West Reserve deserves attention

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The idea of getting money sooner rather than later to expand West Reserve Drive to five lanes is an exciting prospect that already has drawn support from many stakeholders.

Anyone who has driven the gridlock-prone stretch of highway between U.S. 2 and U.S. 93 on Kalispell’s north side — and particularly motorists caught in the daily morning and evening “rush hour” traffic — can attest that something needs to be done about that road. We were pleased to learn last week the Montana Department of Transportation is pursuing the reclassification of West Reserve from a state urban route to a state primary route, a move that could allow for highway expansion money to be allocated much sooner.

The Kalispell City Council and Flathead County commissioners already have voted in favor of resolutions supporting such a reclassification, and Kalispell Chamber of Commerce President Joe Unterreiner has been vocal about the Chamber’s support.

The Kalispell Technical Advisory Committee is meeting today to discuss the reclassification, and that committee’s support is another crucial piece of the potential reclassification.

West Reserve, with nearly 20,000 vehicles using it every day, is one of the two busiest two-lane roads in the state, along with Missoula’s Russell Street.

They say where there’s a will, there’s a way. It’s time for our local and state governments to seriously go to bat for widening West Reserve.

The Kalispell Arts On the Street committee is organizing a fun and creative contest that will bring practical public art to the downtown area.

Local artists can submit designs for sculptural bike racks, with the winners taking home a cool $500 cash prize. Anything goes for design ideas.

“If you can think of it, someone has probably fashioned it into a bike rack,” said committee chair Vonnie Day.

We love this idea and encourage all of the valley’s creative thinkers to get involved. Not only will these bold bike racks will bring a splash of color and artistry to Main Street, they’ll serve a functional purpose and encourage alternative modes of transportation in an area that can be challenging to find parking.

We also applaud the idea of having Flathead Valley Community College’s Occupational Trades Department students fabricate the racks based on the winning designs.

Deadline line for submissions is June 3, so tap into your imagination and get involved. Visit online at www.downtownkalispell.com to learn more.

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