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Changes could be coming for stretch of Missoula road

West Broadway Master Plan
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Posted at 9:07 AM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 11:07:08-05

MISSOULA — "A forgotten space" is what many people have deemed the area between North Russell and West Broadway.

But the neglected neighborhood on Missoula’s west side is due for a facelift, according to city planners who have spent 18 months hosting public meetings and presentations, gathering input on the West Broadway Master Plan.

Covering 15 acres, the plan highlights housing, retail, restaurants, and transportation.

West Broadway Master Plan

If you’re traveling on West Broadway near Russell, the only thing stopping traffic is the painfully long wait at one intersection's stoplight. But what if the area acted as a gateway to Missoula’s downtown — an attractive neighborhood with better access to the river, wider sidewalks, new restaurants and housing?

Believe it or not, the area is considered the gateway to downtown, and after the adoption of the West Broadway Master Plan, the neighborhood will get the chance to live up to its name.

The Missoula City Council voted unanimously to approve the West Broadway Plan, which means we could see changes to the area coming as early as 2022.

The plan identifies what city officials call “big ideas” for the project including supporting existing businesses and aiding in their redevelopment if they choose to do so and making the streets walkable and bikeable.

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Adding affordable commercial space to support locally-owned restaurants and retail is also highlighted on the plan as well as improving accessibility to the river and developing housing along the waterfront that includes market-rate and affordable units.

Planners believe these steps will lead to a new identity for this blip on Missoula’s map.

“This area has a lot of possibilities, lot of opportunities. And this plan puts forward a vision that can help propel this neighborhood and this part of the city into the future with a really strong set of goals and with new partnerships and a lot of enthusiasm for improving this area. - Ward Missoula City Council member Mirtha Becerra

While the West Broadway Master Plan passed with flying colors, it’s the public engagement about the project that took center stage at Monday’s city council meeting.

Neighbors of Missoula’s West Side praised the collaboration between planners, consultants, and community members with many feeling empowered at the chance to shape their neighborhood.

Click here to learn how city planners hope to achieve the big ideas in their plan.