Missoula engineers hope they've come up with a way to keep hundreds of people safe while they're trying to cross one of the city's busiest streets.

And that could benefit kids in particular due to the project's location near several schools, and the Missoula Family YMCA.

If the plan comes together, it will help those crossing Russell Street, and improve non-motorized travel in the Midtown Missoula corridor.

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Time for changes

For many years the crossing in front of the "Y" has been pretty standard, with markings, and signing. But as Russell Street has gotten busier, the number of accidents, and "close calls" have increased.

So now, the City of Missoula is proposing to remove the existing sidewalk crossing and replace it with an entirely new system.

A completely new system

The new crossing would include "bulb outs", creating awareness and giving crossing users a space to start their crossing. There would also be ramps, curb cuts, and better sidewalks to improve accessibility for all users, with a center median curb, with signs and lighting that would activate when someone is attempting to cross the street. There would also be rectangular flashing beacons to alert drivers of someone waiting to cross Russell.

New connections

The plans include a new Mountain Line bus stop and connections with the Fairgrounds Trail system. It's also hoped the improvements would "calm traffic", by getting cars to slow with better awareness of people on foot, or two wheels.

Your chance to comment

The city is asking people to review the plans now and offer comments through May 31st. If things come together, the improved crossing will be constructed this summer.

Anyone with questions can reach City Engineer for Surface Transportation Kevin Slovarp at 406-552-6099.

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Gallery Credit: Stephanie Gull

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