Alternate driving routes save holiday shoppers from stress

By Kathleen Foody

Sitting in traffic on Prospect Avenue has become an aggravating part of holiday shopping for residents of Champaign and Campustown, but the city is doing its part to keep holiday spirits up this year, thanks to Operation Good to Go.

Signs labeling streets with catchy names have been posted on lesser known routes to the Prospect shopping area since the day after Thanksgiving, said Mishauno Woggon, planner in the city’s planning department.

“Most people take Prospect when they get to that area, and we’re trying to lessen and disperse the backup at the intersection of I-74 and Prospect Avenue,” she said.

The departments managed Operation Good to Go in cooperation with Surface 51, a design company that produced all the creative aspects of the project.

The department chose four routes that Woggon said are not used often because they opened to traffic fairly recently.

For students and residents of the area surrounding the University, Woggon recommended two of the “secret routes.”

“Autobahn Avenue,” officially known as Neil Street, is closest to campus and leads directly to Marketplace Mall and other stores like Kohl’s, Barnes & Noble and Toys “R” Us.

The “Super Secret Shortcut,” officially Boardwalk Drive, runs directly behind Beverly Cinemas, Meijer and Best Buy, with stores like Target and Circuit City just across Prospect Avenue.

“If you go up Boardwalk Drive, you can take a right on Town Center Boulevard and cut across to Old Navy or Target and never have to go into those major intersections on Prospect Avenue,” Woggon said.

The shortcut is especially useful if you’re just going to see a movie at Beverly Cinema, she added.

“You never have to deal with those five lights on Prospect Avenue,” she said. “If you’re only going to see a movie, you don’t want to have to worry about people getting stuck in the intersections between lights.”

To find more information, visit goodtogogogo.com or stop into a participating retailer to get a map.