Have a seat 

Did the city accomplish much with its downtown bans?

Downtown business owners have complained for years that an array of bad behavior like public urination, sleeping on sidewalks and aggressive panhandling spooked away customers and scared employees. After months of contentious debate about how to address the problem, the Missoula City Council on March 3 banned sleeping or lying on sidewalks between 6 a.m and 11 p.m. The council also prohibited sitting within 10 feet of a business entrance and expanded an existing no-solicitation buffer zone around business entrances from 6 feet to 10 feet.

After all of that wrangling, what do these bans actually accomplish?

We surveyed the main Higgins Avenue corridor to identify spots where it remains legal to sit and solicit. These "green zones" marked on the map aren't exact measurements—we found additional wiggle room at the edge of the city's 16-foot-wide sidewalks, for instance, and other small pockets between businesses—but they provide a guide for how much you can still do downtown. We also checked in with more than a dozen businesses, including those most critical that the city didn't do enough, to see what they think about these changes. Overall, this graphic illustrates a situation that remains far from settled.

click to enlarge MAP BY JONATHAN MARQUIS
  • map by Jonathan Marquis

Tags:

  • Email
  • Print

Readers also liked…

  • Waiting for the day
    that never comes

    Montana's landless Little Shell tribe has pursued federal recognition for decades. Could a new rule finally bring them closure?
    • Apr 14, 2016
  • Personalized care

    UM researcher brings pharmacogenetics to reservation
    • Apr 23, 2015

More by Jessica Mayrer

  • Where to now?

    A prolonged fight over the Montana Developmental Center's future finally ended with the legislature voting to shut down the facility. The real challenge comes next, as dozens of at-risk patients seek new homes.
    • Sep 10, 2015
  • Kind of a big deal

    Behind-the-scenes moves give Riverfront Triangle new life
    • Jun 11, 2015
  • Hospital sale

    Win for low-income locals
    • Mar 26, 2015
  • More »

© 2016 Missoula News/Independent Publishing | Powered by Foundation