EducationPublic FundsTransportation

Students living at The Place at 117 to have a safer way to bike to campus

Marykate Green / For CU-CitizenAccess

A grant from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) has supported the Village of Savoy’s intent to construct a shared use path along First Street next year, estimated to cost $1.2 million.

The Place at 117 is a student living apartment complex located in Savoy at the intersection of First Street and Curtis Road. It’s a 10-minute drive to campus by car or a 30-minute ride on the public bus. Yet 1 mile of the 2.3 mile bike ride from the complex to campus along First Street are missing bike lanes and lighting, and the Village of Savoy plans to fix that.

Letter-of-Interest-1st-Street-ITEP-Shared-Use-Project-CE-Services

The grant will be 100% matched by the village in local funds, according to ITEP records, which show just over 100 grants given across the state as of Aug. 23, 2021. Other recipients of grants received state assistance equaling 50% of the local funds put up, or received all funding through the enhancement program. 

A vision of the changes from the shared use path plans shared by the Village of Savoy.

According to a representative of the Village of Savoy, they received an ITEP grant in this year to complete the First Street Shared Use Path. The anticipated start date is April 1, 2022 and the completion date is August 19, 2022. A completion date doesn’t necessarily mean the project will be finished; however, it just requires that the contractor must be substantially complete by this date, barring a significant number of rain dates or significant material and/or labor shortages.

In January of 2020, plans were drawn up for a shared use path along First Street from Curtis Road to Windsor Road. As described by the Village of Savoy, this project is a “ten-foot-wide concrete shared use path with pedestrian scale lighting.” This shared use path is needed due the narrow nature of the road and lack of street lights located on that specific section of First Street.

Darrell Hoemann The Place at 117 exterior (117 Sterling Ct, Savoy) on Sunday, December 19, 2021. Photo by Darrell Hoemann/CU-CitizenAccess

This solution impacts the students of the University of Illinois that live at The Place at 117. One such student, Brianna Young, is a senior at the University of Illinois and has been living at The Place for the past two years. 

“Last year, it really wasn’t an issue for me as all of my classes were online. But, with almost all of my classes moving to in-person, I’ve discovered the one downside to living at this apartment complex,” Young said. “I like to ride my bike to campus so that I get there quicker and on my own time. If I took the bus, I’d end up having to leave way earlier than I like in order to make it to class on time.”

Young said safety is lowered due to the street and lighting conditions at times.

“But, with there being no path and no streetlights on that stretch of road there [First Street from Curtis Road to Windsor Road], I have to take into account when I would be riding home as I don’t want to be riding down that road in the dark,” she said. “So most days I’m left taking the bus, which takes a whole hour out of my day just for travel.”

Marykate Green / For CU-CitizenAccess

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