Citizen Initiated Transportation Engineering & Design

by jhwygirl

I think it’s a shame, but this is apparently what has to occur in Missoula order to get a voice heard in roadway design here in Missoula.

ASUM Transportation, Missoula Advocates for Sustainable Transportation (MAST), Missoula Institute for Sustainable Transportation (MIST), Bike Walk Alliance for Missoula (BWAM) and non-motorized transportation advocate John Wolverton – who has been very involved in all meetings concerning the Russell/3rd Street project – have joined together to form 3 PLUS for RUSSELL STREET.

In a piece blogged yesterday, announcing the EIS produced by MDOT HKM Engineering, Wolverton, in the comments, announced an upcoming meeting of 3 PLUS for RUSSELL STREET, to be held at the Rose Park neighborhood meeting on Wednesday Sept 17th at 7pm, St. Paul’s Church, 202 Brooks.

As a reminder, back in April, HKM Engineering, took a sudden “turn” away from the website-announced preferred alternatives which had included traffic calming items such as traffic circles, and shot for a 4 travel lanes + a center turn lane on Russell, along with double left turn lands on the corner of 3rd/Russell. In other words – a sea of asphalt.

HKM has had multiple public meetings where, by all accounts, traffic roundabouts and traffic calming landscaping had been ideas provided as input and had been well received. Apparently, though, there is a large disconnect between having the public meetings and using the public input.

They can hear what we’re saying, they’re just not listening.

3 PLUS for RUSSELL STREET has taken its designs to the street and to the public, and by all accounts has been well received. They’ve employed a method they call LIVE engineering: Listen, Investigate, Verify and Engage. They’ve set up at the Farmer’s Market, the Bitterroot Branch Trail and have even had volunteers taking it directly to neighborhoods.

The design:

The current HKM published preferred alternatives essentially cut a huge chuck of the city in half with a 4 lane highway.

Think North Reserve.

Seriously – they call that design? What public input gave HKM the idea that was what The Garden City was about?

3 PLUS for RUSSEL STREET’s concept:

The 3-PLUS for RUSSELL proposal will provide a transportation corridor which is safer and more convenient for all users, less costly than a 5-lane system, and which will blend with the diverse commercial and residential districts along the corridor, and will not destroy a single home or business. 3-PLUS for RUSSELL is neither a “no-build” proposal (leaving things as they are) nor a 5-lane alternative (similar to Reserve Street) as the City and the State of Montana are proposing. It is a carefully designed system that will make Russell Street one of the safest, most versatile, free-flowing and durable transportation corridors in Montana. Here is a brief description of the 3-PLUS proposal.

Why 3-PLUS?

We call this proposal 3-PLUS because much of the corridor would be converted to 3 auto travel lanes, combined with bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and green boulevards. In addition, several sections would employ four lanes to better serve commercial and redevelopment areas. One short segment would continue to have two auto travel lanes plus bike lanes and sidewalks (between 7th and 11th streets), as a way of calming traffic in the heart of the corridor and preserving the Rose Park and Franklin-to-the-Fort neighborhoods.

3 PLUS for RUSSELL STREET has a great informational sheet and even a petition, which I am too technically challenged to including them here (sorry)…but you can always email these guys – or, better yet, go check them out on Wednesday, September 17th at St. Paul’s Church at 202 Brooks – at

  1. goof houlihan

    Citizens in Bozeman had to do the same thing with the HKM/MDOT proposed alternatives for Rouse, the primary north south arterial and state highway on the east side of town. The preferred alternative was dreck. One alternative was a five lane highway that would’ve required tearing down the Bozeman Hotel. Why even put that out there?

    I reviewed the plan pictured above. I’d say that it’s unlikely the state will accept ten foot lanes, so add a foot to each driving lane and a foot to the turn lane, that’s three feet total or a seventy two foot ROW. I know dan burden wouldn’t approve, but drivers will. Also it makes corners easier to meet the semi truck standard.

    Curb and gutter is 1.5 feet, so it’s really a five and a half foot bike lane with curb and gutter. Gutters are notoriously hard on bike rims, those pesky storm drains eat rims. But a five foot bike lane is plenty.

    No on street parking is needed?

    Are Missoula sidewalks normally seven footers? Six foot accommodates those little sidewalk snow plows and isn’t a bad size when added to the boulevards.

    My changes still leave a seventy foot ROW.

    Might be a good idea to address lighting. The new ASHTO standard that MDOT’s in love with is excessive.

