It’s one step forward and two steps back for the sticky-wicket intersection at Broadway, California and Toole streets. Earlier this year, City Council halted the Broadway Reconfiguration plan, designed to address pedestrian safety, and Mayor Mike Kadas subsequently vetoed the halt. Then Council asked that the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) take just one more look at whether it could approve a traffic signal for that location. MDT engineers have looked at this intersection repeatedly over the past few years and each time have determined that it doesn’t warrant a signal. Just in from the MDT’s state traffic engineer, Danielle Bolan: The intersection is still not eligible for a traffic signal. “Right now, MDT feels that we have the best design to accommodate pedestrians and to not impact traffic,” says Dwane Kailey, acting district administrator for the MDT.
Kailey is talking about the Broadway Reconfiguration plan.
The Council’s attempt to stop the plan’s implementation indicates that the political will to change Broadway is lacking. Money is short, too.
The city needs roughly another $60,000 to complete the reconfiguration, says City Engineer Steve King. Now, he says, Public Works will “aggressively” pursue grant money available from MDT to make up the difference.
Because downtown businesses have consistently opposed the project, fearing increased traffic and fewer customers, Council considered giving the reconfiguration a temporary trial that would not include raised medians or streetlights.
Missoula Institute of Sustainable Transportation’s Bob Giordano, though, hopes the project can be fully implemented. Without the landscaping and safety features for pedestrians, he doubts a trial will be effective.
King, too, is unconvinced the project can be implemented in piece-meal fashion.
“You just can’t do it with barrels and cones and call it good,” he says.