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Missoula Streets and Trails

Higgins Avenue

Higgins Avenue has some great elements and some not so great elements....  

The section from Broadway to Railroad was completed in the fall of 2010.  This project converted the 4 lanes to 3 lanes, and added cycle tracks onto the street where no specific bike facilities existed before.  The pedestrian crossings have been greatly improved primarily by shortening the crossing distance from 60' to 33' and lowering speeds with 11' travel lanes and tighter turning radii.

The section from Broadway south to the bridge was restriped in 2009 to include bike lanes after a repaving project.  The four travel lanes were narrowed from 12' to 10' and the parking lane from 9' to 8', allowing 5' bike lanes to be inserted on both sides of the road.  This section is an improvement in our opinion yet would benefit from being converted to a 3-lane similar to N. Higgins.  A community discussion is needed regarding bike lanes or the separated cycle tracks for people riding bikes.  The current bike lanes are a 'dooring' hazard so something needs to be changed.

For the bridge we fully support the option from the Downtown Master Plan that would convert the Higgins Ave. Bridge from a 4-lane bridge with 5' bike lanes and 4' sidewalks to a 2-lane bridge with 7' bike lanes and 9' sidewalks.  It might look something like this:



Rendering of a 4-lane Higgins Ave. Bridge Converted to a 2-Lane Bridge with Widened Bike Lanes and Sidewalks

 Above; Rendering from the Downtown Master Plan.

For the Hip Strip section (bridge to Brooks) we support a 4 to 3-lane conversion.  This section has 'sharrows' bike symbols in the middle of the right hand lane, in an effort to better promote sharing the road.

Overall, we fully support the conversion of Higgins Avenue from a 4-lane to a 3-lane from Railroad St. to Brooks Ave.  This would allow good bike lanes or cycle tracks to be integrated into the street, pedestrian crossing to be shortened and made safer with less lanes to cross, improved design features for transit and an improved motor vehicle circulation pattern.

pdf of a presentation we gave to City Council on changing the Higgins Bridge

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