Connectivity everywhere, all the time, for everybody, in all seasons
Getting across Missoula as a pedestrian, cyclist, or wheelchair user shouldn't be difficult or dangerous. In our listening sessions with Missoula residents, we've heard familiar stories: slipping and falling on the ice when walking to work; a friend who stopped biking because of too many close calls; a neighbor who was struck by a car when crossing the street.
Gardenwalk Neighborways are a solution—designed by Missoulians, for all of us.
- A network of Gardenwalk Neighborways capitalizes on the existing infrastructure of residential streets, particularly those lacking sidewalks. Better than sidewalks, they create broad-based connectivity across the City with minimal investment.
- On these streets, inexpensive striping and solar-powered "barrel-planter-lights" designate a wide corridor along the curb for humans traveling on bikes, by foot, or in wheelchairs.
- The City plows and sweeps these corridors to bare pavement for year-round, ice-free access.
How it Works
- Curb painting/ striping and planters (with solar-powered streetlights) provide visible and physical barrier between car traffic and pedestrians, cyclists, or wheelchair users.
- Narrow, two-way vehicle lanes encourage slower driving speeds without speed limits.
- Parking is along the curb opposite the Gardenwalk; where streets are wide enough, a second lane of parking between the Gardenwalk and traffic could provide an additional safety buffer. Diagonal parking or one-way vehicle traffic are options where more parking is needed.
- The adjoining City right-of-way is permitted for pop-up gardens, cafés, art, etc. by residents.
- Strategic installation of traffic circles and closing cross-streets further improves the safety of the corridor for all and its utility for cross-City transportation.
Benefits for All Missoula Residents
- Improved equity in neighborhoods lacking sidewalks, lighting, trails, parks, healthy outcomes
- Reduced urban heat-island effect, air pollution, vehicle contribution to climate change, and family budgets for transportation with minimal investment from the City
- Safety for all human users, vibrant neighborhood life, and “15-minute neighborhoods”
- Increase opportunities for human connection, safe play spaces, exercise, and gardening
The Need—and Why Missoula Residents are Asking for This
- Safety: The number of American pedestrians struck and kill by cars has increased 64% since 2011. People walking in lower-income areas are disproportionately affected.
- Equity: A lack of sidewalks and poor or missing infrastructure for cyclists and wheelchair-users are major barriers to mobility. Missoula neighborhoods including Franklin-to-the-Fort, Northside, and River Road have more than 40% of their sidewalks missing!
- Health: Walking for at least 20 minutes a day reduces mortality risk by 10%, with health benefits outweighing risks of death and injury due to unsafe streets.
- Our Growth Policy: Missoula’s 2016 Long-Range Transportation Plan calls for a significant increase in walking commuters and decrease in single-occupancy vehicle commutes by 2045.
- Better for Business: The Top-5 walkable cities, just 1.2% of American metropolitan land area, generate almost 20% of the country’s GDP. Pedestrians and transit users visit retail more often than drivers, with higher cumulative monthly spending.