[MissoulaGov] Committee update 4/4/07

srye at montana.com srye at montana.com
Thu Apr 5 13:02:59 MDT 2007


I didn’t attend Public Safety, but I caught the end of the meeting. They
had discussed the revised proposed Missoula Outdoor Lighting Ordinance
(revised ordinance) but still hadn’t got it the way they all wanted it, so
it sounds like they’ll try again next week.

Conservation Committee heard additional Park Dept. mid-year
info. (referral). Missoula has a wonderful system of bike/walk
trails which continues to grow. Brian Walter from Grant Creek
said those folks have acquired right-of-way for a trail up the
creek. A trail would be a considerable safety improvement. A
Grant Creek Trails Association has been created to help make
the trail a reality and incidentally to take donations.
Contact Brian Walter for info or to donate (FBWalter at aol.com).

At Plat, Annexation, and Zoning (revised memo) (memo) we went
through the Planning Board’s recommendation for the Old
Sawmill District (was the Champion Millsite project). Building
height was a main topic. The developer wanted taller
buildings; i.e. one just south of the ball park could be 100’
tall, others 78’ or 54’. OPG Staff had proposed buildings of
55’ and 45’ as being more in keeping with the southside
riverfront neighborhood plan. Planning Board went along with
allowing the taller buildings; more density (more people)
makes it more likely that the District will turn out as hoped,
with businesses on the ground floor, housing above, parking
tucked away below or contained in parking structures. PAZ
voted on height and chose the taller buildings.
The other item of great interest had to do with bicycle lanes
on Wyoming Street. The developers preferred not to have bike
lanes because the wider roadway reduces the “friction”
produced by a narrow road with cars parked on both sides.
They’d like traffic to move through at about 15 mph, which
would allow bicycles to blend with the cars. WGM cited New
Urbanist principles in slowing down traffic by making
different modes of traffic share the street. Missoula isn't
probably there yet, since we can't seem to complete the bike
lanes that were originally designed by WGM group except on the
very wide streets. Jon Wilkins suggested that the bikes were
being used to slow traffic, and that the bikes might become
speed bumps. It appears to me that Wyoming Street will have
bike lanes. Especially since we just ok'd a commuter bike
trail on Wyoming from Russell to Reserve.

In Administration & Finance we OK’d a $680,000 General Fund
Obligation Bond (memo) to have money to work on Fire Station
#4 (on Latimor Street). This work was outside the scope of the
recently approved Fire Station General Obligation Bonds.
Also, we heard a brief overview of the Capital Improvement
Program process. If my memory serves, we’re likely to spend
1.5 million dollars through our C.I.P. on primarily one-time
expenditures such as, for instance, a rubber-tired roller.
Budget time is back again.

Public Works re-appointed Theresa Cox and Carol Williams to
the Parking Commission board. Then we once again dealt with
sidewalks in the Hickory Street area. Once again we found that
sidewalks are expensive. Owners of property adjacent to
sidewalks and curbs are responsible for paying for them.
Public Works has tripled its outreach to affected parties,
notify them what the cost might be, then finally to tell them
what the cost is. The final cost was 5% less than the
projected cost. The committee voted: 3 said put in the
sidewalks, 2 said don’t do it, 3 abstained. That was enough to
recommend sidewalks. Sidewalks are expensive. So: there is no
pot of money anywhere to pay for sidewalks. Do we quit doing
sidewalks? Change the sidewalks? The council has voted in the
recent past not to ask developers to put in sidewalks, curbs
and gutters, stressing the need for an area plan for such
infrastructure. The city laid out that plan for the Hickory
St. area and it still had a hard time getting through

Thanks for your interest.
---ed, with improvements by Stacy
Ed Childers
echilders at ci.missoula.mt.us

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