Study to implement bus-only lane on Brooks Street wins federal grant

Jordan Hansen

Missoula has been awarded an $847,000 federal grant to complete a planning study on a center-running bus lane on Brooks Street through Midtown.

Brooks Street is one of the busiest roadways in Missoula and according to the grant application, it could reach capacity within 20 years. A bus lane, as well as bike lanes, could help solve this issue.

With the Bitterroot Valley population growing, in addition to urban growth west of Reserve Street, Brooks Street will likely only see additional traffic on an already snarled roadway. Roughly 9% of Missoula jobs are filled by Ravalli County residents, a recent city transportation plan stated.

“If nothing is done, the traffic modeling projects the street will fail,” Annette Marchesseault, a project manager and redevelopment specialist for the Missoula Redevelopment Agency, said on Thursday. “Traffic will get worse and worse and worse and the level of service from a traffic standpoint will fail.

“And, so, we’re looking ahead and saying, ‘What can we do to proactively anticipate that?'”

U.S. Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester announced the award in separate press releases earlier this week. Numerous politicians — including both Tester and Daines, as well as Missoula mayor John Engen — sent

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