I was recently stopped on a Wednesday afternoon on Reserve Street, southbound at the Broadway overpass. I could see traffic stopped all the way down Reserve. It took me 20 minutes just to get to the exit ramp and avoid the traffic jam.
Since then I’ve met with several people in various city, county and state agencies that own, oversee or have some kind of connection with Reserve. At the current time, it takes about one hour to go from South Avenue to Interstate 90 or vice versa on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Highway 93 is responsible for a large portion of this traffic and alternate routes have been suggested such as extending Blue Mountain Road to meet 90, but public opinion has been strongly against this.
Russell is another choice to try to reduce the amount of traffic but Russell goes from the east side of Missoula to Reserve and is only two lanes, whereas most of the traffic on Reserve goes north and south.
Another choice, and much faster and less expensive, would be to relocate the bicycle lanes to side streets and remove the center islands. This would allow for six lanes between South and Highway 90.
Visitation to Missoula for various special events accounted for more than $300 million in 2014. There is a good chance that next year they may go somewhere else to avoid the stagnant traffic in our city, thereby reducing the $300 million or more they bring into our city.
We need to make some short-term changes now so that the long-range transportation plan can be better suited to make their 10-30 year plans.
Your comments and suggestions are very much encouraged. You can get additional information and leave comments/suggestions at email@example.com.