About 50 years ago, I seem to recall seeing a published master plan depicting major automobile routes serving North-South travel through the city of Belleville indicating their proposed widening, with curbs and sidewalks added for the ease of auto and pedestrian use. Some of those traffic corridor improvements have been accomplished and are serving admirably, but one has not.
Travelers moving west along our southern border on Illinois 15 and 13 have one last opportunity to move to our north belt (Illinois 161) via 74th Street and a small part of Carson Drive and many do just that. Moving north on South 74th Street is smooth and safe, but that is no longer true once you cross West Main Street to continue on North 74th Street. There, you suddenly find yourself on a crowned, winding, poorly lit, oil and chip road often having vehicles parked on both sides and pedestrians (trying to access Main Street bus stops) and bicycles moving down the center of the pavement — since their only other choice is to try to negotiate ditches, culverts, terraces and dense patches of wooded vegetation directly beside the road. On a dark, rainy night, or facing southwest directly into the late afternoon sun, the cars, pedestrians and bicycles trying to share this route all face a hazardous situation.
I really don’t feel it presumptuous to hope that this “forgotten corridor” might receive some deserved attention.
D.A. Klingel, Belleville