News Local/State

Latest Phase of MCORE Construction Closes Green Street At Illini Union

A view of Green Street near Wright Street in Urbana.

The Illini Union building can be seen in this view of Green Street, near Wright Street on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana. Green Street from Wright to Goodwin will be closed for much of the summer as part of work on the MCORE project. Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

A portion of Green Street in Champaign was closed to traffic a few weeks ago, as part of work on the MCORE (Multimodal Corridor Enhancement) project, which aims to improve traffic flow through Champaign-Urbana’s Campustown area and University District.

But there may be greater disruption, when another section of Green Street is closed down for MCORE-related work, starting on Monday, May 22.

The latest MCORE project shuts down Green Street from Wright to Goodwin in Urbana, including the front entrance to the University of Illinois’ Illini Union.

To make it possible for motorists to access the Illini Union, plus other buildings on the university’s Main Quad and Engineering (or Bardeen) Quad, the One-Way configuration has been altered on Mathews Avenue, which intersections Green Street in the construction area.

Urbana Public Works Director William Gray explains that while Mathews is usually a northbound street north of Green Street, and southbound south of Green, the dividing line between the two directions will be moved to Springfield Avenue while Green Street is closed. Gray says this will make it possible for motorists to drive by the Main and Engineering Quads, even Green Street is closed in that area.

“They would need to travel to Springfield at Matthews, and do what normally is a prohibited turn, but now will be a permitted turn to go south on Mathews,” said Gray.

From Matthews, motorists will be able to reach parking for the Engineering Hall and the Illini Union. While the latter building’s front entrance will be closed during work on Green Street, the building will be accessible from its other three sides.

The closure of Green Street in the University District is part of the first of five projects within the overall MCORE project.  The closure of Green Street near the Canadian National tracks in Champaign is actually part of work on Project Two. Future projects will make improvements to White Street in Champaign, Wright Street and Armory Avenue in the University District and another portion of Green Street east of the campus, leading into downtown Urbana.

Transportation Engineer Roland White with U of I Facilities and Services, says when it’s all completed, MCORE will help link the Campustown area with downtown Champaign and Urbana, and make travel through the U of I campus area easier for all modes of transit — cars, buses, bicyclists and pedestrians. He says the corridor will be reconfigured, so that buses can pick up and drop off passengers with less weaving across the street, and less conflict with pedestrian traffic. Also, bike lanes will be moved from the sidewalk to the street, but with some separation from the motor traffic.

“We actually have many more people visiting and coming to the campus every day than there are parking spaces,” said White. “So we need an efficient, safe transportation system, for all different modes of transportation.” 

The $45 million MCORE project is partially funded by a federal TIGER grant (for federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant) from the U-S Department of Transportation.  The cites of Champaign and Urbana, the University of Illinois and the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District are working together on the project. Officials believe the project will be completed some time around 2020.