Missoula Wins $ 850,000 Grant to Study the Design of a High Speed Bus for the Brooks Corridor
Senator Steve Daines said Tuesday that the city of Missoula would receive $ 847,000 in federal funding to study the Brooks Street corridor and a proposal to convert it to a rapid bus system, along with other improvements for pedestrians.
Daines said the project would transform the busy, self-orienting hallway into a multi-model design suitable for a variety of uses. It would also support jobs and economic development, he said.
âI am happy to see the city of Missoula receiving these important resources to make Brooks Street businesses more accessible to Montanais and visitors,â said Daines. âThis grant will help support jobs, transit and the local economy in Montana.
The city set out in June to secure the grant to determine the feasibility and design of transforming Brooks Street into a transit-focused corridor.
The Missoula Redevelopment Agency agreed to make $ 50,000 available in return for the grant. Daines wrote a letter of support for the city and its efforts to secure the grant. In doing so, he noted that Brooks Street was developed in the mid-1900s as a commercial highway “with a sea of ââsurface parking”.
âToday, the character of the highway and the land uses remain largely unchanged,â Daines said. âIt’s dangerous for all users and acts as a separation barrier through downtown Midtown Missoula. This obstacle hinders economic opportunities for brownfield redevelopment and strategic urban planning.
The city’s consultants at HDR determined last year that while the Brooks Street corridor is capable of moving traffic, it will soon reach capacity. It already faces a number of challenges that hamper traffic, limit economic expansion, and hamper non-motorized transportation.
In seeking solutions, transport officials opted for a rapid transit bus system that would use a central lane. This would allow Mountain Line to run a 15-minute service without disrupting traffic into the heart of Midtown.
“This is fantastic news that will allow us to take the design of the Brooks Corridor Bus Rapid Transit from concept to funding,” city transportation planner Aaron Wilson said Tuesday. âGiven the large investment that the infrastructure bill makes in transit, there is a clear message that we can and will be very competitive for these funds. The Brooks Corridor is one of our most important transportation infrastructure, so it is exciting to see the support of the Federal Highway Administration to help make these improvements a reality.
Bus Rapid Transit’s proposal would include several transit stations placed along the corridor, as well as work to improve the safety and fluidity of various intersections. This would make it easier for pedestrians to cross the busy street and provide dedicated bike lanes, something missing in the Midtown neighborhood.
A conditions assessment prepared by HDR found that completion of the plan could bring new investment to the neighborhood, including housing, business expansion and attraction, and new developments.
Completing a feasibility study is the next step in the process and would bring the project closer to start-up. With the recently passed infrastructure bill, funds may be available to complete the work.
âUltimately this is a feasibility study to confirm with a high level of confidence that this is a concept that can work, and we can apply for capital funding,â said Annette Marchesseault from MRA earlier this year. âBrooks is the backbone of Midtown, and using the Bus Rapid Transit strategy is one way to then be a catalyst for transit-oriented development in Midtown. “
MRA to Seek Federal Funding to Advance the Brooks Rapid Transit Corridor Study