Planning continues for projects for VDOT’s next Smart Scale cycle

Work continues to prepare the next round of applications for the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Smart Scale funding process.  Chuck Proctor is a planner with VDOT’s Culpeper District and he’s assisting Albemarle and the MPO come up with potential submissions.

“Most of them are bike-ped related, a lot of them are multimodal projects like Avon Street, 5th Street, the 29-250 bypass,” Proctor said, speaking at a technical committee of the Metropolitan Planning Organization on Tuesday.

Other projects that could be submitted include the intersection of Old Trail and Crozet Avenue, a recommendation from the ongoing North 29 corridor study, projects on Pantops, as well as various intersections of U.S. 250 east of Pantops. 

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District can submit up to four applications on behalf of localities. Proctor said he was not aware of what applications the city of Charlottesville might advance. Jeannete Janiczek, the city’s urban construction coordinator. In most cases, Charlottesville administers its own projects without involvement from VDOT. 

“I just want to remind everyone this is still early in the process,” Janiczek said. “We have a new City Council coming online. The city does plan to apply for Smart Scale but we haven’t yet decided which projects.”

In four rounds, Charlottesville has been awarded millions for various streetscape projects, none of which has yet gone to construction. In September, Council indicated they would no longer support contributing a local match for funds received for the first two phases of West Main Streetscape. VDOT has not yet been formally informed of any decision, according to spokesman Lou Hatter. 

Janiczek said potential Charlottesville projects for Round 5 a fourth phase of West Main Streetscape, or in the East High Street, Rose Hill, and the Preston Avenue corridors. There is no information about any of these potential projects available on the city website. In contrast, Albemarle and the TJPDC have been discussing potential projects since the spring. 

A timeline from a March 5, 2021 memo regarding the timeline for Smart Scale Round 5 (read the memo)

In recent years, Albemarle County has increased its capacity to design and build non-vehicular transportation projects. Kevin McDermott is a chief of planning.

“We are now finally after many years in the construction phase for a lot of sidewalk improvements including new sidewalks out on Avon Street Extended, both north and south of the Mill Creek intersection,” McDemott said. 

The others are:

  • New sidewalk along U.S. 250 near the Harris Teeter including a pedestrian crossing 
  • New sidewalk along Rio Road East from John Warner Parkway heading east and south toward Charlottesville
  • New crosswalk at Mountain View Elementary School on Avon Street Extended
  • New sidewalk and shared-use path on Lambs Road to the Lambs Land Campus
  • New sidewalk on Ivy Road between city limits and the UVA Musculoskeletal Center

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the November 18, 2021 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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