Walk, bike, or drive: Get around town

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District operates buses that travel both around the Quad and throughout Champaign and Urbana. There is no fare for students when showing the I-card, and using the bus system is an easy way to get where you need to go. MTD Josh Birnbaum

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District operates buses that travel both around the Quad and throughout Champaign and Urbana. There is no fare for students when showing the I-card, and using the bus system is an easy way to get where you need to go. MTD Josh Birnbaum

By Danielle Gaines

Incoming students often have different views of Champaign-Urbana as they start their life here. Some would consider the cities a bustling urban center while others are overcome with visions of unending cornfields and “farm-ness.”

Regardless of how one feels about the size and excitement of these city streets, navigating them will take everyone some getting used to. What are some of the key things that students should keep in mind while traveling in this new area?

“Keep in mind that pedestrians, bikes and cars are all competing for the same space at the same time,” said Lt. Holly Nearing of the Champaign Police Department. “And a pedestrian will always lose a collision with either of them.”

Nearing warned that bikes come from places that you don’t expect, such as coming the wrong way on a one-way street.

Though pedestrians and cars should be aware of their surroundings and watch for such instances, the biker would be at fault in the above situation Nearing said.

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In several areas of campus, along Wright Street for instance, there are paths for multiple modes of transportation: a sidewalk for pedestrians, bike path for cyclists, and the road way for motorists.

Though a pedestrian can not be ticketed for walking in the bike path, obeying and respecting other modes of transportation is key in remaining safe on campus, Nearing said.

Pedestrians and drivers need to be aware of marked crosswalks. Everyone should know that a car only has to yield to a pedestrian who is in a crosswalk or about to walk into one.

“A pedestrian will not win a race with a car to a crosswalk,” Nearing said.

The LiveUp campus safety program recommends that pedestrians follow the path well traveled.

“It’s a well-known fact that busy streets self-police. Use that to your advantage. Stay near groups of people, use well-lit and busy sidewalks. Conversely, avoid walking alone or walking near vacant lots, thru alleys or in empty parks,” its Web site said.

So if students are walking most of the time, how can they keep their vehicle safe?

“The way to keep your car safe is to not bring it to campus,” Nearing said.

She also recommends leaving expensive stereo systems at home and taking valuables inside every time the vehicle is parked. Nearing said that vehicle break-ins are the most prevalent crime on campus and the most commonly stolen items from cars are CDs, iPods, cellular phones and textbooks.

The LiveUp campaign advises students to “consider what the area will look like at night” when parking their cars earlier in the day.

The Campus Area Transportation Study created a list of intersections that were dangerous for transportation last year. Intersections included are: Illinois Street and Goodwin Avenue; Armory Avenue and Wright Street; and Fourth and Chalmers streets.

Committee members suggested that every intersection on Chalmers Street be considered dangerous.

A safe and convenient mode of transportation that students pay through fees is the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District. MTD buses run regularly on and off-campus and an I-card will get students to any location served. The full MTD schedule can be found at www.cumtd.com. u