Plans have been prepared for the Higgins Avenue Corridor Plan by the City of Missoula and the Missoula Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the public now has a chance to view them.

KGVO spoke with City of Missoula Infrastructure and Mobility Planning Officer Aaron Wilson about the plans and how the public can view and comment on them.

“We are now releasing draft concepts and alternatives for the Higgins Corridor,” Wilson said. “The project we’re working on basically goes from Brooks to Broadway. It therefore includes the Hip Strip and the Higgins section of the bridge at Broadway. So either side of the bridge, and we’ve been working for about a year on this project to develop an updated concept of what this street might look like so it’s safer; so that it better supports business and growth, and truly becomes the complete multi-modal street that we envisioned in the downtown map, master plan, and other efforts.

Wilson first recommended the virtual open house.

“We have the virtual open house online, which has all the details of the project,” he said. “He will explain to you how we developed the different concepts. It will walk you through each of these different ideas and some of the trade-offs involved in each. Obviously, every decision means you don’t do anything else if you prioritize one aspect. So there’s this way to get involved and we have opportunities for people to select the alternatives that they like the most, what they don’t like about them, what they like and really get those feedback that will help us make those decisions. ”

Wilson said that like all traffic and street plans, safety is key.

“Safety is always our most important factor when looking at the streets and so we want to make the hallway safer for people driving, walking, cycling or taking the bus,” he said. “We can do this in several ways. We can look at traffic accidents and the kinds of things that we see. We know the neighborhood is really tight right now with the four lanes that’s there, and the parking lot especially the Hip Strip, and so we see a lot of crashes related to side hits or rear ends or things like that where you have that kind of a very tight conflict with the vehicles.

Wilson provided a tentative timeline for the completion of the Higgins Avenue Corridor Plan.

“We hope to complete this project by the end of the summer to go through this public process, get feedback and identify the final design we want to come up with,” he said. “This will go to City Council and our transportation committees for final review and approval. Our hope is that we can build this in the next three to five years.

A virtual open house will be available from March 14 to April 3. Two live virtual meetings will take place on March 31 at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Registration is required for these meetings. To register click here.

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