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UM, city work together on parking, traffic plans for new Missoula College

By Emily Adamson, KECI Reporter, eadamson@keci.com
Published On: Feb 08 2014 03:24:40 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

A draft environmental assessment gives the public a better idea of what the new Missoula College could look like.

The University of Montana announced plans to build the new campus on East Broadway last October.

Now, close a close to 200 page assessment digs into what impact a college campus will have on East Broadway.

It's more than a University of Montana project though it's one that involves the City of Missoula.

“We can make this project really beneficial for the larger community and not just the university,” said UM Vice President of Administration and Finance.

That's why Missoula Mayor John Engen is part of the process.

“This is a unique project. Most campus development happens on the traditional campus,” Engen said.

A big portion of the report UM released Thursday, deals with parking and traffic. Both have been concerns from the very beginning.

“That's certainly been a topic that a lot of people have questioned and been curious about,” Reid said.

The original plan called for 730 parking spaces, but with the initial assessment complete that number's been bumped up to 800. Many of those spots will be across East Broadway on Montana Rail Link leased land.

But that presents another safety issue having to cross the street to get to campus. There's a proposed solution for that too - creating well lit, signed pedestrian crossings.

In addition, there’s a suggestion to make the sidewalks wider to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. But none of these plans can be put into action without help from the city.

“We can make a good project great as we coordinate with each other and make sure that we're a part of that planning process,” Reid said.

“I think it's a real opportunity for us to work together and so far so good,” said Engen.

The University wants feedback from the public on the draft plan by February 21. From there any additional changes will be made to the plan.

Site preparations and some preliminary construction are expected to start late this summer, with hopes of having construction completely underway early in 2015.