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 the chance to see them.

KGVO spoke to City of Missoula Infrastructure and Mobility Planning Manager Aaron Wilson about the plans and how the public can see and comment on them.

“We are now releasing some draft concepts and alternatives for the Higgins corridor,” said Wilson. “The project we're working on is essentially from Brooks to Broadway. So it includes the Hip Strip and section of Higgins from the bridge to Broadway. So either side of the bridge, and we've been working for the last year or so on this project to develop an updated concept for what that street could look like so that it is safer; so that it better supports businesses and growth, and really becomes the full multimodal street that we've been envisioning in the downtown map the Master Plan and other efforts.”

Wilson first recommended the virtual Open House.

“We have the virtual Open House online, which has all of the details of the project,” he said. “It'll walk you through how we developed the different concepts. It will walk you through each of those different ideas and some of the trade offs involved with each. Obviously every decision means you're not doing something else if you're prioritizing one aspect. So, there's that way to get involved and we have some opportunities for people to select the alternatives that they like the most, what they don't like about them what they do like and really get that feedback that will help us make those decisions.”

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

“Safety is our always our most important factor when we're looking at streets and so we want to make the corridor safer for people driving, walking, biking or taking the bus,” he said. “There's a couple of ways we can do that. We can look at vehicular crashes and the kinds of things we're seeing. We know the quarter is really tight right now with the four lanes that are there, and the parking particularly the Hip Strip, and so we see a lot of crashes that are related to sideswipes or rear ends or things like that where you have that sort of really tight conflict with vehicles.”

Wilson provided a projected timeline to get the Higgins Avenue Corridor Plan completed.

“We're hoping to have this project wrapped up by the end of the summer so that we'll go through this public process, get the feedback, and identify the final design that we want to bring forward,” he said. “That will go to city council and to our transportation committees for final review and approval. Our hope is that we can get this built in the next three to five years.”

A virtual open house will be available from March 14 through 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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