Many of Missoula’s iconic businesses -- like Ruby’s Café -- call Midtown Missoula home.
But the area has a big problem -- it’s hard to get around if you’re not in a car.
The segmentation means people are not going from store-to-store spending money like they might in the Hip Strip.
But one group is trying to change that.
People gathered at the Missoula YMCA on Tuesday to dream about what Midtown could look like in the near future.
The main themes discussed were housing, walkability, and keeping the character of the space.
“We're going to implement this plan. It's not going to sit on the shelf,” said Melanie Brock, who leads the Missoula Midtown Association.
She says the current layout of Midtown is not good enough for Missoula’s future growth.
“From tourism to historic preservation to retail strategies; making what's already an incredible part of Missoula even better."
It can be scary to get around in a sustainable way.
The Bitterroot Trail cuts through Midtown with a bicycle-specific light at the intersection of Johnson and South Avenue.
But on Brooks Street, it’s a different story.
There are no bike lanes and few pedestrian walkways which make crossing the busy road difficult without a car.
“We hear that Brooks isn't working for everyone. Everyone from motorists to traffic at rush hour, to people trying to cross it east-to-west,” Brock said. “Those things come up as things we would like to be improving."
The Missoula Midtown Association has partnered with ECONorthwest to create the master plan, saying they want the plan to reflect the values of people who work and live in the area…
“We want to do the hard work now, crunch the numbers, put together a cohesive plan so that we will be ready to implement when funding opportunities do arise, we'll be ready to go and jump on them."
What that plan looks like is still up to you.
The Missoula Midtown Association is still taking public comment through next month, with the plan hopefully being presented for adoption by early next year.
Additional information about the Midtown Missoula master plan can be found at https://missoulamidtown.com/masterplan/.