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Current Events: Possible Missoula parking changes, Grant Creek development

Posted at 10:56 AM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 12:56:07-04

MISSOULA – This edition of Current Events with Missoula Current founding editor Martin Kidston takes a look at some possible changes for parking in Missoula and the continuing saga of a proposed development in Grant Creek.

“There's been a lot of talk about parking across the city over the last few months. The City Council is looking at parking as a potential incentive to boost affordable housing construction. This week the Missoula Parking Commission took some steps on its own. They're looking at a city-wide parking district,” Kidston said. “Right now, the Parking Commission is pretty much limited to downtown Missoula and some of the residential areas through permit parking. They issued a Request for Proposal to hire a consultant to take a larger look at what a citywide would mean.”

“And that means expanding parking to the Hip Strip, the Riverfront Triangle, possibly the old Sawmill District, some other parts of the city,” Kidston continued. They believe by doing so they could be poised to help the city's challenge of affordable housing. They could also manage parking as the city becomes more dense and the city completes its urban infill on a larger scale.”

“They have said that won't mean a parking meter on your residential street. Most likely they'll be looking at some of the denser areas initially, but they are also looking for the need of a new parking garage. The city has talked about a parking garage in a variety of locations. There has been one planned for the Riverfront Triangle. There's been one discussed in the old Sawmill District,” Kidston said.

“The Parking Commission is probably going to recommend that the city consider a parking garage outside of city hall. Anybody who has tried to go to city hall for a council meeting or for services know that parking down there is a challenge. Some areas of the city are hard to find parking, others areas are not as high. It's not spread out evenly and they're looking at areas of the highest and greatest need.”

A proposed development – Grant Creek Village – is still being discussed in Missoula.

“You'll need more than two hands to count the hours discussing this. The City Council last week wrapped up a five-hour hearing. It's the last hearing on this project. They brought the experts to the table on fire, traffic, both sides of the issue. Both sides got to give the pros and cons on it,” Kidston said. “Monday night the city council is expected to make a final decision on this project. We'll see where it goes. Of course, the project calls for a gravel quarry and there's nothing there right now. We'll see how big affordable housing is to the city council when they make their final decision.