email: csmyth at charliesmyth.org
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Last revision: 9/13/2012
To see current council and committee agendas please visit the City of Urbana Website Council Agendas.
Neighborhood Meetings: I will be at the Urbana Farmer's Market many Saturday's through October starting Saturday May 12 either at the Democrat's booth or at the Champaign County Bikes table in Row 5- please stop and chat. For this year, Community Groups will be in Row 5 parallel to Vine St. The ChampaignCountyBikes.org table has information on the various bike groups in the area including Prairie Cycle Club and theBikeProject including the cities' area bike map.
Ongoing Council Activities: We are about to begin discussion of the 2012-13 fiscal year budget that begins July 1. This will include discussion of Social Service Funding and awards to different groups, presentation of the Capital Improvement Plan (annual and 10 year rolling plan of city street, sewer, and related maintenance and construction), and presentations by each city department.
The City Website (urbanaillinois.us) was updated in 2011 with a new interface and uses a DRUPAL based Content Management System to allow for more city staff to post materials to the website. Please note that in addition to current information on the front page, there are 4 sections for Residents, Businesses, Visitors, and Government. The Residents section includes a number of popular topics (such as the onese mentioned above) and the Government section lists various boards and commissions along with council agendas and minutes.
Campus Safety/Bicycling/Pedestrian Issues: Various Campus Area Transportation and City reports were released in 2008 and a number of proposals were formulated that have since addressed or continue to address pedestrian and bicycling related issues. In 2010 Urbana became a Bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community, and the City Council hopes to achieve Silver status by 2014. The Urbana Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) Bike and Pedestrian Master plan is being updated as recommendations are acted upon. This plan was based on several public input meetings involving hired engineering staff from the Regional Planning Commission in conjuntion with Ed Barsotti of the League of Illinois Bicyclists. I expect these same folks to be involved in the update. As the plan is implemented, expect continued bike route signage, school crosswalk enhancements, and standardization of crosswalks as well as major complete street projects in the coming 2012 and 2013 construction seasons (for example, the Main Street bike lanes). The University of Illinois is now a bronze level bicycle friendly university and continues to work on it's Bicycle Master Plan. Champaign has made a number of roads bicycle friendly with the addition of bike lanes and signage. The City of Urbana has also applied for a grant to develop a Pedestrian Master Plan.
There are a number of new education efforts under way with respect to biking and walking with work being done by some with the League of Illinois Bicyclists. Various useful links can be found on the ChampaignCountyBikes.org web site to get involved in biking activism in Champaign County. We really need to work towards plans that encompass all of our communities.
Construction Season: Road construction and repairs for 2012 are just beginning. The 10 year Capital Improvement Plan for 2011 (CIP) is updated yearly for all road, sewer, and related lighting, sidewalk, and pathway projects. This document is available at the Urbana Public Library and parts are on the city web pages though the 2012 plan is not yet available. Past CIPs can be found in the archive.
If you have issues or questions, please contact me by phone or email. I am usually available by 8:30 weekdays and will answer email and phone messages as I can during the day, evenings and weekends (please indicated a "best time" to reach you if that's appropriate). I no longer stay up as late as I used to but in general, you can call as late as 10pm -- but feel free to call me in an emergency any time.
Council and Committee meetings are broadcast live (and repeated) on UPTV, Cable Channel 6 every Monday night at 7pm (though we meet on Tuesdays where Monday is a legal holiday and we don't meet on 5th Mondays of a month). A full schedule for UPTV can be found on the city web site: http://urbanaillinois.us/urbana/finance/is/uptv/Main.asp. All city financial reports are on line as well.
The 2005-09 City Council and Mayor developed a set of goals (Sept 2008 update) covering a variety of important issues that the mayor and a majority, if not all, council members support. As I mention above, we've adopted a new set for 2009-13. These serve as a road map for our work during our term on the council and form the basis of a number of study sessions and several task forces or commisions. If you are interested in helping out in one of the areas mentioned, or have ideas, please contact me. The linked sites include a progress report and updates from staff for the previous set and we've followed this same general pattern for each review occuring about every 6 months. These reviews are now coordinated by the Mayor's Chief of Staff, Mike Monson.