I have yet to send in my seat deposit but will almost assuredly be attending UIUC this fall. I am currently looking into housing options and was wondering if any current students could throw some advice my way about navigating Champagne. Are there certain locations that are within walking distance to the law school? What is reasonable for rent for a one bedroom (I'm coming from Ann Arbor where rent is ridiculously high; might as well be living in Chicago for what I'm paying right now)? Is it necessary to have a car in Champagne? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I realize this is about 2 pages back, but thought I would weigh in as a current undergrad and likely law student this fall.
This will only address living within walking distance (<20 min) as it is by no means necessary to have a car in order to live comfortably in Urbana-Champaign, plus OP specifically wanted to know about CU life sans car.Champaign
If you are not looking for a party environment, do not live anywhere within the area bounded by Green Street to the North, 1st Street to the West, Wright Street to the East and Gregory Drive to the South. Almost all of the fraternities (keeping in mind that we have the largest Greek system in the US by number of chapters) and undergrad bars are located within this area. The majority of reported crime in the campus area also occurs within this vicinity.
Living North of Green Street (but South of Springfield Ave.) is manageable but would not be the most desirable place for someone looking to stay away from undergrads.
The area North of Springfield Avenue but South of University Avenue is a great, cheap place (many quality 1 bedroom and studios in this area range from $350 - $500) to live. The area surrounds the Northern part of the engineering campus and is relatively quiet because most undergrads don't like living 4 blocks North of all the action going on by Green Street and seem to have a very skewed concept of what constitutes "far." Another plus for this area is the close proximity to County Market, which is the only decent grocery store within the campus area.Urbana
Urbana is also a great place to live that is well within walking distance to the Law School. Crossing Lincoln Avenue to the East is like going from night to day. Urbana is very quiet area with several brick streets, ample green space, has a much lower crime rate than Champaign and a lot of older dwellings. Living in Urbana tends to be more expensive than Champaign for several of the qualities mentioned in the previous sentence.
My comments for the area North of Springfield Avenue but South of University Avenue in Urbana are roughly the same as my Champaign comments, however, it would take a little longer to get to the Law School from there and its not as close to County Market, but it's not that far either.Urbana-Champaign Transportation for those W/O a Car
Both cities are very bike friendly, with lots of bike lanes, bike paths, bike shops, etc. The area also has one of the best public transit systems for twin cities of their size. CUMTD, which runs the transit system, is largely subsidized by the University and supplies ample bus routes that run regularly to all sorts of locations on and off campus. There are a few bus stops around the Law Building, and several more within a block (especially around the Activities and Recreation Center, the ARC). And, when all else fails, walking is generally not a problem.Other
I did not address living South of the Law School because there is almost nothing, aside from the University's livestock and farm land, and definitely no places to live within walking distance.
Urbana has a Tenant Bill of Rights and provides a lot more protection for those renting than Champaign does.
The University is also one of the last Big Ten schools that still has a Tenant Union for students, they are really helpful and offer a lot of assistance to grad students unfamiliar with the campus who are looking for housing (http://www.tenantunion.uiuc.edu/
Of the larger landlords, the only one with a really good reputation (= no complaints to the Tenant Union in 40+ years) is Roland Realty, however, living in their apartments or houses tends to be very expensive.
Campus Property Management and the University Group are cheap but have sub-par reputations for a reason.
There are a lot of great smaller landlords, they just require more research to discover.
Hope this helps OP and anyone else unfamiliar with the area.