Missoula has started the long and arduous bureaucratic process of updating one of its many long term plans. And this time its an update to the non-motorized transportation plan and recently Missoula's Office of Planning and Grants (OPG) held a community workshop to get input from Missoula citizens. And the general message from the good people of Missoula was for the city to finish the trail/sidewalk/bike lane system.
Missoula's planning apparatus (and I use that term half jokingly because we are a small community that gets a lot of planning done on limited resources) has in recent years really integrated collaborative planning into the process and this time is no different. Collaborative planning aims to be as open and inclusive of different interests and community groups as possible to allow a wide variety of input to be included in the planning process.
And from the parts of the process I have been involved in... there is a lot of input coming in. Transportation is one of those topics in Missoula that really brings out a lot of people and groups. The advisory committee alone has close to thirty people (from various city/county departments, nonprofits, community groups, and business organizations) in attendance guiding the process.
The community workshop was pretty interesting to watch play out. The night it was held was cold and snowy, yet about 2/3 of people biked and most of the rest walked. With perhaps upwards of 60 or 70 people in attendance, everyone worked through a series of group oriented activities. Of course everyone's favorite involved drawing on a map of Missoula.
And once the individual groups had finished their discussion and mapping each shared their results with the entire workshop.
Out of this event came a lot different input but the general themes included:
- improved connectivity
- finish the trail/sidewalk/bike lane network
- reduce posted speed limits, at most 35 mph
- improve street lighting
- implement our complete streets policy
- focus transportation more on safety than traffic flow
38 minutes ago