    Where are the bus stops? Normally, with on street parking, the bus stops are easy to do. How will they be done with this street section?

    Another point that the citizen group should discuss is limiting access. In other words, when there are new buildings built, they should move closer to the sidewalk and have parking in back of corner lots or have shared parking lots between mid block buildings. Limiting access helps move traffic without increasing speed or number of lanes.

  2. John Wolverton

    Not to be mis-characterized…I’d also advocate for motors and engines; the types in Locomotives, Busses and Rapid Transit systems. And…uhh..gotta admit, my Toyota 4 banger has 185k miles…keeps ticking.

    Thanks for the info on MDT/HKM’s dealings with Rouse.

    The state has re-striped S Orange Street in Missoula with 10 foot MV travel lanes in order to get a “fog line” / 4 foot shoulder space for bikes. It’s better, but still uncomfortable to bicycle on it.

    I believe our public works standard for sidewalks on arterials is 6 feet.. the 3 Plus citizens’ plan for even wider sidewalks was to provide an inviting space to be; especially along potential retail/commercial sites soon to develop in the river to 3rd Street section.

    One of the foundation principles of the citizens’ plan was to NOT knock down any homes or businesses. Thus, in the neighborhood section (around 9th Street), where the ROW necks to only about 42 feet, we propose: 6 foot sidewalks, 5 foot bike lanes and 10 foot MV lanes with no left turns.
    One of our questions to the community: how much affordable housing do we want to demolish, and for what gain?

    One of the frequent comments from local citizens that we’ve heard is to limit the size of trucks on this street; especially through the neighborhood section. US 93 is the right scale for semi-trucks.

    We’ve also heard lots of concerns about bike/ped cross-connectivity… how to get safely across the roadway if there is no convenient grade separated crossing. Many students from UM bike east/west across Russell Street.

    There is not much (if any?) existing on-street parking on Russell. Just some spots where folks park on the dusty (or muddy) pseudo-boulevards.

    Sheltered bus stops for Russell Street, yes of course! All the way up and down the corridor, not turning off at 5th as they do now. I’ve heard that the current state of Bus-Transit thinking is to not have pull-out pockets for busses, so they do not have to wait for traffic in order to re-enter. Keeps them on schedule. It requires a shift in mentality about who gets priority. It helps if boarding passengers would have “quick-scan” type passes.

    Yes, lighting is one of those things that goes under the radar. Stephens is horribly over-lit… it looks like a landing strip… Take an evening look from Waterworks or Jumbo.

  3. goof houlihan

    I wasn’t being critical, trying to mention some of the battles we have.

    It’s good to make a change to the road section when the land uses change radically. Great idea!

    I will be a little critical of the reply.

    As for stopping car and truck traffic for buses, I’m old school, a buss is a kiss, I’m also old school when it comes to moving traffic. The idea of redesign for me is to move the people who will use the road in the future safely, without increasing speed or the size of the roadway.

    Draconian measures that limit the ease of movement for cars will push them to other streets and have other unintended consequences. I would concentrate on making it work optimally for everyone within the boundaries of the ROW regardless of the current theories of mass transit. You hold up traffic for three minutes of boarding and you have a street that functions at a level of “f”. You would also be jamming up the bike lane and is that the “modern thinking in bike lanes?”

    Forty two feet is a pretty small target. It’s really two 4.5 foot bike lanes, the two 1.5 foot curb and gutter spaces, and two ten foot travel lanes. In answer to those losing front yard space, I would point out that most people have sidewalks and boulevards (which will have trees) in their front yards, so putting a sidewalk and a boulevard into a yard is something that, even when it takes front yards and makes them little more than sidewalks and boulevards, is justifiable.

    Boulevards, not curbwalks, are key for three reasons. First, they create a ten to twelve foot buffer between the motorized traffic and the pedestrian (bike, c&g and boulevard) especially important when there is no on street parking. Second, they allow street trees which beautify the roadway, soak up co2 and actually slow down drivers. Third, they are the place where plowed snow goes. (Yeah, sometimes those consultants forget that.)

    I wanted to ask, is Russell an urban route that is controlled by DOT? Is HKM doing the work for them? Is the money federal bucks coming through MDOT? That is the story on Rouse.

  1. 1 3 Plus for Russell - Petition and Upcoming Press Conference « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] 3 Plus for Russell blog a good place, but 4&20 has written on this issue several times – here, here, here and here No Comments Leave a Commenttrackback addressThere was an error with your […]

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