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Champaign Takes Steps to Link Downtown and Campustown

Champaign City Council took steps last night to connect the popular downtown district with Campustown by adopting the University District Plan — which was recently updated in 2007 — as council policy for the next ten years.

Along with adopting the plan, the council agreed to an intergovernmental agreement with the Champaign Park District to maintain a park along the Boneyard Creek corridor from First Street to Wright Street.

The University Plan, which council has taken on, includes issues such as security in apartment complexes, parking, transportation and implementing an urban design, among others.

The action plans feature improvements large and small. With transportation, the plan discusses several items such as increased enforcement of pedestrian jaywalking, strobe light turn signals on all MTD buses and high visibility crosswalks on Wright and Fifth streets.

The Boneyard Corridor, through Scott Park, would allow students and residents to walk through the area, and questions arose about the closing time of the park. Alderman Tom Bruno proposed working with the city to establish a realistic closing time, if there is going to be one.

“I see this as a pathway between a downtown and a Campustown that have both become nocturnal in the middle of a group of citizens who are basically nocturnal, and all the reasons why we close parks at dusk may not apply to Scott Park,” Bruno says.

Bruno voiced concerns about the park closing at a time that residents and students wouldn’t expect it close, causing someone walking finding themselves subject to arrest.

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