Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) in Belleville is taking steps to incorporate the College MetroLink Station more into the campus to create a more walkable, accessible environment for students and residents.
The SWIC Green Campus Initiative is a joint effort between Southwestern Illinois College & the St. Clair County Transit District (SCCTD) to integrate the College Metrolink station more fully into the campus and the surrounding community.
Growth from campus and surrounding residential and commercial developments are overloading the existing public roadways and campus roadways. This project creates a campus circulator for pedestrians and vehicles, while also mitigating the strain the station puts on campus roadways. A roundabout will be provided which will allow an additional future circulator legs to be added as the campus continues to grow.
Efforts will include additional turn lanes added at campus exits to mitigate congestion from students and/or the MetroLink station. Architecturally designed amenities for the college, such as landscaping, lighted paths, retaining walls, and benches, will be designed by college architect/planner, Ittner Architects.
At the north side of campus, IL Route 161, a 5-lane highway, separates Green Mount Commons from the campus. Over 400 pedestrians per day cross IL 161 (Average Daily Traffic count = 14,800 vehicles) from the SWIC property to this development, without a designated pedestrian crossing or signal. This project will provide pedestrian crosswalks/pushbuttons, as well as a barrier fence on campus between crossings to direct the pedestrians to the improved crossings.
The MetroBikeLink, a 4.3 mile trail adjacent to the light rail tracks, enters the campus from the south. The project will include a pedestrian bridge to provide safe crossing to existing trail users. The trail system adjacent to the MetroLink line is currently being expanded both to the east and the west, and will eventually be nearly 15 miles long, from Shiloh/Scott Station at the far east end to Fairview Heights Station.
An adjacent residential subdivision approached the City of Belleville to see about getting direct access to the nearby trail. Through negotiations with SCCTD, a paved connector will be constructed. The City of Belleville will own and maintain the trail, which will provide 175 households with direct access to the trail system and the nearby MetroLink Station.
These multi-modal improvements provide the foundation for future additions to campus and also the accessibility of the transit station and the pedestrian/bike trail. Construction will begin later this summer, and is expected to be completed at the end of 2013.