UVA Poised for Tremendous Growth

What would Charlottesville look like if UVA added two thousand more students? Think about it.

From the Daily Progress:

Ligon’s white paper examines two enrollment scenarios. In one, UVa would grow by 400 students per year for five years, then resume its 1 percent growth rate. This would bring UVa’s enrollment in line with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

An additional two thousand students. Currently UVA has 20,080 students.

The impacts of this growth would be tremendous – both good and bad. Transportation and infrastructure would be impacted – for the City of Charlottesville, County of Albemarle and UVA. The real estate market would likely be affected – more kiddie condos? There would likely be a greater number of students who graduate and stay, for either careers or grad school. If UVA students ever got involved in local political races, they could have a tremendous impact.

Clearly, UVA is and has been planning for this growth (bolding mine):

The University of Virginia has set new goals in its quest to reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles used by employees in their daily commute. While removing cars from Grounds might have an environmental benefit, the effort is primarily designed to make way for more buildings.

“If we can reduce the number of parking spaces needed, then we can save that land for a higher and better use, which for us would be classrooms,” said Julia Monteith, UVa’s senior land use officer, at Wednesday’s meeting of the regional Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The university does not plan to build any more parking lots, and many surface lots are destined to become the sites for future buildings. There are currently more than 16,000 parking spaces that serve UVa’s core campuses but that number will dwindle as more construction occurs.

To solve the potential deficit, UVa created a program known as transportation demand management (TDM) to lure commuters from their cars. As part of the program, the school’s transit service entered into a reciprocity program with the Charlottesville bus system, started a car-sharing program and made it cheaper for those who carpool to park. Two people who carpool get a 10 percent discount, whereas three who regularly do so save 25 percent.

“Instead of just focusing on how cars move around Grounds, we [wanted to] be able to look at more multi-modal transportation and be thinking about this in more of a forward-thinking way,” Monteith said.

And that’s a good start. If we could just get the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle to look forward in a similar way – focusing on doing rather than studying – we would all benefit.
There are lots of transportation projects projected … (PDF) I’ll be shocked if any of them actually get done.

Maybe with the influx of students, UVA could put together winning basketball and football teams; virtually every other team at UVA is remarkably successful.

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