Every driver has shortcuts, ways they think get them to their destination quicker. A shorter route, less traffic, fewer stops, a more direct route. It's not always the case, though. Here are five I've seen drivers use in Missoula. I'll admit I have a few of my own. They're all top secret and contrary to what Craig says, none of them involve alleys or people's backyards.

  • 1

    South Avenue & Reserve Street

    This is one of the simplest of all the detours to avoid a light. It involves using the parking lots of Rosauers and Shopko. The Rosauers one can be a little tricky. There's two-way traffic and shopping carts to contend with.

    Google Earth
  • 2

    Old Hwy 93/Bitteroot Motors Cutoff

    This one gets a lot of use in the early morning. You turn at the Miller Cr Rd/Hwy 93S light and take the road behind Bitteroot Motors. It’s a 35 MPH zone. Then take a left onto Reserve Street. This one gets real tricky once traffic volume picks up later in the morning. I don’t know if it saves time, since Highway 93 South is 45 MPH on the parallel route.

    Google Earth
  • 3

    4th & Higgins

    Parking lots are a popular way to avoid a light (though also an illegal way). Slipping through the Holiday Station at 4th & Higgins is an example.

    Google Earth
  • 4

    14th & Russell

    Another example of a service station shortcut. I’ve seen this one used more than any others.

    Google Earth
  • 5

    6th & Higgins

    This one gets the award as the most innovative. You’re southbound on Higgins and the “No Left Turn Light“ is on (during rush hour) and you need to get onto 6th eastbound. What will you do? Left at the laundromat, down the alley next to Hellgate and..Tah dah…right onto 6th.

    Google Earth