Traffic and Transportation

Nov 15, 2012 12:21 PM by KPAX/KAJ Media Center

New downtown Missoula bike facility opening up

MISSOULA - The wraps are coming off of the Downtown Bike Den at the Mountain Line Downtown Transfer Center on Thursday.

The covered facility has secure parking for bicycles, a self-serve bike repair station and display cases for bike commuter information.

"Bicyclists can now travel greater distances within our community knowing that they can count on dry facilities to store and, when necessary, repair their bicycles," said Michael Tree, general manager at Mountain Line. "

The opening of the Downtown Bike Den is a key milestone in our broader effort to encourage intermodal transportation and help commuters leave their cars at home," Tree continued.

The new facility is just one among several new enhancements along local bus routes and on buses themselves, all designed to increase the convenience and flexibility of Missoula's inexpensive, environmentally friendly transit service.

All Mountain Line buses recently were equipped with three-slot bike racks, replacing older, two-slot racks and with an ever-greater number of Mountain Line passengers wanting to take their bicycles with them, this upgrade will reduce the incidence of denials due to full racks.

Mountain Line is also installing 30 new bike racks at bus stops around the city, further expanding storage options for cyclists. Those racks will be available spring 2013.

The upgrades were made possible by a $133,744 grant from the Federal Transit Administration, part of a joint project of Mountain Line, Missoula In Motion and the Bicycle Pedestrian Program.

Mountain Line has seen a significant increase in the number of riders who wish to take their bicycles with them in recent years, according to a news release.

Alexandria Stokman, program supervisor at Missoula In Motion, pointed out that the trend toward bike-and-bus intermodal commuting falls in line with the goals of the 2011 Missoula Active Transportation Plan, which calls for greater integration of transit with active (nonmotorized) transportation options.

"These new improvements help move us toward the day when Missoula residents can conveniently and quickly travel to and from any point in the city without getting behind the wheel of a car," Stokman said.

The Missoula Urban Transportation District will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Downtown Bike Den on Thursday at 4 o'clock.

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