Urbana City Council talks on cell phone legislation, Philo Road improvement

By Rob Warren

On Monday night, the Urbana City Council discussed possibilities for legislation that would penalize people who talk on their cell phones while driving.

“The most important part is to find out, what’s the focus,” said Dennis Roberts, D-Ward 5. He questioned whether the law would be enforceable and also whether it would be independently enforced or simply tacked onto a different traffic violation. An example, he said, would be tripling the fine for a different offense if the driver was on a cell phone.

Danielle Chynoweth, D-Ward 2, agreed that such legislation was necessary, but said she had reservations.

“As a person who drives with a cell phone quite well, I have concerns about how this will work,” she said.

Roberts said the legislation was still in a conceptual stage and Urbana will try to work with Champaign for a clear and focused code.

The council also discussed possible course of actions to improve the condition of Philo Road and the surrounding area.

Lynne Barnes, D-Ward 7, gave an update on the progress the council has made for the Philo Road area. This included the installation of new garbage cans, speaking with businesses to make sure they clean up their refuse, and plans for the city to trim and weed unkempt areas. The city also plans to add to its sanitation laws to make the responsibility of garbage pickup more clear.

“The area needs more than garbage cans,” said Gracia Zabala, Urbana resident.