We have all heard the tale of Missoula's two city planners. But, just in case you haven't, it is the story of why Missoula's streets and neighborhoods are so insane. Most towns have your typical grid pattern when planning streets, with streets going north, south, east, and west. But, Missoula is different. Just take a look at the "slant street" neighborhoods. They are far from being a typical grid pattern, especially as it lines up with the surrounding neighborhoods.

According to missoula.com, as the story goes

At the south end of the Higgins Avenue bridge was a wagon road connecting Missoula with the Bitterroot. In the 1880s lawyers Bickford and Stephens, who had land on either side of this road, plotted a new town, to be called South Missoula, with streets running parallel and perpendicular to the wagon road.


These slant streets created nightmarish conditions for traffic. When modern cars and a larger population arrived in Missoula, intersections like "Malfunction Junction" became a joke. Thankfully it has been somewhat improved in recent years.

An artist who is known for his "barely maps" has created a piece that features what looks like ancient writing or the Chinese alphabet. He hilariously features different Missoula street intersections as captions for each of the different characters. At first glance, it almost looks like REAL Missoula intersections. So much so, that it took me a moment to realize the joke.

You can own this piece of art for $27. It would make the perfect gift for anyone from Missoula that gets frustrated with the traffic.

ETSY/Barely Maps
ETSY/Barely Maps

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