[MissoulaGov] More info: 10' lanes, Russell Street

Jason Wiener JWiener at ci.missoula.mt.us
Mon Feb 3 08:49:58 CST 2014

Good morning.

The result of the Decision Team meeting is that the inside lanes will be 11 feet wide with six-inch (rather than the usual 4-inch) striping. The wider striping may have a calming effect.

The mayor did a good job making the practical and principled case for the narrower lane but the Federal Highways representative said that he would require re-opening the EIS if 10-foot lanes went down, which is not acceptable.

That's as much as I know. I tried to watch the whole meeting but I had an appointment I had to go to for my other work.

Also, Jim, is correct that the pedestrian access under both ends of the bridge is in the plan as it has been from the beginning. The only question was about allowing vehicles to connect and, in addition to the substantial cost to raise the grade of the road and the height of the bridge, the changes in the design would have made the Russell Street bridge steeper than the Madison Street bridge, which is not a desirable design.


Jason Wiener, Alderman, Ward One
1122 Jackson St.
Missoula, MT 59802
(406) 542-3232[X]
From: MissoulaGov [missoulagov-bounces at cmslists.com] on behalf of ethelmacd . [ethelmacd at gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, January 31, 2014 9:06 PM
To: Bob Giordano
Cc: missoulagov at cmslists.com
Subject: Re: [MissoulaGov] More info: 10' lanes, Russell Street

Jason -- any word on the decision - 10 or 11' inside lanes?

On Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM, Bob Giordano <mist at strans.org<mailto:mist at strans.org>> wrote:
Following up on Jim and Jason's comments:

The proposed cross section design for Russell:


Whatever lane widths are decided for Russell St today, there is 2' of 'shy
distance' proposed to be between the raised bike lane and outside travel
lane, and 1' of shy distance between the inside lane and the median curb.
That shy distance will be plenty of space (and maybe too much) for the
rare time that two extra wide vehicles with extra wide mirrors are next to
each other.  Consider:

A Mnt Line bus is the legal limit of 8'6" wide.  Yet the mirrors are about
10", so the total width with mirrors is 10'2".  The driver side mirror is
down lower, while the passenger side mirror is up higher (usually).  Semi
trucks are similar, with a little less width.

While there _could_ be the perfect storm of two big vehicles both with the
widest mirrors, both with those wide mirrors at the same height on both
sides of the vehicle, going side by side down the road, and thus having
their mirrors tough each other, in practice I have not heard of this
happening.  Drivers tend to slow down when things are 'tight', and seem to
work it out.

The trade off with wider lanes is that it is well documented that speeds
(usually) go up, which tends to be bad for safety. Also, the wider the
lanes, the longer the pedestrian crossing distance, which hurts
livability.  Costs go up too with maintaining wider lanes too.

Many transportation advocates feel strongly that 10' lanes should be used
on Russell, esp. considering the extra width due to the inclusion of shy
distances.  (Without any shy distances, 11' might be more appropriate.)

Note: 10' lanes do not work well when they are coupled with below minimum
widths for other road features.  For instance, S.5th- between Higgins and
Orange- has 10' lanes next to below minimum bike lanes and parking lanes.
This has created a door zone hazard for people on bikes- cyclists can get
squeezed between parked cars on their right and the travel lane on their
left.  Also, people getting out of their cars in this stretch feel unsafe
and there have been many sideswipe crashes.  These safety issues are not a
result of the 10' lanes though, but of the below minimum widths for the
bike lanes and parking lanes.  (The Riverfront Neighborhood and MIST are
working on proposals to improve S. 5th and S. 6th).

Back to Russell:
While the design that is being finalized right now is only for the
Broadway to Idaho section of Russell, including the new bridge, this
design sets the 'tone' for the future phases of Idaho to 3rd and 3rd to

The EIS for Russell originally called for several 12' lanes.  12' is the
width of Interstate lanes, designed for 75MPH traffic (again, the wider
the lane the faster people tend to feel comfortably driving).  While the
State recently placed Russell St. on the National Highway System, in
actuality Russell Street functions more like a neighborhood road, serving
to connect people in the heart of Missoula.

