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Missoula's north side could look very different in the next couple of decades, with a neighborhood that hooks into an expanded Reserve Street corridor to help the city's westward push.

City staff, along with members of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency and WGM engineering presented the plan, that’s been in the works since 2014, to the Consolidated Planning Board Tuesday night.

The plan will serve as a guideline for future zoning, construction and development, MRA Assistant Director Chris Behan said.

“There’s so many things, opportunities and strengths, in this area,” he said, though right now it’s “virtually devoid” of basic infrastructure.

He said without sewer and water hookups and without a road system that can support truck traffic or bicycling (much less both on the same street), the area is “woefully inadequate” as of right now.

But it has the potential to connect Missoula’s north side neighborhood with the Reserve Street corridor and facilitate the city’s westward growth.

Jeremy Keene, with WGM engineers, showed several maps of the area, all designed to connect the expanded north side neighborhood, in the Scott Street area, through the “industrial core” to the Reserve Street district.

“It’s really a diverse area – a lot of different uses. Kind of a lack of planning, I guess,” Keene said.  

That lack of planning left the industrial core smack in the middle of the two districts, with very few roadways connecting them. WGM got creative, planning a network of roads, trails and open space to bridge the three distinct areas and make them more cohesive.

The plan proposes an exit off Interstate 90 at Coal Mine Road, as well as a couple of main arteries that skirt the residential zones in the Scott Street district, mostly for the industrial traffic.

The plan looked at putting single-family and apartment housing in the Scott Street district, with some mixed commercial and housing areas, and leaving the Reserve Street district with offices and retail space.

“This is a long-range vision plan,” Behan said. “There’s lots of pieces in this that make sense for the community.”

The Reserve-Scott Street Master Plan will be presented to City Council next month and can be viewed on the city’s website by searching “North Reserve Scott Street” and following the first link.

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