Local streets are appalling

I cheer Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin’s upgrade plan for Florida Avenue, although it’s far in the future as she looks to a federal grant. Florida needs work, but so do many Urbana streets.

Race Street northbound from Windsor Avenue to Florida, and from Washington to Illinois streets, is worse than Florida. So is Springfield Avenue from Lincoln to Coler avenues, and Main Street from Lincoln to Birch Street.

In fact, Lincoln itself (despite recent pothole patching) is terrible in many places, such as the southbound outside lane from Illinois to Pennsylvania Avenue. From Lincoln eastward, Pennsylvania is terrible, save a small overlaid section.

The way Urbana patches streets (e.g., East Windsor before reconstruction) covers potholes but creates bumps. I’m no civil engineer, but while Champaign’s streets need work — so many are just plain rough — their patching does smooth out holes and pavement breaks.

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Once upon a time, municipal budgets provided for keeping streets repaired and resurfaced. Today, it seems city leaders hope that newer generations, having grown up with rough streets, will just shrug: “That’s the way it is.” Meanwhile, cities count on federal, state or other grants to enable any repaving.

I understand that U.S. highway repairs should be primarily funded by government; ergo, South Neil Street from Green Street to Savoy is very, very bad. Last time I asked, Tom Kacich said the state has no upgrades scheduled for South Neil.

One wonders if any appreciable money from the huge federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will ever trickle down to East Central Illinois. One knowledgeable friend told me, “Don’t hold your breath.”

PETER T. TOMARAS

Champaign

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