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Missoula council adopts Long Range Transportation Plan with focus on 2050

After nearly two years of work and feedback, the City of Missoula on Monday night adopted its new long-range transportation plan, one that strives to address the city’s transportation future.

The plan recommends roughly 71 projects valued at around $208 million through 2050. Of that funding, around $112 million is earmarked for complete streets, $20 million for active transportation and $33 million for roadway extensions.

Another $18 million is reserved for bridges and $2.5 million for intersection improvements. The plan breaks the recommendations down into short, near and long-term.

“The plan contains a good bit of innovation and aspirational objectives about how we might get around our community in 30 years,” said council member Jordan Hess. “This is a good plan, and I’m happy to have it integrated with the rest of our planning documents.”

The city is required by the federal government to update its transportation plan every four years, and some aspects of the plan aren’t new.

Among the goals, the plan looks to reduce the share of single-occupancy vehicle trips by 34%, triple the current share of bike and walk trips, and quadruple the share of current transit trips.

“A good land-use plan is a good transportation plan, a good climate plan, a good equity plan and a good housing plan all rolled into one,” said Hess. “The way we build out our community and the way we develop our community has really meaningful impacts on our quality of life, the cost of housing, our climate and our carbon emissions.”

While most of the projects are slated for active transportation, meaning bike and pedestrian facilities, the most costly projects target roadway extensions. The plan notes the widening of Russell Street and a cost of $47 million.

New connectors identified with the Mullan project are also included, such as the completion of Mary Jane Boulevard, George Elmer Drive and England Boulevard. They carry a combined cost of around $30 million.

“It makes recommendations for projects and programs that will have long-lasting impacts in our community for future generations,” said council member Mirtha Becerra. “It enhances equity through investments across town. It promotes better connections between neighborhoods via a number of transportation modes.”