Property taxes in Albemarle and a Streetcar in Charlottesville

Instead of defaulting to “raise taxes,” only two member of the Albemarle BoS think they need to reevaluate government’s “core services.” Good for those two.

A Streetcar for Downtown Charlottesville? While a possible good start, my question is this – how many people will actually use it? How many people commute within the City limits? We need to have a coordinated transit plan with the County of Albemarle and the surrounding counties. All I can think of is “monorail!

I’ve talked about Charlottesville/Albemarle/Central Virginia’s transportation issues for some time, and there seems to be very little progress on anything productive besides more meetings.

Update: Bacon’s Rebellion has a tangentially related post, with this particular quote:

My only concern is that BRT should not be considered in a vacuum. It should be viewed in a larger context that includes human settlement patterns and congestion pricing. The subcommittee needs to ask itself, do certain densities and streetscapes lend themselves to supporting BRT better than others? Also, to what extent would congestion pricing in heavily traveled corridors and districts encourage people to ride the buses?

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  1. John Trippel February 1, 2008 at 09:28

    Since I occasionally ride the trolley I can say with authority that there are quite a few people who ride the free trolley up and down West Main Street. Many people use it to get to work from Belmont to the University Hospital and other University spots. It got me to my hospital appointment on the last snow day when the streets were very slick and driving was a nightmare. I was really thankful that there was a ride down to the hospital on that morning. And the trolley was full of people on that morning going up to the University from downtown. I know it seems like whenever you see that trolley nobody is on it but there are times when it is very useful to have a transportation carrier running every fifteen minutes up and down West Main Street. I think it is a good use of our tax dollars for the common good of our little town.

  2. Jim Duncan February 1, 2008 at 10:29

    Thanks John for the comment and your insight. I admit that the trolley is both neat and useful … but this seems a bit out of scale for what it would provide:

    But he says a streetcar in Charlottesville would have a capital cost between $10 and 15 million per mile. That figure would include the trams that would be operated, but not the annual operating budget.

  3. TrvlnMn February 1, 2008 at 11:52

    As I’ve said before on this topic on this and other blogs. A “transit only” lane for the trolley could accomplish on West Main the exact same thing a streetcar would, only it would accomplish it with much less cost.

    Every time this issue seems to come up I hear streetcar proponents make comparisons to the wonderful Portland. To that extent I’ve got to say “if they like Portland so much then they should go and move there instead of trying to re-create it in Charlottesville.”

    Additionally ever time “Portland and it’s streetcar system” comes up I am reminded of the report I first read from a link at I think it should be required reading for those desiring a streetcar.

    As I’ve said elsewhere. Until you give people living in the peripheral communities a way to get to and from Charlottesville without their automobiles any public transit improvements are like putting perfume on a pig- entirely cosmetic.

    Real Transit reform would begin with a Monorail running the length of 29 North from Barracks Road to The Cville Airport.

    A streetcar would be a total waste of tax dollars and benefit only an already privileged few.

  4. Jim Duncan February 1, 2008 at 12:02

    These are the two times I’ve written about Portland – here and here.

    Wow – that was a long time ago! Thanks for reading for so long, TrvlMn!

  5. TrvlnMn February 1, 2008 at 13:22

    It was actually one of your “Daily Links” posts that contained the pdf report I linked to in my previous post. But the other two posts about Portland were good ones also.


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