|Van Buren, Orange, I-90|
Current plans call for a dogbone roundabout at the I-90 ramps junction with Van Buren Street. This will be constructed in summer of 2014. MIST has several safety concerns with the proposed design. Most notably are the angles of entries and exists that seem to allow higher speed than can be deemed safe; also, the northbound Van Buren to eastbound I-90 outer lane that diverges to the higher speed Interstate is sure to be a safety challenge to all cyclists. Please get in touch with us if you would like to help develop solutions for making this a better project.
Background 2005 to 2008:
The State of Montana has initiated a project to do three things:
improve the intersection of Van Buren Dr and I-90
Initial meetings showed the Department of Transportation favoring new traffic signals at the off-ramp intersections, and expanding I-90 from four lanes to six lanes through the Missoula Valley. In addition, part of the project aims to reduce the sound impacts from the Interstate.
The following comments were submitted by MIST when this project was open for public comment in the summer of 2006:
We have several concerns regarding the Montana Department of Transportation statement:
(Originally located at:
"Phase 1 study, concluded in 2004, identified deficiencies related to interchange configuration, traffic operations, and traffic noise at these interchanges. Currently, project development is under way that will consider possible mitigation measures such as ramp acceleration enhancements, an auxiliary lane on I-90, traffic signals at the ramp terminals and noise abatement measures. Upon final determination, project improvements will be designed and constructed."
1- We have strong concerns with an 'auxiliary lane on I-90'. Previous DOT comments have indicated a preference for making I-90 six lanes through town. This would be too many lanes and would likely induce more traffic and increase air and noise pollution in the Missoula Valley.
2- ‘Intersection improvement' should be a goal of the study, not jumping to a traffic signal conclusion. A modern, single lane roundabout may be the solution instead of more signals. Modern single lane roundabouts make for great gateways into historic, residential areas. Moreover, a single lane roundabout would allow a lane reduction from 2 to 1 on Van Buren (Broadway to Vine) which would then allow a bike lane and widened sidewalk on that stretch of road. Currently the bike lane ends at the I-90 underpass and picks back up at Vine. Completing this bike lane is essential for better bicycling movement in that area.
3- A completed, safe and accessible bike and walk system should be an outcome of the project, regardless of intersection control devices chosen.
4- We support the project goal of creating 'noise abatement measures.'
5- If a signal is chosen, then utilize a bicycle signal head that it is triggered by motion or an in-ground loop. Also, a pedestrian count down should be installed. Give priority phasing to non-motorized transportation.
6- Look at the bigger picture: every development happening east and west of Missoula affects Missoula directly. This proposed traffic signal at Van Buren/ I-90, for instance, is directly related to the subdivisions at Rock Creek, in Granite County (500 homes proposed 30 miles east of Missoula), in Milltown, and so on. In short, we are all connected and good land use planning (place-based and not sprawl) and good transportation infrastructure (options-based and not automobile dominated) will ensure a more sustainable future for Missoula and Montana. Please look at incorporating the spirit of these ‘bigger picture' comments into this specific study.
7- More outreach to the public is needed, and more encouragement for the public to summit comments, either on-line or in writing is needed.
Thank you for considering these comments.
This is one version of a roundabout proposal for Van Buren and I-90. Pictured are double lane roundabouts. Double lane roundabouts are not nearly as safe as single lane roundabouts, especially for pedestrians and cyclists. Single lane roundabouts would promote traffic safety and efficiency while saving space. MIST is opposed to any double lane roundabouts in the urban area and greatly supports single lane roundabouts.
We fully support this single lane roundabout proposal for the Orange Ave. and I-90 off-ramp intersection... as long as motor vehicle speeds are kept to about 15mph.
For more on the project, along with information on the types of sound walls being proposed, go to: