Missoula's Public Works & Mobility Department has created the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program to address speeding and other traffic safety issues to make Missoula’s neighborhood streets safer for everyone.

Senior Transportation Planner for the City of Missoula, Ben Weiss spoke to KGVO on Thursday to lay out the issues. He said there were many traffic crashes in Missoula.

“You know, there are about 3,000 crashes every year in Missoula, and of those about 1,000 of them take place on our local neighborhood streets,” said Weiss. “A lot of them are fender benders, but the ones that aren't can be real serious and not only do they damage people and lives but they also cost everyone money.”

Weiss said all those accidents have led to a call for more efficient and safer traffic management.

“We're creating a new neighborhood traffic management program,” he said. “I call it new, but really it's a revamping or revision of our previous traffic program.  We're not adding any new funding, but it’s just as a way to allocate our existing resources a little bit better. We’re talking about improved communication among departments and trying to solve problems based on data that we collect and problems that we're seeing, rather than just kind of a first come first served sort of basis.”

Weiss provided some specific examples of traffic management tools under consideration.

“This neighborhood traffic management program that we're putting forward is basically a combination of traffic calming tools, such as the neighborhood circles that you see in some neighborhoods, bulb-outs, and potential speed tables. These are ways to physically get you to slow down a little bit. There’s also some education, like deploying our speed trailer that tells you how fast you're going. We have a couple of those that we can deploy around town.”

Weiss also acknowledged distracted driving as a cause of accidents.

“That's one of the reasons that we're doing this is that we acknowledge that people are distracted while driving,” he said. “This program specifically doesn't target that by itself, but that certainly is a reality that we live in, and it's one of the reasons that we feel the imperative to try and make it safer for everybody.”

Click here to read more about the traffic management tools now being used, and those under consideration.

 

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