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5 Awful Missoula Intersections

Photo courtesy of biblicone/Flickr
As a UM student, I risked my life many times to cross Higgins at Beckwith so I could get to class. Every time I did it, I thought, “The city should really do something about this intersection. It’s dangerous!” Eventually, they did, although the solution — a big, confusing roundabout — wasn’t the best fix, in my opinion. Still, it’s just a drop in the bucket of this city’s supply of awful road crossings. Here’s my list of Missoula’s five worst intersections.

Photo courtesy of Google Maps
Photo courtesy of Google Maps


Mullan and Reserve



This is just one of several Reserve Street crossings that make me clench my teeth. The light is long, traffic always gets super backed up, and if you’re trying to turn north on Reserve, you can pretty much forget about making a right on red.


Photo courtesy of Google Maps
Photo courtesy of Google Maps


East Broadway and Van Buren



There’s a lot going on in this general area, with Albertson’s, a couple of gas stations, an interstate on/off ramp and a pedestrian bridge. Throw in a lot of young, distracted drivers who are trying to make it to campus on time, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. If you’re a pedestrian, watch out — I’ve had several close calls in the crosswalk here, including almost being mowed down by a driver who sped through a red light.


Photo courtesy of Google Maps
Photo courtesy of Google Maps


Mount and Brooks



Anyone who regularly travels Mount knows that this road is the redheaded stepchild of the Missoula street system. I have literally listened to entire songs on the radio waiting for this light to change. And once it’s green, you better frickin’ gun it, because you only have about 1.8 seconds before it’s red again.




Third and Russell



If you need a cortisol fix, head over to this intersection around rush hour. You’re probably going to want to avoid making any sort of turn, especially if it’s a left one. If you decide to stop for gas at the Holiday station, good luck getting out of the parking lot once your tank is full.


Photo courtesy of travelling.steve/Flickr
Photo courtesy of travelling.steve/Flickr


All uncontrolled intersections



There may be less traffic on Missoula’s residential streets, but thanks to a lack of clearly defined right-of-way, these roads can be just as dangerous as main traffic arteries. I don’t know how many times I’ve slowed down at an unmarked road crossing only to see a car go zooming past me like I don’t even exist. I’m always left thinking, in addition to a few choice words, “What if I had done the same thing?”


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