Safe and effective campus travel options
May 20, 2018
The University’s campus is large and learning to navigate it can be intimidating. Many new students wonder how they’ll find their way around to class, run errands or go to work without having a car available to them. Fortunately, there are many safe and efficient ways to get around even for students without a car.
The best and most popular way to get around campus is to walk. Despite the size of the campus, nearly everything can be reached within a reasonable walking distance. Wide sidewalks and well-controlled crosswalks make campus safe for pedestrians while allowing them to avoid the congested roads that plague the surrounding streets between classes. Not only is walking through campus more efficient than driving, it allows students to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. It is also the best way to learn the layout of the area and get acquainted with various campus landmarks. After dark, the University of Illinois Police Department sponsors a SafeWalks program so students don’t have to walk alone at night. The service can be reached via phone at 217-333-1216.
When walking isn’t an option due to constraints on time or distance, students can take advantage of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District system. The MTD is simple to understand and can take students anywhere they might need to go on campus. Additionally, there are lines that run to the downtown areas of Champaign and Urbana and other neighboring areas. Between dusk (5 p.m./7 p.m.) and 6 a.m., the MTD offers a SafeRides service, which can be contacted by phone at 217-265-7433. For more information on SafeRides, and up-to-date routes and travel times, download the MTD app.
Biking is a great option for students who need to get somewhere quickly. The campus is covered with wide bike paths that make the roads safe for bikers. Bike racks are available outside nearly every University building, including residence halls, so finding a place to store a bike is never difficult. Students should register their bikes with the Campus Bike Center and make sure they are equipped with the proper locks before committing to keeping a bike on campus. For non-bikers who are still looking for unique travel options scooters, rollerblades and the like are also welcome options on bike paths.
For travel outside of the Champaign-Urbana area, students have many options. The Peoria Charter Coach buses offer frequent trips from on-campus locations to the Chicago area, including O’Hare and Midway. For even more flexibility, the Amtrak and the Greyhound also operate out of downtown Champaign.
Katie is a junior in LAS.