Archive for the ‘Advocacy Alert’ Category

MDT is taking comments on improvements for the Eastside Highway, MT 203, and needs your comments by October 25, 2014. Submit comments to www.mdt.mt.gov/mdt/comment_form.shtml or mail them to Shane Stack, Missoula District Preconstruction Engineer, MDT Missoula District Office, PO Box 7039, Missoula, Montana 59807-7039. Be sure to mention that your comments are regarding project: STPS 203-1(15)4

See the Project Overview and other documents at the MDT website. At present, the design includes 2 travel lanes with a middle turn lane. An additional aspect of the project is the re-curving of Ambrose and two Eastside Intersections. This 2015 project will connect with the recently completed new section from Florence to Hidden Valley Road which includes a separated bike pedestrian pathway. This latest project STPS 203-1(15)4 does not include continuing the separated pathway.

BWAM members need to advocate for a separated pathway for the following reasons:

  • Increased biking and walking through the corridor because of increased development of sub-divisions.
  • Increase biking and walking use by children and teenagers, as well as adults.
  • Used as an alternative route by bicycle tourists who would like to avoid US 93.
  • Sixty (60) mile an hour speeds throughout the corridor.
  • There have been crashes between cyclists and cars.

There is also a need to advocate for an animal crossing in the area around the old Knucklehead’s Bar B-Q. The gully already has access on one side but due to the lack of access on the other side there is a high fatality rate for deer in the area.

The final issue is a viewing site above the ponds at Lee Metcalf Game Refuge. Folks already pull off to the side of the road increasing the possibility of a crash.

Feel free to use the above points and add your personal experiences with this section of the Eastside Highway in comments you submit to MDT.

The Missoula bike lane infrastructure continues to improve but there are still significant gaps in the system. This summer, chip and seal maintenance will be performed on Bancroft Street from Brooks Street to SW Higgins Avenue. Bike lanes were installed on Bancroft St. from South Ave. to SW Higgins in 2011 but are missing from Brooks St. to South Ave leaving a significant gap.

On Wednesday, 6/4, Bob Wachtel, BWAM Treasurer and Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board Chair, presented a recommendation to the Missoula Public Works Committee requesting installation of bike lanes on the section of Bancroft from Brooks to South. A significant issue to be addressed to accomplish this installation will be the removal of parking on one side of Bancroft St. The discussion at Public Works Committee can be viewed on the City website beginning 13 minutes into the meeting. Follow these links to the full recommendation from BPAB and the Addendum to the recommendation.

We anticipate that this issue will come before at least one public forum due to the significant issue of removal of parking on one side of Bancroft. We encourage everyone interested in safe biking infrastructure to watch for further developments on this 7 block segment of Bancroft Street.

Ride of Silence LogoBWAM will be hosting the 8th Annual Missoula Ride of Silence on May 21, 2014 beginning at the Missoula County Courthouse on Broadway. Please plan to arrive by 6:00pm for the 7:00pm ride that will travel approximately 6.5 miles. See the worldwide Ride of Silence website for more information  about this 11th anniversary ride and background about this important worldwide event.

We ride in silence to commemorate those bicyclists killed or injured in a crash with a motor vehicle and to promote safe, legal, and courteous travel in the greater Missoula area.

Helmets will be required and while we invite riders of all levels, only bicycles and adult tricycles will be permitted and all riders must be comfortable riding for at least 1 hour at 12 miles per hour.

In addition to the Ride of Silence, BWAM will be organizing a simultaneous Walk of Silence. If you are not comfortable biking the 6.5 miles on busy streets, please consider joining others for a 1.6 mile walk to remember those pedestrians who have been killed or injured due to a motor vehicle crash.

Link to our Contact Form and select Ride of Silence to ask a question about how you can participate or help with the event.

Ride map. ROS Map 2014

Increase funding for bike & pedestrian infrastructure!

Last year, the League and Sierra Club released a report – “The New Majority: Pedaling Toward Equity” – that highlighted the prevailing disparities in safe biking and walking in low-income and communities of color nationwide.

