As Irene Mekus and her fiancé, Angel Munoz, of East Moline, looked over the map of the two-and-a-half mile Illinois 92 corridor that stretches from Rock Island to Silvis the two were pretty much in sync about what they would like to see improved.
“From East Moline, when you’re entering Moline from East Moline, I would like to see that road smoother,” Mekus said, as Munoz smiled and nodded. “It’s pretty bumpy and it’s been bumpy for years.”
Mekus and Munoz were among 25 people who attended a workshop Thursday at the Moline Public Library to discuss possible changes to the corridor.
Participants were asked what improvements they would make so the corridor was easier and safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and those using other modes of transportation, as well as how to spruce it up and add economic value.
“As for businesses, there are properties that need to be fixed up, that could use a little refreshing,” Mekus said. “Turn the space into a green space if it’s not going to be used and repaired.”
Munoz said lanes on the street need to be painted so they can be seen at night. “But also, there needs to be additional upkeep of some of the crossing walks. Some of them don’t work so you have to look both ways to make sure you’re OK to cross the street.”
Lesley Roth, associate principal and director of urban planning for Chicago-based RATIO Architects, said the four cities in the corridor decided something needed to be done to make it more attractive and viable to business, visitors and residents.
“There have been issues with the corridor,” Roth said, “but now, especially with the new bridge (I-74 bridge) being built it’s a great time for these cities to come together under the umbrella of the Bi-State Regional Commission to take on a project of this scale and magnitude.
“What we’re finding is this region is very forward-thinking and it was a great opportunity for Bi-State to be able to commission this study,” Roth added.
The other companies involved are Gewalt Hamilton Associates of Vernon Hills, Illinois, and Fish Transportation Group of Oak Park, Illinois. Fish is concentrating on the multi-modal portion of transportation along the corridor, particularly pedestrian and bike movements.
Roth said the corridor changes along its two-and-a-half miles, and is a mixture of residential, industrial, business, education, and institutional higher education with Augustana College.
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“There needs to be a cohesive vision that is consistent with the region’s idea of making this whole Quad-Cities multi-modal contact sensitive environment,” she said.
“There are some really cool things happening along the Illinois 92 corridor but you never see it because you’re going too fast and trying not to hit someone, you’re like on your way to work rushing to get somewhere," she said.
The study will look at the unique character of each section, she added. “We want to reinforce what’s great about each one of the communities.”
Roth said they joined the project about two months ago, so everything is in its early stages.
“We’ve had one meeting with our steering committee and Bi-State,” she said. “This is our first public workshop. It’s really an exciting time.”
Maria Aranda and her family own El Pueblo Mexican Grill in Silvis and she also works for Deere & Co. headquarters.
“I think I would like to see the businesses in the corridor advertise more so that people know about what we have available in Silvis instead of just coming to Silvis for the Moonlight Parade that we promote,” she said.
Aranda added there is construction going on and Silvis “likes to promote the small businesses and they like to help small business. You don’t have to go anywhere else.”
Amanda Sherwood, executive director of Silvis Main Street, said, “I’m more into design and making it look nicer to draw attention.”
“Uptown Silvis, above the hill, is really nice,” Sherwood said. “I think we need to spruce up the downtown, have businesses spruce up their buildings and make our downtown look nicer.”
Roth said more meetings for public input will be scheduled.