Horner & Shifrin, Inc., as part of a team, assisted in the completion of Marion Downtown study for Southern Illinois Metropolitan Planning Organization (SIMPO). Horner & Shifrin’s transportation engineering duties including signing review, crash data review, investigation of geometric improvements, public meeting support and aerial survey.
Horner & Shifrin utilized a multi-rotor drone to complete an aerial survey of the proposed project corridor. Field crews were able mobilize and quickly capture nadir and oblique imagery of the project site without disrupting traffic or other municipal operations. GPS control points were placed throughout the project corridor to ensure horizontal and vertical accuracy. After field collection our staff utilized a combination of programs such as Pix4D mapper, ArcGIS pro, and Bentley ContextCapture to create a classified 3D point cloud, Digitial Surface Model, and 3D reality mesh that could be used for civil design purposes. The aerial survey and data processing were completed in less than a weeks worth of time and provided additional data that would not have been possible to collect using traditional survey methods alone.
The team reviewed provided crash data to identify three crash hot spots and provided recommendations to reduce crashes in the future. Our team reviewed the existing geometrics of the square and provided a layout to convert the yield condition square to a modern roundabout. The modern roundabout also incorporated design styling which were consistent with the interior square provided by the team planner. Raised parking areas are suggested to allow for parking during non-event days but could easily be converted during large events. Establishing pedestrian refugees and consistent driver expectation for operation in and around the square is the goal.
The improvements were then presented to the general public, downtown business owners, and downtown building owners at an Open House hosted July 9, 2020. The verbal and written feedback to the proposed changes were overwhelmingly positive which encouraged the City to move forward with its vision. As a great first step in making the recommended changes, an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Grant was submitted in November of 2020. The submitted project, if awarded in the spring of 2021, would convert the alleyways into pedestrian pathways and convert the on-street parking on the Square into flexible event space. The vision for the downtown in one that activates the Tower Square year round and provides flexible in use. It introduces a water feature for the warm months and an area for an ice rink in the winter months. It provides new parking areas that can convert to outdoor plazas.