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CharlAlbemarle Transit Authority – What’s Next?

The fate of a proposed Regional Transit Authority (RTA) could depend on who is selected in January to represent the City Council and the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors on two regional transportation bodies.

…Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed a bill authorizing Charlottesville and Albemarle to create a transit authority , but a companion bill that may have provided a funding source for enhanced service did not make it out of committee. That legislation would have authorized a referendum in which city and country residents would have voted on a sales tax increase to pay the RTA’s operating and capital costs.

… The Charlottesville/Albemarle region needs some form of transit that helps alleviate the traffic and congestion that, while not as bad as other areas (Northern Virginia/LA/etc) – is bad by Charlottesville standards – and frankly, those are the standards that matter to me.

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A great comment on mass transit in Central Virginia

In a discussion at Charlottesville Tomorrow:We still have a narrow window of opportunity to buy right-of-way for transit; use existing shoulders; use existing rails; even put BRT lanes on the Meadowcreek Pkwy….  If you can’t walk to a bus/trolly; if you can’t get there on a safe bicycle lane; if you can’t park & ride, the system will be underused.  The system MUST connect and serve all of our county growth areas.There’s a lot more there, and it’s well worth reading in its entirety.  The Central Virginia region is likely to look much, much different in fifty years than it does today.

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The first significant builder “transition” in Charlottesville

Wade Builders, Inc. will be transitioning their company from a predominately Residential Retail Home Builder to a Property Management Business during the remainder of 2007 and throughout 2008….  Wade Builder will perform on all contracts, warranties and deliver the quality construction we have come to expect.And – Courteney Stuart has an excellent cover article about Wade’s transition in today’sHooK.Indeed, in recent days, several other local builders acknowledged they’ve had to cut their own workforce and that in the upcoming year they expect to build about half the number of houses they’ve completed in other years.  Mike Gaffney, of Gaffney Homes, says he’s cut his staff by about half and is discounting some of his existing inventory and converting others to lease-purchase options.  Church Hill Homes has cut staff and plans to build about 50 homes this year, down from 80 annually in recent years.How long before buyers (and good Buyers’ Agents) start asking for financial proof that the builders will be in existence long enough to service their warranties?

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And you wonder why transit hasn’t gained traction in the Charlottesville area?

From WINA:CTS buses are idle for the rest of the Labor Day weekendThose who normally rely on Charlottesville Transit Service to get around the city and Albemarle’s urban ring will need to make other arrangements between now and Tuesday morning.  CTS Spokeswoman Tamika Harris says the buses and trolleys will be idle Sunday and Monday in honor of Labor Day.  CTS will be running its regular routes shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday.And from today’s Daily Progress:Halfway through her journey, Mary rested her head against the bus window, stared at the cars whizzing by on U.S. 29 and sighed.It had been nearly three hours since she left her house off Preston Avenue, and an equal amount of time would pass before she returned home.All this for two measly errands – a doctor’s appointment and a trip to Rio Hill shopping center….  An entire day spent navigating Charlottesville’s public transportation system.

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Who says transit doesn’t increase house values?

Courtesy of the NYTimes:There are signs that Google’s shuttles could be affecting — albeit in small ways — the region’s housing market.When Adam Klein, a 24-year-old software engineer, moved to San Francisco in 2005 to take a job at Google, he looked for a rental apartment within a 15-minute walk of a shuttle stop.  His walk to the Civic Center stop turned out to be a bit longer….  “Those stops have attracted people,” he said.The area surrounding one of the shuttle’s Pacific Heights stops had a dozen or so Googlers living nearby in 2005….  Generally, the more people demanding homes in a limited area will cause prices to increase.

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