Wednesday, October 17th from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. city staff would like to speak with you at the Kalispell City Hall Council Chambers about recommended modifications to improve key intersections in South Kalispell along Airport Road and US Hwy 93. Traffic continues to increase in this area with the opening of Rankin Elementary School and new subdivisions planned or under construction along Airport Road. In addition, there is a need to improve access into and out of the downtown area via 1st Avenues East and West. WGM Engineering of Kalispell was hired to develop conceptual designs addressing traffic flows in this area of South Kalispell.
WGM developed nine scenarios for improvements including the areas at the 18th Street/Airport Road/1st Street West connection and at the 13th Street/Airport Road/Hwy 93 intersection. It became apparent early on that roundabout options for any intersection did not rank very high among community members. At this point, based on public input and engineering standards, project areas were narrowed to two: 18th Street/Airport Road/1st Street West improvements (discussed below) and a new traffic light at either Hwy 93/Airport Rd/13th Street intersection or at Hwy 93/1st Ave East intersection. The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), which controls US 93, reviewed the traffic counts for both Hwy 93 intersections and found that traffic is insufficient to warrant signalization at either intersection at this time. While the City debated this finding, and stressed the need for pedestrian crossings as well, it became apparent that until traffic increases at these two Hwy 93 intersections, changes are not feasible.
Therefore, based on MDT input and public comment in support of modifications to the 18th Street/Airport Road/1st Street West connection, the Kalispell Urban Renewal Agency volunteer board is recommending to City Council the improvements at this intersection as seen in the image below. This design would serve to align the intersection at 18th Street and Airport Road by eliminating the uneven jog on the westerly leg heading over to 1st Ave. West. A new intersection connecting 1st Ave. West would be constructed just to the north. An added benefit to this design would be to pave the vacant city lot thus providing these two benefits:
· community parking in this area (a plus for Legends Field) reducing strain on narrow neighborhood streets; and
· serving as a site for the City Public Works Department to store snow during the winter months.
The proposal for this project includes extending a pedestrian walkway (wide sidewalk) along the west side of Airport Road. City Council will hold a work session on this item Monday, October 22, at 7:00 pm in the Kalispell City Council Chambers. If the Council supports this project, construction would occur spring/summer 2019.
OPPORTUNITIES TO COMMENT
Over the next few weeks we would like to get your thoughts. There are 5 easy ways to comment. Use whatever method works for you.
1. Attend an open house at City Hall Council Chambers, scheduled Wednesday, October 17, 2018 from 4:00—6:30 pm (201 First Ave. East).
1. Stop by the Planning Office at City Hall any time over the next few weeks (201 First Ave. East—Downstairs).
2. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Send us a letter addressed to Kalispell Planning Dept., PO Box 1997, Kalispell, MT 59903.
4. Give us a phone call at 406‐758‐7940.