MISSOULA, Mont. — Normally the Brooks Street corridor that runs through Missoula is busy with traffic, but due to COVID-19 there haven’t been as many cars on the road.
That won’t be the case forever though.
After a study in 2016, the Missoula Redevelopment Agency discovered the area would soon need to be redesigned.
“We need to do something out here in midtown but it didn’t have a lot of specifics, just a vision,” MRA project manager and development coordinator Annette Marchesseault said.
Now, after their most recent study, they've come up with a transit oriented development. From increasing pedestrian use, lack of accommodations and high traffic, officials say the corridor needs a redesign.
The study started in 2017 and cost $165,000, funded by several community organizations.
“What came out of this infrastructure study was a vision for a center running bus lane, that there would be a bus that would run in 15-minute intervals in the center of the street,” said Marchesseault.
One area they know they need to improve on is getting pedestrians from point A to point B.
“Pedestrians, to be able to get from one side of the street to the other, and right now that is that’s really a really difficult thing to do on the Brooks corridor,” said Marchesseault.
Officials say there are still some unanswered questions, including what the Montana Department of Transportation thinks of it and how much public right-of-way the project may require.
“This seems like a really great idea. It solves a lot of problems and issues that need to be addressed on the Brooks corridor, but there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered,” said Marchesseault.
For now, they are a long way from construction.
The next step is to conduct a feasibility study, which will carry a $30,000 retainer fee.