-Bob Giordano,
Missoula Institute for Sustainable Transportation

Bob Giordano wrote:
Dear Friend of Sustainable Transportation,
The time to act is _now_ to make the upcoming Russell St. Project better
for all people.  While great strides have been made- the bike lane will be
raised, there will be trail connections, sidewalks and better bus
service, one issue that will be voted on Thursday, Jan. 30th at 1pm is the
widths of the travel lanes.  The current proposal is for all lanes to be
11' wide.  The trouble is that Missoula policy is for 10' lanes, which
helps calm traffic.  You can make a difference by emailing the 3 people
making the decision: the Mayor, the MDT director, and the Federal Highways
representative.  Please consider making a comment, along the lines of:

To the Mayor of Missoula, the MDT Director and the Federal Highways
representative, I support travel lane widths for Russell St that promote
safe and calm urban traffic.  I support the proposal from the Mountain
Line Bus System and other transportation groups in Missoula that are
calling for a 10' inside lane and an 11' outside lane for Russell St. 10'
lanes have proved very successful all over the country and in Missoula.

Please change the current proposed width of 11' for the inside lane to
10'.  Please follow Missoula policy for 10' lanes.

> mitooley at mt.gov<mailto:mitooley at mt.gov>
> Kevin.McLaury at dot.gov<mailto:Kevin.McLaury at dot.gov>
> jengen at ci.missoula.mt.us<mailto:jengen at ci.missoula.mt.us>

Jim Sayer wrote:
> I sure hope the Mayor holds it to 10 foot lanes for Russell -- it's city
policy to have 10 foot lanes on arterials, it's the norm on most of our
existing arterials (except Reserve) and they are much safer for all
> It will also help make it easier to cross for pedestrians, especially
those who take a while to make it across a wide road.
> Here's a useful reminder that narrower roads/lanes are also good for
> drivers:
> "A new urbanist, Peter Swift, first shined a spotlight on how
> suburban-style roads contribute to injury and death. His 1997 study of
Longmont, Colorado, (which for years was published only in our
> publication while it was going through peer review), shows a 485 percent
increase in injury accidents when a street increases in width from 24 to
36 feet, regardless of vehicle volume. (link here, and here). In the
> 17 years, the US has made only minimal progress in allowing narrower
travel lanes."
> http://bettercities.net/news-opinion/blogs/robert-steuteville/20924/health-and-smart-growth-safety-tops-obesity
On Wednesday, January 29, 2014 8:50 PM, Jason Wiener
> <JWiener at ci.missoula.mt.us<mailto:JWiener at ci.missoula.mt.us>> wrote:
> Oops.
> The link to the discussion on Russell is best accessed by clicking here
> http://missoula.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=804&doctype=AGENDA --
and then scrolling down to item D on the agenda, which will jump you to
when the Russell Street item starts about 31 minutes in.
> J.
> *********
> Jason Wiener, Alderman, Ward One
> 1122 Jackson St.
> Missoula, MT 59802
> (406) 542-3232<tel:%28406%29%20542-3232>
> ________________________________
> From: MissoulaGov [missoulagov-bounces at cmslists.com<mailto:missoulagov-bounces at cmslists.com>] on behalf of Jason
Wiener [JWiener at ci.missoula.mt.us<mailto:JWiener at ci.missoula.mt.us>]
> Sent: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 6:43 PM
> To: missoulagov at cmslists.com<mailto:missoulagov at cmslists.com>
> Subject: [MissoulaGov] 1-29-14
> (snip)
> I also updated the committee on the latest Technical Design Committee
meeting for Russell Street. The city, state and feds largely achieved
consenus on the design. The illustration is posted here:
> http://missoula.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/view.aspx?cabinet=published_meetings&fileid=113219 The
remaining issue is whether the inside lane will be 10 feet or 11 feet
> consequently, whether there will be 11 or 12 feet for sidewalks; that
decision will be made tomorrow by the mayor, director of MDT and the
division administrator for federal highways. There are lots of good
features to the design, including a separated bikeway and boulevard that
with enough space for maintenance and planting. There is a fair amount
> detail among the items we discussed and you can hear me run through the
agenda and describe all the conclusions at
> http://missoula.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/agdocs.aspx?doctype=agenda&itemid=16429 but
I feel much better about the design
>  we have at the end of the public process than I did with what we
> with. I wish we had reached consensus on everything but appreciate how
hard everyone involved has worked to come up with good design ideas.
> *********
> Jason Wiener, Alderman, Ward One
> 1122 Jackson St.
> Missoula, MT 59802
> (406) 542-3232<tel:%28406%29%20542-3232>

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