Envision Missoula: Long Range Transportation Planning Meetings Wednesday and Thursday

by jhwygirl

Boy I screwed this one up – I had scheduled this post to be done on the Thursday before the meetings, but I put it in March instead of February. So this is a late notice, and I apologize….

Envision Missoula will be holding meetings tomorrow and Thursday to bring Missoula its results of the long-range transportation workshops it held back in November.

Tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) meeting is from 6 p.m to 8 p.m., and Thursday’s is from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Both meetings are at the 3rd floor Ballroom South of the University Center at UM.

If you need more information, you can contact the Office of Planning & Grants Transportation planners at 258-4989.

Don’t miss these meetings folks – transportation is on the tops of everyone’s mind these days, it seems – Councilman Dick Haines seems to be all about transportation planning these days – I’m sure he’ll be very involved in these meetings, given the deep interest he’s shown at the last two week’s city council meetings. Mayor Engen spent a significant amount of time addressing and updating council and the public on transportation issues last night also.

For some good primer reading on Missoula’s transportation issues, I highly recommend Daniel Nairn’s Discovering Urbanism and Jordan Hess’s Discovering Transit in Missoula websites. The are both chock full with musings and theories on transportation issues, and must-read websites for anyone following civic matters in Missoula.

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  1. Thanks for the reminder. I’m planning for the Thursday session.

  2. Definitely be looking for your take on it, Daniel.

  3. goof houlihan

    Just don’t get started on the whole “morality of the automobile” thing, please. Next, the luddites will have medicine as a sin against God’s judgment. Isn’t it enough to hear how darwin led to hommasekshualitee?

    However, I think long range transportation planning is just the thing: complete streets, context sensitive design, pedestrian friendly intersections, etc. Add some reasonable incentives for neighborhood friendly density and you’ve got a good start. Recognize, though, that everyone isn’t going to live within walking distance of the University or the rail spur.

  4. One of the things the Mayor said on Monday night was that he felt that we all needed to look at things more comprehensively, and that council needed to look at the things it does (like subdivision approval) in a manner that ties it in with existing and planned transportation infrastructure. What I took from his comments is that sometimes, perhaps, the intangible of “transportation” wasn’t getting the due diligence in those elected official city actions as perhaps it should.

    Not everyone can or will walk everywhere – but in my neighborhood, you can’t walk anywhere without risking your life. No sidewalks – and people parking wherever in the hell they damned well please.

    So in addition to planning, you gotta have a little enforcement too. The “everything goes” mentality here in Missoula is maddening, IMO.

  5. goof houlihan

    Forget subdivisions. Design neighborhoods. I am convinced that the “streetcar street” type neighborhoods, that still have commercial along a short strip of collector/minor arterial, surrounded by residential neighborhood, is the way to go. NOT “neighborhood centers, per se, because commercial and residential faces challenges with commercial in the center of a bunch of residential streets. Better to allow the access by cars and buses to support the commercial, without clashing with the neighborhood streets.

    YOu see that in the neighborhoods built in the first third of the 20th century. In many cities, the neighborhood itself is identified by the street car commercial street, and they thrive. The parking is in the back or in between buildings. There’s the italian or greek restaurant/bar or deli on the corner, or maybe both, and retail, bank, other small business.

    I forgot schools in the “not everyone can walk to” paragraph. I don’t know what a study would say, but it seems that about 75% of the traffic at 8:30 is parents driving kids to school. Many school districts have moved from walkable boundaries and neighborhood schools.

    Also, the public school system has a “transportation levy” that is independent of their general levy. They should levy to provide safe routes to school for bicycling and walking students. Don’t accept the idea that “once they leave the school grounds they aren’t our problem” attitude WE get (here) from school administration.

  6. I forgot schools in the “not everyone can walk to” paragraph. I don’t know what a study would say, but it seems that about 75% of the traffic at 8:30 is parents driving kids to school. Many school districts have moved from walkable boundaries and neighborhood schools.

    I take my son to Hellgate, and it is a freakin’ gauntlet I run every morning. There is bike traffic, pedestrian traffic — not just Hellgate students, but a lot of UM students are also moving through there — buses, and student drivers. Throw in a lot of impatient parents doing stupid things in cars and it is really a nightmare. It’s a wonder they haven’t had any serious accidents out there in a while. I know that is one area that has been discussed for change, it sure needs it. We live probably a little too far for my kid to walk, but he could certainly bike; the way things are in the immediate environs of the school, and the obstacles between here and there, I don’t think I would want him to.

    I agree with Goof when it comes to making sure commercial is not in the center of residential. I think they need to be integrated, with the commercial on the outer edges so we don’t have delivery trucks and the like barreling through neighborhoods.

  7. I hear you, Chris, about the area around Hellgate. I often bike through there on my way to work. Even though I usually try to avoid Higgins and pass through to Gerald, if I hit it at the wrong time it can be pretty crazy.

    And Goof, your suggestion seems really sensible. There should be a way to maintain the walkability of a neighborhood, especially between the residential and commercial parts, without cutting off access to automobiles and buses. Relegating the traffic flow to one central strip makes the most sense to me. Maybe even using the word “neighborhood” rather than “subdivision” itself will go along way toward adjusting our thinking about what we are building. I’m not entirely sure how the council approval process works for this. Is there any way to assure that developers will, in fact, design these types of neighborhoods? Or just cross our fingers, try to make it legal, and hope the market is there for it …

    As far as the morality of driving goes, I do think it is an important topic for individuals to consider but it’s not really relevant to a city-wide transportation plan. As with all technology, motorized vehicles offer plenty of great opportunities as well as plenty of problems, and the moral task is to sort this out. Even medicine raises plenty of moral issues: drug abuse, antibiotic resistance, etc. I’m not giving up modern medicine, but I’m going to be careful how I use it.

  8. Thomas Wolff

    Hello my name is Thomas Wolff. I work for the planning division of the Montana Department of Transportation. I just started this position and basically it involves the counting of traffic through the placement of counting mechanisms. Its a good job. Anyway, I am interested in getting involved in some of the planning that occurs in Missoula. As a UM graduate I love Missoula and I too believe that solutions must exist for the problem of transportation in this town. I do not really know much about planning and all the procedures but I will attend this meeting on Thursday night. I could also bring some paperwork with fairly recent traffic counts around Missoula.

    Thanks!




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