UPDATE (7:10 p.m.)– Peoria City Council has voted to approve the $14 million project.
PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria City Council is set to approve a long-awaited $14 million project to upgrade traffic signals and convert two major thoroughfares in downtown Peoria.
Specifically, Adams St. from William Kumpf Blvd. to Hamilton Blvd. and Jefferson St. from William Kumpf Blvd. to Fayette St will be converted from one-way to two-way streets.
“For me, this is a historic moment for the council. We are reshaping our downtown, what it’s going to look like for future generations. It’s a legacy project… If you take a look at the way they are now, they’re designed to move traffic as quickly as possible through our downtown. All that destroys commerce,” said Peoria City Councilman Chuck Grayeb.
Grayeb said the project represents the “rebirth and renaissance” of downtown Peoria.
“It’s to rebalance the equation between the car on the one hand and the pedestrian on the other, and to restore vibrancy and vitality to our commerce downtown. I believe it’s going to work,” he said.
Nick McMillion, the communications specialist at Peoria Public Works, said the project initially started as an idea to improve traffic signals of Jefferson and Adams from pedestal-mounted signals to signals hanging over the street.
Initial designs show complete streets with room for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists at the same time.
“The goal is to bring people downtown, to have a better experience. Whether they are driving, whether they are walking, whether they are biking, and more of an overall complete street vision… Different blocks of the project will feature bike lanes, parking, turn lanes. So it really just depends on the different stretches,” said McMillion.
Grayeb said these conversations have been going on and off since the 1990s. In 2018, Peoria City Council approved a conceptual framework with input from businesses and residents.
“This is what the people wanted during all these meetings. Businesses have been suffering, people have had a lot of problems crossing streets safety. So progress is being made tonight and I couldn’t be happier,” he said.
McMillion said once the proposal is approved by the council, then bidding on projects will commence. He anticipates construction to begin in late fall 2023 and wrap up in 2025.
The project comes at no cost to taxpayers, as it is funded by $1.8 million in federal IDOT grants, $9.1 million in local funding match, and $3.2 million in state motor fuel tax.