CHAMPAIGN — City council members this week could vote to spend up to $53,000 to update traffic-light timing on the city's busiest roads north of Interstate 74.
Re-timing the traffic lights on North Prospect Avenue and North Neil Street so cars can move through each intersection with as few stops and little delay as possible is not expected to eliminate congestion over the interstate. But city officials think it could ease some of the red-light pains north of Marketview Drive.
The project is scheduled for a vote when the city council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.
According to a memo to the council, most of the city's 100 or more traffic signals were evaluated and timed between 1998 and 2007. Typically, lights are re-timed every three to five years, but city staff have had much less time to focus on that since the recession began to take a toll on the city budget in 2008.
Instead of fitting the project into limited in-house staff time, Peoria-based TERRA Engineering would collect the data and re-coordinate the lights at seven intersections along North Prospect Avenue and three on North Neil Street. Another intersection, at Town Center and Moreland boulevards, could be included in the North Neil Street timing group.
Although the timing at many Champaign intersections is between six and 15 years old, the existing timing at some intersections is still effective, according to the memo.
At others, traffic patterns have changed, new signals have been installed or timing changes have been made to adjacent signals — in the case of the area north of I-74, northward commercial expansion has thrown off the timing of traffic signals there.
After taking a look at the area north of I-74, city administrators may recommend that council members next re-examine the downtown area.