The Missoulian ran a fantastic opinion piece yesterday entitled "Sprawl: The ultimate scapegoat" by Robert Bruegmann. The online version of the Missoulian doesn't have the piece but I have linked the same piece from the LA Times which they titled "Gridlock, schmidlock". I think the Missoulian ran it because they wanted to add different (correct) point of view to the discussion on sprawl, light rail or transit, and building/expanding roads. He focuses on Los Angeles but it can easily apply to Missoula and the Bitterroot considering the recent push for light rail, the road diet, etc.
Mr. Bruegmann comes highly qualified as he is a professor of architecture, art history and urban planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is chair of the art history department and is author of "Sprawl: A Compact History". He does a nice job of debunking a lot of commonly accepted "truths" that sprawl is horrible, constructing or expanding new roads induces more traffic, and the solution to all this is building mass transit. I think all of this is relevant to the current debate in Missoula and will stir up the hornets nest of the anti-growth and anti-automobile crusaders. It will be fun to watch them attack Mr. Bruegmann's ideas and him personally.
I'll keep you posted on the fireworks!