East Missoula, Montana

Creating a Safe and Inviting Highway 200 Corridor in East Missoula

East Missoula, Montana  |  2015

Project Details

The Challenge

Key Activities



The unincorporated community of East Missoula straddles Highway 200 along the Clark Fork River, just a few short miles from the City of Missoula. The highway today provides little in the way of pedestrian amenities or travel lane demarcation, even as the town grows in popularity due to its recreation community and location as a significant business thoroughfare.

Land use consists of low density commercial and semi-industrial uses like casinos, mini storage, and automotive repair. Missoula County and the East Missoula Community Council sought to develop a community-based vision for a Highway 200 corridor that better served pedestrians and vehicles at the same time it set the table to attract future development.

Missoula County and the Community Council asked Community Builders for assistance running a public visioning and design charrette through our New Mobility West (NMW) transportation program. We attained Progressive Urban Management Associates (PUMA) to diagnose and lead the charrette. In May 2015, PUMA and NMW staff spent three days in East Missoula for an intensive immersion and problem-solving effort.

PUMA developed a market analysis to assess local conditions and begin to outline the community’s economic identity. Working with the community team, we held dozens of interviews with local stakeholders and business owners to begin defining a community-based vision for the corridor. The team walked the corridor, met with representatives from the Montana Department of Transportation, and held a community meeting to present and gather feedback on design concepts.

Comparing the community’s vision, existing regulations, and market opportunities in the current investment cycle, PUMA developed a range of recommendations for design solutions within the corridor. These ranged from short term “lighter, quicker, cheaper” design solutions and non-regulatory approaches to longer term infrastructure-based solutions, which involved clearly delineating roadway surfaces from adjacent parking lots and managing traffic flows through the railroad underpass pinch point.

Key recommendations included:

  • Installing temporary planter boxes to define and delineate the highway right of way and intersections; this can act as a pilot project specifically in the area surrounding Ole’s Country Store
  • Gateway treatments at the west end near the I-90 interchange and at the top of the hill just east of Staple Street
  • Striped bike lanes and intersection delineation
  • Consolidated parking lots with designated access points (curb cuts)
  • Railroad bridge abutments need to be widened to provide a safer bike lane and a sidewalk on the east side of the street that connects to the existing Broadway sidewalk; this will be a topic in the MDT Highway safety audit

Click the button below to view the final report.