Champaign council Lynn Street new map

This map from the city of Champaign shows the new traffic configuration for Lynn Street — one-way southbound, starting Aug. 16, 2019 — between Church Street and University Avenue, on the east side of Central High School. The city council approved the new configuration at its meeting Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2019.

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CHAMPAIGN — A portion of a street that runs along the east side of Central High School is being permanently converted into a one-way thoroughfare.

On Tuesday night, the Champaign City Council voted 7-0 to approve an ordinance making all traffic on Lynn Street between University Avenue and Church Street one-way headed south.

The change will take effect Aug. 16.

The traffic modification is all part of the expansion and improvements to Central, part of the district’s $183.4 million facilities referendum that voters approved in 2016.

Champaign civil engineer David A. Happ said the project has necessitated changes to the circulation pattern for school buses as well as for student and staff vehicles.

“Beginning this fall, all staff and student vehicles will be directed to use New Street, along the west side of the school, for student drop-off and parking-lot access,” Happ said. “The majority of the buses (Unit 4 and contracted MTD buses) will be directed to use Lynn Street, along the east side of the school.”

The affected part of Lynn currently allows two-way traffic.

In addition to making Lynn one-way southbound between University and Church, all parking along the west side of that section of the road is being eliminated.

However, parking will be allowed along the east side of Lynn.

Earlier this year, some residents had expressed concern over the change, arguing that the combination of queueing buses and parked vehicles would restrict traffic flow on Lynn.

Representatives from two businesses were concerned there might not be enough room between the buses and the parked cars for vehicles to pass to reach their entrances.

However, city staff determined enough room will remain for vehicles to pass down Lynn even when cars are parked on the east side and buses are queued up on the west side.

Some community members also expressed concern over the unnecessary elimination of on-street parking near the school and worried that less parking would force students to park further into the residential areas surrounding the school.

Happ said the one-way designation will allow buses to line up without blocking traffic.

“A permanent change to one-way, as opposed to temporary flip signs, leads to less confusion by motorists,” he said.

“I think this is an OK proposal,” said council member Tom Bruno. “I am comfortable with it, but should we be wrong, we can change this back.”

Reporter

Tim Mitchell is a reporter at The News-Gazette. His email is tmitchel@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@mitchell6).