The Public Is Invited To Kiss Their Cars Goodbye

by Travis Mateer

Local policies can be confusing when you don’t understand what the goal is. Take the recent public invitation to comment on Missoula’s Higgins Corridor Plan. On the surface the idea of reducing lanes of traffic in a town that’s ZOOMING with growth seems insane, but maybe there’s a plan behind the plan the public should consider.

First, here’s what the public is being told via KPAX about the pretend choice being offered. From the link (emphasis mine):

The City of Missoula has been working with community partners for more than a year, thinking about how they can improve the traffic situation along Higgins Avenue.

The Higgins Corridor Plan — which was released last week — stretches from Brooks to Broadway. Higgins is four lanes and whenever someone wants to turn left, the cars behind them get stuck or cause an accident.

City officials hope that the plan — which calls for reducing the lanes to one each way, with a turning lane in the middle — will make everyone safer. A bonus of this is that they’ll have the room to add raised bike lanes on either side of the road.

Yes, after MORE than a year, and with the help of “community partners”, THIS is the big idea they are rolling out to the public. Will travel time increase because of this “improvement”? Here’s the hilarious answer (emphasis mine):

When MTN News first brought you this plan last week, we saw a lot of comments on our social media pages from people worried that this plan will exacerbate rush hour traffic jams.

Planners say the maximum delay from Brooks all the way to Broadway would be about 50 to 140 seconds longer. We talked with planner Aaron Wilson back in the Spring, who said this plan is the best way to encourage sustainable transportation and reduce accidents.

Are you satisfied, public? Or are you scratching your public head trying to figure out if this is serious or some kind of joke. Because I don’t think it’s a joke, I think it’s part of a plan behind the plan, which you can get a peek of in the jubilation expressed that 11 cities are joining the CAR-FREE REVOLUTION! You have to scroll through a bunch of European cities before seeing what’s going on in Tempe, Arizona:

If you want to live in a new development called Culdesac—built by a company that calls itself the world’s first post-car real estate developer—you’ll have to agree not to own a car. The new neighborhood, which is scheduled to open this fall, includes some basic amenities onsite, such as a grocery store, restaurants, and a gym. It’s also near a light rail station that takes commuters to downtown Tempe. The development doesn’t block off cars completely, and visitors have a place to park. But allowing for fewer cars means that neighborhood now has more room for green space, bike lanes, and even a dog park.

Does bad weather ever happen in these imaginary utopias? Of course not. That’s why they’re utopias. I do like the child staring at the kite, that’s a nice touch.

Now, to wrap this post up, I have a special song about bridges to share. I hope you enjoy it, and please consider making a donation at my about page if you appreciate this content.

Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Public Is Invited To Kiss Their Cars Goodbye

  1. Jeri Delys says:

    I’m on pins and needles waiting to read your take on the “free” federal building.

  2. webdoodle says:

    Sounds like the new owners of Southgate Mall (Washington Prime?) are pulling a page from Peter Lambros, and is trying to deflate Missoula’s downtown again. 16 years ago, the Lambros family stacked the Missoula City council with just enough votes to constrict vehicle access to Missoula’s downtown by introducing the Broadway road diet. It was followed by the systematic elimination of parking along Higgins, several unnecessary sidewalk projects (sidewalks that should have lasted 80 years, were replaced after less than 12), redoing the bike lanes, etc etc etc. The ongoing delays of Higgins Street bridge are likely part of it as well. All designed to make it so hard to get too and shop in Downtown Missoula, that people give up.

    This of course all preluded $5 million of free money Lambros got from Missoula City TIF funds to redesign the entrance to Southgate (right before the sale), which coincidentally was the profit margin Peter Lambros received for selling Southgate in the first place.

Leave a Reply