Street improvements around the corner

Local News

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — City leaders are poised to fix a dangerous stretch of road.

This would improve an area of University Avenue between Wright and Maple Streets.

Monday, council members approved a more than $8 million agreement with IDOT.

Several accidents have happened here over the past few years, some deadly.

We spoke with the family of a man who died early last year. 54 year-old Jeff Miller rolled his wheelchair into a crosswalk with little time left to cross, and a car hit him.

His granddaughter says she’s disappointed the problem has taken this long to fix.

“Now that my grandfather died that way, I constantly drive around and think how things can be safer.”

It’s been more than a year since Ashley Moore’s grandfather was hit and killed crossing this street.

“I could only imagine how my grandfather or someone who’s handicapped felt trying to cross that street.”

Last year when we spoke with Miller, there was only about 18 seconds to cross University at Race Street.

“The timing, that’s the biggest problem for anyone, even if you’re handicapped or not, like if you’re a mother with kids, children are slower walking than anyone.”

It’s still the case now, but Urbana city leaders are planning upgrades. A more than $8 million project will improve the stretch between Wright and Maple Street on University.

“The motivation behind this is to improve safety on this stretch, we’ve had multiple accidents resulting in fatalities and injuries.”

They’ll be resurfacing the streets, and fixing the sidewalks, crosswalks, streetlights, and pedestrian lights.

“Just about every part of the street will be addressed with this project.”

That includes the countdown time to get across the street – which is good news to Moore, although she’s frustrated it took this long.

“You can’t put a price tag on somebody’s life. I just feel like a crosswalk is a place that’s designed to cross the street, it’s not meant for someone to die there.”

Most of this project is being paid for by IDOT. The city of Urbana will cover about $210,000.

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