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A crucial element of the future of Missoula, Montana

December 10, 2013View for printing

In order to improve safety on the new Russell Street, please consider modifying the MDT design to include 10 foot motorized travel lanes, parking on both sides of the street, buffered bike lanes between the parking lane and the curb, placement of sidewalk bulb outs at the intersections that extend to the point where the parking lane and outside motorized travel lane meet, and removal of the grass boulevards increasing the walkable sidewalk width. All of these design elements would fit within the current MDT design for Russell Street. The safety elements of such a design are:

-A reduction of 20 feet in crossing distance for pedestrians from the MDT design of 70 feet (two 11 foot lanes, three twelve foot lanes and two 6 foot bike lanes) to 50 feet (five 10 foot motorized travel lanes).

-A reduction in motorized travel lane width lowers the design speed of the street causing slower, safer traffic.

-Parking next to the outside motorized travel lanes increases "side friction" causing motorized travelers to move at a slower speed close to the design speed.

-Parking acts as a buffer between the motorized travelers and bicyclists and pedestrians, reducing the likelihood of crashes effecting the bicyclists and pedestrians.

-Removal of the grass boulevard provides greater walking surface for pedestrians reducing the likelihood of pedestrian/bicyclist conflict.

-Sidewalk bulb outs at the intersection provide pedestrians with a safe refuge while waiting to cross the street.

-Here is a typical cross-section incorporating these elements.

Missoula has had good experience with these design elements. Our transportation subdivision regulations require 10 foot travel lanes on arterials constructed as part of a subdivision. Sections of arterials throughout Missoula such as Orange Street, Arthur Avenue and South Higgins Avenue have 10 foot lanes. Our newly constructed North Higgins Avenue and Wyoming Street projects have 10 foot lanes. The North Higgins project has bicycle lanes buffered by parking (cycle tracks). Sidewalk bulbous are prevalent throughout Missoula

Thank you so much for the opportunity to comment on the design of a much anticipated new Russell Street. Please note that my ward is contiguous with Russell Street to the east.

Alex Taft

Councillor, Ward 3

City of Missoula

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