EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A Greater Peoria coalition is working to make sure everyone has the right to accessible transportation. Leaders are working to be more inclusive and safe when it comes to mobility access for everyone.

You can take part in an upcoming conversation to voice your opinions when it comes to complete streets, plus community designs for economic, environmental, and public health initiatives.

“This is what you call transportation equity,” said Director of Community Health Policy & Planning Dr. Leslie McKnight with the Peoria City/County Health Department. “So, this is access for all. Everyone has a right to get [from] Point A to Point B.”

A February discussion is organized by Active People, Healthy Illinois. It’s providing a table where city staff, business owners, community stakeholders, and more can share why everyone has a right to accessible transportation.

“[We’re] bringing this diverse group of people together, that rarely – if ever – get together in one room,” said Planning Program Manager Ray Lees with the Tazewell County Regional Planning Commission. “From hospital officials, to planners, to health officials, to engineers, and everyone and the general public.”

“We just want to make the community aware that we are intentional about that and as projects become available to give all populations the opportunity to be a part of that planning process,” said Dr. McKnight.

A current project putting action behind words is the Bob Michel Bridge renovation. Soon, walkers and bicyclists will be able to pass between Tazewell and Peoria counties through protected concrete barriers.

“That is a real key connecting element in the region because now we have that connection at the Bob Michel Bridge — the new span of the McCluggage Bridge — will also have a 14′ barrier-protected pathway,” said Lees. “This whole issue of active transportation and addressing the needs of everyone that needs to move, whether it’s as a pedestrian, bicyclist, or automotive, that it is now in the design standards for future bridges for the state of Illinois. So, it has gotten that kind of attention and it’s baked into the design process.”

National Health, Planning, and Transportation Consultant, Mark Fenton, will join the conversation on Feb. 1. It’s taking place at East Peoria’s City Hall.

A walk audit demonstration will also happen.

Registration for the free presentation is open now and closes on Jan. 27.

To register: email Debbie Ulrich at dulrich@tricountyrpc.org or call 309-673-9796×221.

Lunch will be provided.