29 to Get More Car-Friendly (soon) & West Main to get More Bike-Friendly

The stories of two Charlottesville/Albemarle arteries:

29:

However, he unveiled a timetable that lists major milestones that must be met to ensure all the projects are completed by October 2017.

“About a year from now, we’re going to have a set of plans for construction for Rio,” Shucet said.

Plans to manage traffic and relocate utilities will be developed in the spring, Shucet said. The road and bridge designs will be reviewed by July, and the plans will be approved by August 2015, he said.

West Main:

The loss of 30 street parking spaces on Charlottesville’s West Main Street in favor of marked bicycle lanes remains a key concern, members of a steering committee learned Wednesday.

Though increased walkability may promise to bring foot traffic to local businesses, the loss of street parking in order to accommodate bicycle lanes failed to win the support of some business owners.

I’ve yet to see (I probably haven’t looked hard enough) to see any plans for how to better connect Charlottesville and Albemarle to each other in a bicycle-friendly way.

Goodbye Western Bypass

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The Western Bypass takes its place the history books.

Dating back at least 30 years, the Commonwealth “voted to cancel all previous decisions approving construction of the 6.2-mile road” and the former owners of the properties purchased by VDOT that would have been used by the Western Bypass can now buy back those properties … for the original purchase price (thanks to Sean Tubbs for this knowledge).

Cvillepedia rightly calls the Western Bypass “defunct.”

I wonder just how much money was spent on the Western Bypass.

If you’re curious:

- This is what the Western Bypass might have looked like (2012) – Graelyn Brashear at C-Ville did a great story last year on the Bypass. – A reader asked me in 2008 why the Western Bypass hadn’t yet been builtThe Bypass should have been longer; by the time it got to the actual planning/funding stages, it was outdated.- $270 million – the estimated cost put forth in 2007

What is the value of a Greenway?

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Bikes on a deck in Charlottesville

What is the value of a green way to a buyer in today’s market?

Had an interesting conversation this morning in the Crozet Mudhouse with someone who was noting that the attitude shift toward greenways has shifted significantly in the past 10 years or so.

It used to be that real estate agents and developers and even buyers placed little to no value in having access to a means of passage that was not centered around an automobile.

Today, that attitude has shifted 180°.

Access to bike paths or suitable walking trails (for strollers) is an enormous asset. through my admittedly myopic view as seen through the eyes of my buyer clients who are seeking such access and proximity, and through the eyes of my seller clients who are advocating for the benefits of such access, I would say that the world has shifted in this respect.

In the Charlottesville Albemarle area my view is that the City of Charlottesville is fairly well poised to design and build more greenways and bike paths (hint: West Main). The County of Albemarle needs more will and more money. And they both need to work together to have the respective systems work together.

Worth noting is that the departments within the respective localities are filled with remarkable people doing remarkable work.

The market wants these things.

The 29 Saga Continues

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Decades and decades of planning and fighting about what to do about Route 29 and I’d argue that our region is worse off because nothing substantive has been done other than widening 29 and adding stop lights.

Anyone stepping into the morass that is the evolution of the 29 Corridor would be hard-pressed to make sense of what the County is trying to accomplish. Sean Tubbs at Charlottesville Tomorrow does a good job breaking down where we are right now in the 29 planning process.

A $203 million package of solutions to ease traffic congestion on U.S. 29 through Albemarle andCharlottesville includes one new road, a grade-separated intersection at Rio Road, study of a similar facility at Hydraulic Road, and a down payment on a second daily Amtrak train.

Pictures are worth 1000 words; this concept of what the grade-separated interchanges look like is a start.

There is a public hearing about these 29 alternatives on 27 May. Hopefully people will show up.

I know this; my younger daughter will be driving by the time this thing is halfway started.

Costco Coming to Charlottesville, Bringing Traffic With It

Who woulda thunk that dropping 150,000 square feet of retail would bring traffic with it? The Stonefield shopping center is challenging at best to navigate – from Trader Joe’s to Pasture, for example, and is remarkably so for a pedestrian (I haven’t yet tried to bicycle there as 29 is scary).

If you’re curious to read some of the background, these are some of the stories I was writing in 2006 about Stonefield, which was originally called Albemarle Place.