PEORIA – No, you’re not in Europe. You’re in downtown Peoria.
It is the third roundabout for the city, and it was built at the intersection of Washington and Harrison Streets.
“They’re actually shown to be safer than a traditional intersection, and they are less costly on the maintenance side for us,” city engineer Scott Reeise said.
The purpose of the new roundabout is to slow traffic down, plus it is considered the gateway to the new development, letting drivers know they are entering the Warehouse District.
Construction started more than a year ago and has limited access to some businesses downtown.
“We have been able to go to all of the public meetings and share our comments and concerns, so all of the businesses have been very involved in the process,” Sharon Gramm, director of the Riverfront Association, said. “It’s just been a difficult year to have so many streets closed down.”
But Reeise said the roundabout is expected to boost business downtown in more ways than one.
“It does no good for a business, for a car to go past it at 50 miles per hour; they don’t see it. You want to slow traffic down to where they’re stopped; they see things,” he said.
But slowing traffic is not only vital downtown. It is also vital in neighborhoods.
New traffic circles on Russell Street, just off University Street, make the road more pedestrian-friendly.
“Now, it’s probably ten to 20 miles per hour, so it’s nice walking, running,” Dontarries Williams, a local resident, said.
Reeise does not expect much confusion with these new traffic changes, but said it is important to still use your turn signal when in a roundabout or traffic circle.
The downtown roundabout is the third one in Peoria, and the fourth one is already planned. That will be built at the intersection of Alta and Radnor Road.