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City, Residents Mull Over Options for Main and University Changes

PEORIA - It is one of the busiest intersections in the city. At the intersection of Main and University streets cars are constantly backed up, and pedestrians, like student Andrew Watson, are always crossing the street.
PEORIA - It is one of the busiest intersections in the city. At the intersection of Main and University streets cars are constantly backed up, and pedestrians, like student Andrew Watson, are always crossing the street.
"I live just on the other side of one world out there on university street right there," he said.  
Watson is a senior at Bradley University who lives just off the intersection. Still, he does his best to avoid this crosswalk as best as possible.
"People are trying to get through it the last second while other traffic is trying to get through at the same time,” said Watson. “And, I mean, I've almost gotten hit by cars while waiting on the intersection because they are trying to get through as fast as they can."
Unfortunately, Watson is not alone.
"In the last month, I think I almost got killed four times trying to cross there," said one female resident.  
More than 100 people attended a public meeting at Bradley University to get concerns off their chest.
"I am also extremely concerned that our neighborhoods are protected from cut through traffic. I think that is detrimental to our residential goal,” said one resident. “This should be a residential destination and not a thoroughfare."
City engineers have considered various ideas, including wider walkways or a roundabout. Another idea is to elevate roads with no sidewalks or curbs. The goals are to reduce traffic speed, congestion and make it safer for people on foot.
"It's about trying to deal with the problems in a comprehensive manner," said Mike Rogers, Peoria Public Works Director  
Of the options considered, engineers say a roundabout at the intersection is an unlikely solution.
Suggestions from residents included an elevated pedestrian walkway or the creation of bike lanes.
Earlier in the August, a water main break temporarily shut down the intersection. Public Works official say the roadway needs renovations, but engineers are waiting to hear reconstructions suggestions.  
All of the ideas proposed in the meeting on Thursday are merely suggestions, according to Rogers. Ideas will be considered by the city as plans develop.
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