By RYAN NEWHOUSE
2010 was a busy year for the Missoula Public Works Department and Office of Planning and Grants: Transportation Planning Division. From new trails and an additional roundabout to the launch of a new streets festival and record ridership, Missoula saw lots of bikes, lots of bus riders and lots of footpaths in 2010. Here’s a rundown of the highlights:
North Higgins Streetscaping Improvements Project
Completed in September, downtown Missoula’s north end received a “facelift” that brought landscaped curb extensions, protected bike lanes and safer pedestrian crossings, as well as improved lighting, more convenient parking meters and new street trees.
Mullan Road Bicycle-Pedestrian Trail
Built with federal stimulus funds, the new Mullan Road bicycle-pedestrian trail runs from about Flynn Lane to Cody Lane. The trail will ultimately extend eastwardly to Reserve Street.
In the Rattlesnake’s Greenough Park, local residents and the City of Missoula improved non-motorized access along Greenough Drive and installed sidewalks from Madison Street to Waterworks Hill. Having biked up Greenough Hill before there were sidewalks, I’m especially grateful for this improvement!
Miller Creek Roundabout
The new roundabout at the Y intersection of Upper and Lower Miller Creek Roads added traffic capacity by doubling the northbound lanes and reduced the grade of the hill that begins at Upper Miller Creek Road, making it easier for drivers to slow down. Bike lanes were also added to the roadway on both sides of the street.
Sunday Streets Missoula
On September 12, Missoula’s first Sunday Streets Missoula celebration was held over several car-free blocks in the downtown district. Over 3,500 cyclists and pedestrians participated in the inaugural event that is expected to return in 2011 with two dates: June 5 and September 11. Volunteers and planners for the event are always welcome. See the website for more details.
Record Ridership on Mountain Line
December was a strong month for Mountain Line, Missoula’s public bus service. By facilitating 72,845 rides in the month, Mountain Line contributed to a healthier Missoula and set a new ridership record.
So what’s in store for Missoula in 2011? Expect to see changes at the Russell and 3rd Street, Reserve and Mullan and 5th/6th and Arthur intersections, traffic signal optimization, more LED lights and an extension of the Milwaukee Trail that will connect Russell and Reserve Street.
*Photo courtesy MissoulaInMotion.com
Ryan Newhouse has pedaled through thousands of miles of Missoula’s streets and trails as a commuter, long-distance cyclist, recreationist and former city bicycling ambassador. Although he now works from home, he still uses two feet or two wheels to push or pull himself and his daughter around town. Back to “Bike It” home page or check out Ryan’s own blog.