This photo is of the University of Illinois Campustown. I decided to put Champaign-Urbana in the title because when I shot this photo, I was standing in Urbana and shooting toward Champaign. The pedestrian pictured is on the Urbana side, while the buildings are on the Champaign side. Wright Street is the dividing street in this part of the two cities.
An interesting side note: I’m willing to wager that most students do not know that Wright Street divides the two cities. In fact, there are very few places where there are signs saying what city you’re in. I find this to be true for quite a few Illinois cities (I’ll probably get some disagreement from Illinoisans on this, but I think I’m right). In the two other states I’ve lived in – Ohio and California – you know when you’re entering a new jurisdiction. In Ohio, it gets a bit outrageous sometimes because of the annexing powers of cities and the battles between the townships – you can go in and out of cities five or six times along the same road within a short distance. But that’s for another day…
Back on topic now… Campustown did not look like this when I was in school. Right after I left, the city of Champaign did some major streetscaping and a road diet on Green Street – the main artery for Campustown. This has had a dramatic effect on the businesses and culture on Green Street. Before, many businesses had a hard time surviving – especially during summer months. Now, it’s seemingly thriving.
Since I’m attempting to keep these postings brief, I’ll end by saying that both cities, especially Champaign, have some nice synergy going in terms of implementing more walkable neighborhoods. Champaign is definitely turning into what I described in a previous article as a Mecca in the Cornfields. You can also view my photos of Champaign and the University of Illinois campus.
This article is a part of the Exploring the Walkability of America in 30 Days photo series.