Growing Rio Road and Biscuit Run

Two big Albemarle County news items with respect to the use of the land, and local human settlement patterns, trails and traffic.

Albemarle County’s blueprint for a walkable, urban destination at the Rio Road and U.S. 29 intersection has been approved.

This is going to massively change the nature of Rio and 29, and if the vision comes to fruition, I suspect many residents will 1) stay closer to Rio/29 for the things they need and/or 2) Never need to go there for anything; I’d even bet that a certain percentage of Charlottesville and Albemarle residents wouldn’t notice the changes, as they currently have no need/desire to go there now.

It will be interesting if they can transform entirely-car-centric Rio to one that encourages people to walk or ride bicycles.

Now, with Biscuit Run potentially opening in the spring of 2020, PEC and Albemarle are hoping to start on the southern piece of their connectivity puzzle.

Trails, houses, fields, parks. This is a remarkably in-depth piece from Charlottesville Tomorrow that covers the history of Biscuit Run (was to be thousands of homes, now will be a park) and the hope to now include trails to bridge the gap between the City and County. At least the Parks people get it.

And despite the oft-heard refrain that Charlottesville and Albemarle aren’t on the same page, Gensic (City of Charlottesville Parks) and Mahon (Albemarle County Parks) both said that parks and recreation staff in the city and the county have been working together closely to unify their plans and nomenclature for footpaths and the broad, paved multi-use trails.

“Our goal in the trail world is that the user of the trail doesn’t care whether they’re in the city or the county or UVa property or state property at Biscuit Run,” Gensic said “The family taking an outing shouldn’t know or care about the difference all that much.

As an aside, I’m hoping that in 2019 Charlottesville Tomorrow finds its footing and writes more about what made them indispensable – land use, growth, politics of growth and infrastructure. At the very least, I hope their Board has established a plan for the archives to never go away; they tell a huge part of the Charlottesville – Albemarle growth story over the past decade.

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