A citizen's group is asking for Missoula residents to jump in with letters to help convince engineers to conduct a traffic study, which they hope will bring major safety improvements to Reserve Street.

The Reserve Street Public Working Group says the letters could be critical to convince the Montana Department of Transportation to help fund the report.

The group is hoping some of the tens of thousands of people who are becoming increasingly frustrated with the growing traffic volumes on Reserve will take the time to write.

"You know, those of us who use it casually for work, for business, for just everyday appointments, getting families around town, it is becoming more congested," says Kevin Davis of the Reserve Street Public Working Group. "But of greater concern to a lot of us is the traffic safety. Where that congestion or heavier use leads."

Study funding may be available

Davis says MDT recently told the Working Group study funding might be available from the "Safe Streets" program.

"Can Reserve Street eventually be a Safe Street? I don't know. And how many years would that take? But at least what we're being told by transportation officials, is for anything to be done. We first need a Traffic Safety study. So this is a step in the right direction."

Uncontrolled intersections are a major concern

Davis tells me it's not just congestion, but the growing number of accidents involving bikes and pedestrians, especially at uncontrolled intersections like American Way.

"Better controlled access needs to be considered. Perhaps additional right-hand turn lanes off of Reserve to kind of free up more traffic, but also keep in mind safety conditions there for bicyclists. If we can put a separate and protected bike lane on Russell Street, I believe we can do something similar for Reserve Street."

Letters are needed by the end of this month and can be sent to kevin@bigskycommerce.com which will be forwarded to MDT.

"We keep hearing about we avoid Reserve whenever possible. Let's figure out, well, what would it take to use it and use it in a way that you feel safe."

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