The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

February 16, 2013

Take a good look at street project


DANVILLE — Danville officials recently proposed a plan to make significant changes to Vermilion Street on the north edge of downtown. The changes include lane reductions, lane realignments and the addition of a median along part of the street.

The plan prompted several questions from aldermen recently, with the proposed median drawing criticism from Alderman Bill Black.

Considering North Vermilion Street serves as the main thoroughfare into downtown, Black raises a good point.

A median with landscaping would be an aesthetically pleasing sight for visitors, but the unintended consequences of such an addition create cause for concern.

During winters when we see significant snowfall, the median could impede plows and most likely would become a collection area for snow. The dirty piles tend to stick around long after the storm that brought them.

The medians also could encourage pedestrians to cut across the street in the middle of blocks, creating a potential hazard for them and motorists.

Depending on the height of landscaping used in the medians, drivers might not notice someone stepping into the street until it’s too late to avoid an accident.

Plus, with some city streets in need of repair, the estimated $70,000 cost of constructing the medians might be put to better use elsewhere.

City officials should look at the Vermilion Street plan with a practical eye before they approve it. The proposed median would add a patch of color to the area, but its potential problems might outweigh that benefit.