The project to re-stripe 5th and 6th street has begun and drivers are losing their shit.

I will begin by saying that I am a fan of the project of cutting both 5th and 6th streets to one vehicle lane. Squeezing 2 lanes of traffic and 2 lanes of parked cars into the smallest space possible doesn't seem like a big deal in the warmer months. But in the winter, it's almost impossible to get through those streets.

So, the city is currently turning those 4 tiny lanes into one 11 foot lane for vehicles, one 6 foot lane for bikes and the 2 side lanes for parked cars. And Missoula, it's going to be OK, stop being crazy.

Monday, September 16th, was the first day that 5th was one lane. I realize all of this will take some getting used to. However, when the brand new sparkling white lines are extremely simple to see, and there are signs to warn you that the traffic pattern has changed, it shouldn't be difficult to figure out. We waited at the light at Orange and 5th about 3 times longer than we usually do at that time on a weekday, which is fine. But drivers were completely ignoring the new lines, I watched a bike nearly mowed down by a car who wanted that lane to make a turn. And then a woman who assumed 5th was still 2 lanes (even though there's a massive sign saying it is not) turned into the bike lane, realized she shouldn't be there, and ran me off the road to get in the correct lane.

What I'm saying is, hate it all you want, but this is how 5th and 6th will be now, please be aware and cautious on those streets as the community acclimates. 

Photo Courtesy of the City of Missoula
Photo Courtesy of the City of Missoula

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