Research Park, University, and City of Champaign Seek Sidewalk at St. Mary's Road Viaduct

March 05, 2018
St. Mary's Viaduct

Read the full story on the News-Gazette.

Ten years ago, in 2008, The Champaign County Regional Planning Commission recommended that a sidewalk be added to the St. Mary's Road Viaduct, which would cost significantly less than building a whole new tunnel under the viaduct for pedestrians and bikers. 

However, there is still no safe passage under the viaduct now ten years later--and the Research Park, the University, and the City of Champaign don't believe this proposal can be put on the back burner any longer. 

In the last ten years, the Research Park has grown exponentionally, doubling in size and the amount of employees, growing from only 949 employees and 8 buildings to over 2,000 employees and 17 buildings. Those employees would love to walk under the viaduct to Neil Street restuarants, if it were a safe option. 

Research Park Director, Laura Frerichs stated, "We get regular complaints that people would probably love to be able to just walk across the street and take advantage of that, but you've got a viaduct situation that is pedestrian-precarious, it's hazardous."

Recently, Champaign's Planning and Public Works Department met with UI officials, including Frerichs, and decided to conduct a study and search for funding after there was a consensus on safety concerns at the viaduct. 

While these are just the beginning stages of the project, and it is still likely a far way off, it is a good first step to a safe passage to Neil Street for University and Research Park employees.