21, No. 10, Nov. 15, 2001
City Council lowers
speed limit for some streets, alleys
By Sharita Forrest, Assistant Editor
(217) 244-1072; email@example.com
Motorists: Slow down in Campustown or that flashing red light in the
rearview mirror wont be Rudolfs nose.
A reduced speed limit on campus area streets and alleys goes into effect
Nov. 20, following passage of an ordinance by the Champaign City Council
at its Nov. 6 meeting.
The ordinance establishes 25 mph and 15 mph speed limits, respectively,
on streets and alleys within the University District, an area roughly
bounded by University Avenue on the north, Windsor Road on the south,
Neil Street on the west and Wright Street on the east.
The University District was established by the City Council at its July
The reduced speed limit, proposed by Champaign City Manager Steven C.
Carter, is intended to enhance pedestrian safety in areas with high-volume
However, the new speed limit does not apply to First Street, Kirby Avenue,
Wright Street, Springfield Avenue or Wright and Fourth streets north
of Springfield Avenue. These peripheral streets were specifically excluded
either because they fall outside the high-pedestrian-traffic zone or
because they fall under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department
of Transportation rather than the city.
During the first 30 days of the new ordinance, Champaign police will
step up traffic enforcement to encourage motorist compliance with the
new speed limit, said Champaign Police Chief Jim Luecking in a telephone
UI police likewise will be keeping a watchful eye out for violators
when the new speed limit takes effect.
"We expect to be doing a lot of education on the new
speed limit," said Capt. Rick Kallmayer of the UI police department,
referring to increased patrols in the area. "Its going to
be a real change for people."
In other campus-related business, the City Council unanimously approved
a resolution tentatively establishing the Campustown Special Service
Area, a funding mechanism proposed by city planners to finance streetscape
improvements in Campustown. If no objections are filed within the next
60 days, the council will be free to enact legislation officially establishing
Campustown Special Service Area at the Feb. 5, council meeting.
Under the arrangement, additional property taxes would be assessed on
private property owners in the Campustown area to cover the $1.1 million
in projected costs of decorative streetscaping in Campustown. Enhancements
such as decorative signage, planters and benches would not be covered
by the city under the Campustown Infrastructure Reconstruction and Streetscape
Project slated to begin in March. The city will be funding its share
of the reconstruction project a maximum of $5.6 million
through rededication of the citys food and beverage tax.
During discussion, council members raised questions about the duration
of the Special Service Area taxation and the potential economic impact
of property ownership changing from private to public use while subject
to the arrangement. Bruce Knight, Champaign City planning director,
said that the planning department would schedule a study session with
the City Council in the near future to address these and other questions
related to the special service area issue.