For nearly six months the Missoula Redevelopment Agency (MRA) and its hired consulting team have been working with locals to develop a “community vision” for the West Broadway corridor. Now the West Broadway charrette—a nine-month planning process that began in October—heads into its final stages this week with the unveiling of a draft vision document.
Although planners were still refining the details of the 131-page document at press time, the Independent got a sneak peek at the plan.
According to data collected by the consulting firm, West Broadway is currently considered too wide, crossings are dangerous (five pedestrians have been killed on the roadway since 1998), and amenities are limited. Overall, the corridor is underdeveloped and looks “tired.”
One of the plan’s goals is to liven up the roadway by creating distinct “bookends.” Specifically, the western end of the area between Mullan Road and Russell Street “will become a more formalized, even celebratory, gateway into Missoula.” The eastern end between Orange and Scott streets will “become an extension of downtown Missoula.”
The plan also envisions a “neighborhood commercial village” between Scott and Russell streets comprising a mix of service- and entertainment-related businesses and mixed-use residential buildings.
But remaining true to the Garden City’s green image, the “crown jewel” of the community’s vision for the West Broadway corridor will be the development of a riverfront greenway linking to the riverfront trail loop and providing alternative transportation connections to downtown.
The plan lays out a grand and sweeping vision for the corridor, but its implementation is another issue. According to the draft plan, the city of Missoula will need to be a key partner, but “MRA will be the primary implementing agency” and private development is crucial to seeing it through over the next 20 years.
Missoulians are invited to examine the Draft Vision Plan for the West Broadway corridor Thursday, April 12, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the St. Patrick Hospital conference center at 500 West Broadway.