Now, a bi-partisan bill in Congress, introduced by Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), would take steps to advance equity for bicyclists and pedestrians, and boost funding for bike/ped projects low-income communities.

Take action now – tell your member of Congress to support H.R. 3978! Read the rest of this entry »

A critical opportunity is fast approaching for community input to the design of the new Russell Street between Broadway Street and points south. The initial phase of work will be from Broadway to Idaho Street including a new bridge and trail connections across the Clark Fork River. Newly added to this project is some reconstruction of Broadway from California Street to Mullan Road to improve access for all modes of travel.

Planning to this point has been done by the Technical Design Committee  which is made up of representatives from Montana Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration, and the City of Missoula with WGM Group as the contracted design engineers. The City representatives are Bruce Bender and Jason Wiener.

Reports received from members of the public attending the meetings of the TDC indicate that, at this time, the design is adhering very closely to the “Preferred Alternative” as specified in the “Record of Decision“.

While there were public meetings held for input to the EIS the public was told repeatedly that there would be additional opportunity for meaningful input to the final design after the ROD was completed. There is now an informational Open House planned for November 20 to reveal to the public the 30% design stage of this critical project.

BWAM’s Board of Directors has written a letter to Governor Steve Bullock asking that he require the MDT to listen to the citizens of Missoula and responsibly evaluate and incorporate design features that Missoula considers important to maintaining a community atmosphere while providing appropriate transportation function for all modes of travel in this critical corridor for the next 50 years.  A crucial design change we want is narrower (10 ft) lanes to encourage lower speeds and provide safer pedestrian crossings, wide sidewalks and good bicycle lanes.

MDT Russell Street Design Open House

  • When: Wednesday, November 20, 6-8 pm,
  • Where: 1500 Burns Street. (Burns Street Commons).

Please put this on your calendars and bring your concerns!

This post is open to for comments from all interested individuals. Please log in and submit your comments.

“Be an Informed, Courteous Driver” is the title of Debra Sension-Hall’s educational and thought-provoking guest column in the Thursday, October 24 Missoulian, and we encourage all of you to read, share, and discuss it. She writes, “Not all cyclists desire more bike lanes and separate infrastructure.  I do not and I am not interested in ‘more rights,’ just he ones I already have — which some motorists are not aware of because they do not cycle.” While I agree with Debra about asserting our right to the road (and nearly everything else she says), I do want more bike lanes and infrastructure, not so much for myself as for the “timid” or “interested but unsure” potential cyclists and the unskilled or slow cyclists like my developmentally disabled adult son. The more people who cycle for transportation, the safer the streets are for all of us, and I think improved bike infrastructure is key to increasing our numbers.   However, as Debra skillfully points out, bike lanes can sometimes be a dangerous place to cycle due to proximity to parked cars or other factors,  and when a cyclist needs to take the traffic lane, motorists need to respect their right to do so instead of getting angry. The key to better motorist/cyclist interactions and understanding is, as Debra illustrates, being courteous and informed.   Be sure to read the full guest column, and join the discussion by clicking the “comment” button below.

After many significant discussions between many advocates and City and State staff personnel, Russell Street has been resurfaced between Ronan Street and South 4th Street West. With the new smoother surface in place Wayne Gravatt and the city painting crew were authorized to paint an outside line designating 11’ travel lanes. This allowed designation of the outside portion of the new pavement to be designated as bike lanes from Knowles Street to 4th Street.Russell St Repaved This provides a designated zone for cyclists and as witnessed recently a somewhat safer area that pedestrians may also take advantage of. My comfort level while riding Russell Street today was greatly increased over previous travels along this street. Notice the bend at 6th Street to accomodate the southbound left turn lane allignment. Russell St Repaved If  you ride this corridor, please let us know your thoughts about this significant change. Contact us using this link to send us an email with your thoughts. We need to let the City and MDT know that bicyclists appreciate their efforts to improve safety for all.