Why are we developing a Pedestrian Plan?
Champaign needs a Pedestrian Plan because everybody in Champaign is a pedestrian at some point during the day. Whether you walk between your home and your workplace, the bus stop and your school, or even the car and the grocery store, you deserve to have a safe and comfortable way of getting where you need to go.
Some parts of Champaign benefit from an excellent pedestrian network, where high quality sidewalks connect many destinations together. In other parts of our community, however, the pedestrian network is lacking. Pedestrian infrastructure may be in poor shape or even completely absent. The Pedestrian Plan will survey our community to find where and how people are walking, and recommend projects and policy changes that the City of Champaign should make to make walking safe and comfortable in every part of our community.
What are the goals of the Pedestrian Plan?
We have several goals for the Pedestrian Plan:
- To establish a vision for the advancement of Champaign’s pedestrian system
- To inventory the strengths and needs of Champaign’s existing pedestrian system
- To promote health and wellness for residents by improving the walkability of the community
- To establish clear priorities for pedestrian infrastructure improvements citywide
- To identify pedestrian improvement projects and identify resources for their construction
How will the Pedestrian Plan be developed?
Phase 1: Existing Conditions Report
We need to understand the current state of our pedestrian network. The Pedestrian Plan will analyze the pedestrian network at both the citywide and neighborhood scale. There are many neighborhoods in Champaign where people can walk between residences, offices, shops, and restaurants, but the pedestrian network in those neighborhoods often poses barriers to walking between those destinations easily and comfortably. These neighborhoods likely share many important characteristics, but their differences will demand individualized attention.
Phase 2: Issue Identification
Challenges facing pedestrians fall into four basic categories.
Facilities: Is the sidewalk in good condition? Is there even a sidewalk to walk on? Are there paths for recreational walking?
Crossings: Do pedestrians feel comfortable crossing the street? Are there marked crosswalks? Do traffic signals account for pedestrians, or only drivers? When pedestrians are waiting to cross, are they visible to oncoming vehicles?
Connections: When people want to walk between destinations, are they able to do so directly or does the network make them go out of their way? Is it easy to cross barriers such as bridges, railroads, and parking lots?
Livability: Is the pedestrian environment welcoming to walkers? Are paths well lit at night? Do trees provides shade? Is the path comfortably separated from traffic? Are there places to sit down, get a drink, or throw away trash?
Phase 3: Strategy Development
We will develop a plan to address problems facing pedestrians. Our pedestrian network needs upgrades in many places. Prioritizing these upgrades ensures that we address areas of greatest need most promptly. Other public agencies that connect to our pedestrian network, such as Champaign Unit 4 Schools and Champaign Park District, will be important partners at this step.
Strategies will take the form of both projects and policies. Projects are direct physical improvements to the pedestrian network. Potential projects include the installation of a mid-block crossing across a busy street or the installation of better lighting along pedestrian paths. In contrast, policies can be implemented without direct City investment in the pedestrian network. For instance, new parking lots may be required to provide a protected path for customers walking between their cars and the front door.
Who is involved in the Pedestrian Plan?
Supporting safe and comfortable walking in Champaign is too important a task to be left to any one group.
The City of Champaign is a leader in the planning efforts, and staff from several different departments will be involved throughout the process. The Planning & Development Department is the project manager for the Pedestrian Plan.
Other local agencies will also help analyze our existing conditions, identify issues, and develop strategies for improving the pedestrian network. The Champaign Urbana Public Health District is funding a portion of the existing conditions report, while members of the C-U Safe Routes to School Project already have several years experience of encouraging Champaign kids to walk to school.
Finally, and most importantly, public participation is crucial to developing a plan that meets our community’s needs. The planning process offers several different avenues for public participation. Make your voice heard!
What neighborhoods are having walkabouts?
The following neighborhoods are having walkabouts:
- Windsor & Galen Area
- South Downtown
- North Prospect
- Prospect & Bloomington Area
- Garden Hills
- Douglass Park
- Country Fair
For more information regarding these walkabouts, see how you can be involved.
Why isn’t there a walkabout in my neighborhood?
Unfortunately, we are unable to conduct walkabouts in every Champaign neighborhood. However, we selected neighborhoods that represent a broad range of neighborhood types. The lessons we learn from them can likely be applied to your neighborhood as well. Even if your neighborhood does not have a walkabout scheduled, it will receive full consideration as we develop priorities for pedestrian improvements.
Wherever you live or work, we encourage you to take the Pedestrian Plan Survey and tell us what works well and what needs improvement. The Pedestrian Plan will support walkability in every Champaign neighborhood.