge over the Clark Fork River and 6th Street (where bike lanes resume on Stephens). With prodding from BWAM and others, the city and Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) have painted a “fog line” 4 feet from the face of the curb on Orange Street. This has created a symbolic division for cyclists. While this is better than nothing, we continue to advocate for 5 foot bike lanes, especially when more permanent lanes are striped later this year. BWAM just sent a letter to MDT. You can add your voice to the chorus by contacting Doug Moeller, MDT district administrator. Let him know that bicyclists deserve safe bike lanes on Orange Street.

Also, thanks to the persistent efforts of BWAM member Kevin Hyde, the Missoula City Council’s Public Safety Committee will hold a hearing on bike lane maintenance on Wednesday, March 4th at 9:00 am in city council chambers. More information is here. Please come and express your views on how the city and state can better maintain the city’s bike lanes, from snow and debris clearance to removing autos that park in bike lanes. You can ask Kevin about lane maintenance via e-mail.

BWAM Annual Members Meeting

About 50 BWAM members enjoyed chili and socializing in addition to an update on BWAM accomplishments at our second annual meeting, January 24, at the Missoula Downtown Dance Collective. Photos of the many 2008 BWAM activities were projected during the social time, and President Jim Sayer presented a summary of BWAM’s 2008 accomplishments. See a list of our accomplishments.

Awards of appreciation to volunteers were given to members who have given much time and effort towards BWAM objectives. Bob Wachtel, who has been invaluable as both treasurer and website manager, was given a special award of a set of panniers. John Wolverton, Jon Salmonson, Ryan Newhouse, Kevin Dohr, and Ethel MacDonald were also recognized with awards. Erin Kautz, who coordinated the awards, was lauded by members (and promised an REI gift) for organizing the PEDal Fest and also the annual dinner. Door prizes, with neat prizes donated by REI, were given to lucky members who had their names drawn during the evening.

Members were encouraged to consider applying for a seat on the BWAM Board of Directors, as vacancies exist. Please see the list of Board Member Duties if you are interested in participating on the BWAM Board of Directors.

BWAM Annual Members’ Meeting/Dinner Saturday, Jan 24, 2009

Come celebrate the new year with the 2nd Annual Members’ Meeting of the Bike Walk Alliance of Missoula (BWAM) and chili feed. This fun event will be a good time to reflect on last year’s accomplishments, elect new board members, and gear up for activities in 2009. 2009 is the year for change; come help us make positive changes for non-motorized transportation in Missoula.

Feel free to bring a friend!

Dinner from 5:30-6:30 - Business from 6:30-7:30.

Location: Downtown Dance Collective – 121 W. Main St, Missoula

Free Chili feed for members – meat and veggie options. Kids are welcome!

***** $5 FOR NON-MEMBERS *****

Door prizes will be awarded for randomly selected members in attendance. You must be a paid-up member and present at the time of the drawing to win. Not a member – join or renew your membership at the door for a chance to win.

Please RSVP by Thursday 1/15/09

E-mail: gro.a1409335459luoss1409335459imkla1409335459wekib1409335459@stne1409335459ve1409335459 with your name and the number attending

 

Missoula In Motion “Transportation Best Practices” Award Ceremony and Seminar, January 22nd

Please join Missoula In Motion (MIM) and keynote Speaker Todd Alexander Litman, Executive Director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, for the 10th Annual Transportation Best Practices Award (TBPA). The TBPA’s, held on January 22, 2009 at the University Center South Ballroom, are MIM’s way of formally rewarding and recognizing local organizations that have chosen to “See Commuting Differently”. In addition to the award luncheon, Missoula In Motion is pleased to offer two morning seminars. The seminars feature practical business applications for creating and implementing sustainable transportation programs.

Winners have implemented innovative sustainable commute programs and policies that save money, reduce emissions, ease traffic congestion, alleviate parking pressure and improve the health of employees – and are easily replicated in other Missoula workplaces.

Seminar and Ceremony Schedule

Session 1. 8:30am- 9:45am “Health and Transportation” A discussion of various ways that transportation policies affect public health and ways to incorporate these into transport and land use planning and business practices.

Session 2. 10:00am-11:00am “Sustainable Transportation Tax Benefits” Commute Benefits are like money in the bank. Employers save on payroll related taxes. Employees save on federal income taxes.

Award Luncheon. 11:30am – 1:00pm Announcement of this year’s winner! With keynote address: “Sustainable Transportation Concepts and Implementation Strategies” featuring Keynote Speaker Todd Alexander Litman, Executive Director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.

Please register for the seminars, each is a $12 investment or $20 for both, scholarships are available, the award luncheon is complimentary. RSVPs requested by 5 P.M. January 16, 2009. Phone: 406.258.4961 or Email: *protected email*

Missoula In Motion (MIM), a program of the Office of Planning and Grants, was founded in 1997. MIM strives to educate Missoulians on their transportation options for both their school and work commutes. Through various outreach projects and events, including the Way to Go! Club, MIM promotes the many sustainable transportation options offered in the Missoula community in an effort to reduce congestion, pollution and stress, while promoting both individual and community health.

Bike/Walk Friendly Downtown Plan?

BWAM and many others have been working for the last year on a master plan for downtown Missoula. On November 20, the planning consultants finished their final meetings, including with bike-ped advocates – and the final plan is looking very promising. The plan will call for a dramatic increase in biking and walking (as much as 20-30 percent of all trips!), with major investment in either bike lanes and/or separated (protected) bike lanes (also called cycle tracks). There is also planning for a possible two-lane Higgins Street Bridge, which would allow for wide walkways and comfortable bike lanes on this central span. The only cause for concern is the potential for down-sizing the Higgins sidewalks from 16 feet to 12 feet. BWAM has asked to keep adequately sized sidewalks for a good walking and shopping experience. There will be more intensive meetings to hammer out details of the plan in early 2009. If you’d like to help out, E-mail BWAM. Special thanks to downtown and redevelopment leaders Linda McCarthy, Rod Austin, and Ellen Buchanan for organizing the master plan process and reaching out to BWAM and other bike/walk advocates. Visit the Missoula Business Improvement District web site for regularly updated details on the plan.