URBANA – The city of Urbana has been awarded a $900,000 grant to make Goodwin Avenue a "complete street" between Clark Street and Gregory Drive that is friendly to pedestrians, bicyclists, mass transit and motorists.
Expanded sidewalk bumpouts, better-marked crossings, bicycle lanes on both sides of Goodwin and new bus pullouts, as well as repaving part of Goodwin and installing new traffic signals at Springfield Avenue and Goodwin, will be part of the project.
Construction is expected to begin in mid- to late summer of 2008 or possibly 2009, according to Urbana Public Works Director William Gray.
The city was notified earlier this month that it was receiving the federal Highway Safety Improvement grant, which will pay for 90 percent of the total project cost. The city will pick up the remaining $100,000.
Gray said the grant program focuses on making improvements to streets that might have a safety problem – in particular, streets where a fatality has occurred.
Goodwin Avenue fits that criteria, as a 21-year-old female University of Illinois graduate student was killed on Oct. 27, 2004, as she crossed Gregory Drive at Goodwin.
Carolyn Jeffers of Champaign died of multiple traumatic injuries that evening after she was hit by a Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District bus. Jeffers was nearly across Gregory when the bus turned right and hit her at 6:45 p.m.
The bus driver was ticketed for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
Miss Jeffers' family settled this past May a lawsuit it filed against the mass transit district for $1.1 million in damages.
Mayor Laurel Prussing said the city is pleased to be able to make Goodwin Avenue safer.
"That's one of the main goals of the city, to have pedestrian and bicycle friendly streets," she said. "Certainly safety is a big issue. Anything we can do to make our streets as safe as possible, we're just delighted to do that."
Gray said the complete street concept means designing streets that are safe for everyone, not just motorists.
"We're accommodating pedestrians, we're accommodating bicyclists, we're accommodating mass transit and we're accommodating motorists," he said. "We're trying to use the best science to make this (street) as safe as possible."
The street improvements include installing 5-foot-wide bicycle lanes on both sides of Goodwin between Clark and Gregory. All of the intersections will have "pedestrian bumpouts," many extending eight feet into the current intersection, that will expand the sidewalk and shorten the distance of crosswalks. New street lighting is also part of the project.
Bus stops will be consolidated at one location on both sides of Goodwin midway between Springfield and Green Street. Bus stops will also be located on both sides of the street in front of the Krannert Center and between Gregory and Nevada Street.