Council discusses transportation and pension

By Rachel Bass

The Champaign County Regional Planning Commission presented its Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) to Champaign City Council members Tuesday night.

The LRTP shows transportation development for the next 20 years. According to Bruce Knight, city planning director, the proposed LRTP would give more public transportation services to inner-city Champaign and the University district, decreasing congestion. Knight said he hoped that would increase bicycle and pedestrian traffic, and combat car dependence. An additional proposal would add bicycle lanes to city streets.

Councilman Michael LaDue said he would vote for the LRTP. He said too many people were unaccustomed to sharing the road with cyclists and he hoped the proposal would be more cyclist-friendly.

Susan Chavarria, the commission’s transportation planner, said the Champaign-Urbana Urbanized Transportation Study (CUUTAS) would accept public input via e-mail or call-ins through Oct. 19.

The council also discussed the proposed 2004 property tax raise. The raise would provide money for public safety pensions, general funds and public library operations. It would also provide disability pension for one to two Champaign police officers a year. Eighteen officers are now on disability.

Patrick Kelly of the Champaign Police Department addressed the council about funding for disability pensions. He voiced concerns that Champaign police do not receive sufficient funding. The pension is $24 million in debt.