Busy intersection re-opens in Peoria

By WEEK Reporter

May 12, 2014 Updated May 12, 2014 at 9:53 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. --Monday is a day many Peorians have been waiting weeks for.

After a $2.6 million dollar renovation, the Main and University intersection is back open to traffic.

The new intersection has several new safety features to help people who walk and bike in the area.

City officials say this is just the starting point for making the entire city more walk-able.

"We are in the center of a lot of construction work that has happened, that will shape the manner in which we interact in this part of the city for generations to come. It truly is a legacy project," said Chuck Grayeb, 2nd District Councilman.

After being closed for about a month and a half the open intersection is a welcome sight for frustrated drivers -- and students and business owners are even more excited about it.

Traffic here at the Main and University has been flowing for a couple of hours, but some of the new features will take some getting used to.

When you push a certain button, it stops traffic from all directions.
During that time, people can cross diagonally, which is unusual for a crosswalk.

The goal was to make the area more pedestrian friendly.
That's something that not only benefits the large student population but also area businesses.

"I just walked across real quick and you can tell it's cut in half. So it makes it a lot safer and it will make me feel a lot more comfortable and I know other students feel that way as well," said Aaron Ferguson, Bradley University student.

"We definitely had customers that mentioned it was a little scary with this intersection being so crowded and there wasn't a barrier between the street and the sidewalk. So we're really hoping it invites more families or more people who are nervous around the traffic," said Amy Sickinger, H.R. Manager at One World Cafe.

Public works employees will continue to monitor the intersection and said there will be some minor adjustments over time.

City engineer Scott Reeise said they plan to post signs in the coming weeks to let users know exactly how it works.