Tag Archives: Transportation
Local elections matter.
There are six seats on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors; at least two will be contested this year. Every race should always be contested, so thanks to those who are volunteering to run for seat that pay $14,542 per year.
Jack Jouett – retiring Dennis Rooker has anointed School Board Rep Diantha McKeel as his successor.
Samuel Miller – Liz Palmer, board member for Albemarle County Service Authority, will be running against incumbent Duane Snow
Rio District – Urban and Environmental planner Brad Sheffield will run again incumbent Rodney Thomas.
To my eye, the announced races seem to be very much managed-growth (challengers) versus not-so-well-managed-growth (incumbents).
Pay attention, folks. Albemarle County is (and has been for years) at a crossroads. Think less of the “Austin or Aspen or Arlington ” debate and more of the “Loudoun County or Albemarle County” debate.
Get ready as well to follow the money at VPAP, the Virginia Public Access Project.
The County of Albemarle (and City of Charlottesville for that matter) seem to have a “planning for traffic” plan in which they approve stuff and then, twenty years later, seem stunned that more houses and shopping brought more people and traffic … and then they (we) have to deal with said traffic and congestion.
U.S. 250 in the Crozet growth area needs to be retrofitted to accommodate the kind of traffic generated there — including pedestrian traffic.
But the issue goes deeper than that — all the way to the growth pattern that created the problem in the first place.
Within two years, two pedestrians have died near the Blue Ridge Shopping Center, on one side of the highway, and Clover Lawn Village, on the other.
These developments — along with nearby subdivisions — were approved to locate along the highway, which made a certain sense at the time by allowing traffic to take advantage of existing infrastructure.
But the growth then altered the highway usage. Traffic increased — especially vehicular traffic, but also pedestrian — and U.S. 250 went from being a through highway to serving as a local road.
The two uses are profoundly incompatible.
Here’s the thing – Albemarle County have encouraged the growth in Western Albemarle, yet they haven’t begun to address how to facilitate the moving of the people who will move there … and 250 West is likely to not be widened as it’s a Scenic Byway, advocated for by Scenic 250, “… a citizens organization dedicated to preserving the rural and scenic character of US Route 250 from Charlottesville to the western boundary of Albemarle County“.
What’s the solution? I honestly don’t yet know, but the status quo is untenable. Continue reading
There really ought to be a simple public display of how much money has been spent on transportation studies that result in nothing but recommendations for more studies.
Sean Tubbs writes that the Metropolitan Planning Organization is planning to study the Eastern Connector again:
Officials first want consultants to evaluate potential obstacles that could undermine public support.
Like … the complete unfeasibility of such a project? Would that undermine public support?
A bit of background –
Looks like Crozet will be getting a hotel … in Old Trail.
If you’re curious, check out the state of the “Major Site Plan Amendment” at Albemarle County’s outstanding County View – Planning Application number is SDP201300011
This is an interesting development … Old Trail has been in a bit of flux for the past several months after new management took over, and it’s been quite challenging to advise buyer clients as to what the future of Old Trail is going to be … other than “it’s going to be a lot more dense, a lot busier, and they’ve no plans to address traffic (to be fair, the County doesn’t have any plans for traffic – here or anywhere)”. I don’t mean that to be a negative, but an honest statement … Old Trail is an outstanding neighborhood – one of the most walkable and popular neighborhoods in the region, but having a clear, defined plan would be helpful – both to new residents and existing ones.
It seems that their plans are taking shape.
Charlottesville (and the urban ring in Albemarle County) is poised to have a lot more hotels … but this is the first one in Crozet, and is a much-needed hotel. With the number of vineyards hosting weddings, tourists coming to town to hike and visit the many breweries in Crozet and Nelson County, I’m betting a 43 room hotel, assuming it’s a nice boutiquey thing, will do extremely well.
A boutique hotel had been planned/discussed for the Barnes Lumberyard, but after the bank bought the lumberyard back at foreclosure, I’m betting the only hotel Crozet sees is the one in Old Trail.
I’m working on figuring out a timeline for the site plan review, who’s building it and other details. But for now, I’m off to see a client about a house.
PROJECT: SDP2013-011 Old Trail Village Block 2B – Major Site Plan Amendment
PROPOSED: Request for major site plan amendment approval for a four story, 43 room hotel with a 1,000 square foot restaurant and associated parking.
LOCATION: At the corner of the intersection of Golf Drive and Claremont Lane, near The Lodge at Old Trail.
As the city of Charlottesville bumps up against its debt limit, the amount of money officials are allocating for infrastructure needs has dropped sharply.
According to a draft of next year’s capital budget, officials plan to allocate just $1 million for new projects out of a total of $5 million in new requests from city departments.
Maybe Charlottesville could partner with Albemarle, the University of Virginia and other regional partners and Blue Ridge Internetworks and put in fiber. Everywhere. (it’s working in Kansas City) Continue reading
Did you know there’s a movement within Crozet (with help/leadership/guidance from Albemarle County) building trails throughout Crozet? My little one and I walked a section of them on Saturday and were a bit amazed at how great the trails were and by how quickly we were able to get between the Westhall neighborhood and the back of Foothills Crossing … and likely Western Ridge, too.
Naturally, I took a few photos … you’ll see a bunch of nature, the Crozet Trails Crew (if you join them, bring clippers … trails always need some tending), Dan Mahon, Jessica Mauzy – the volunteer coordinator of the Crozet Trails Crew … and my daughter, enjoying the walk.
Interesting thought from the Wired “Observation Deck” - Designing Cities for People, Not Cars. Where in Charlottesville could this be done?
Not to be flippant, but if talking about extending the Western Bypass already isn’t an clue that the current project is flawed, I don’t know what is. Much of this discussion sounds like a game – “If we had infinite funds, what would we build”? With less-than-creative answers.
For some real creativity unbiased by politics, I wonder what 12 year olds would answer.
Update – Charlottesville Tomorrow has more information on some of the long-term hopes for transportation improvements. Not to pick on one sentence, but this seems short-sighted … why not build bike lanes from the start?
“It will look similar to some of our newer secondary roads here in Albemarle County,” said Stephen Williams said. “It would have 12-foot lanes and it would have some shoulder that could also be used as a bike lane.”