Monday, August 31, 2009

Complete Streets Comes to Missoula

Within the last week Missoula Montana has joined the likes of San Diego, Salt Lake City, Miami, and New York by passing a resolution that calls for Complete Streets. The resolution passed the Missoula City Council on Aug. 24th a wide margin. The resolution has been pushed for by local resident John Salmonson and its thanks to his hard work and many others including BWAM that we have this change in policy. More can be viewed here and the actual resolution can be found here.

The new policy calls for any new construction or reconstructed streets to be designed with all users in mind to create a safe environment for pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, and transit. Missoula is already a fairly friendly place for pedestrians and cyclists, but that usually only extends to certain neighborhoods such as those around campus and closer to downtown. There are currently many sidewalks badly in need of repair and even many places where sidewalks just abruptly end.

The Complete Streets measure won't change anything overnight; there are millions of dollars of projects spread around Missoula that need to be taken care of. This will be a decades long process to "complete our streets" here in Missoula. But this is still a major step forward for the bicycle and pedestrian organizations within Missoula. The hard work that many of these groups and the individuals volunteering their time to advocate the city, county, and state for better infrastructure over the last decade is finally legitimized in this resolution. The potential is great as the design process is now officially sanctioned to have Complete Streets designed in rather than as something that local groups have to push and fight for.

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