Council briefed on Fifth Street Extended safety efforts

Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders has explained what the city is going to address safety concerns on Fifth Street Extended. According to crash data from the Virginia Department of Transportation, there were three fatalities in 2020 on the divided highway. Police have confirmed there was another on the night of New Years Day. 

“We very much remain concerned about the serious safety concern along that corridor,” Sanders said. “Our traffic engineer has been working to effect improvements with a few updates. We are pursuing a speed limit reduction. We have been working on that and you will have that matter before you at your next meeting.” 

Sanders said flashing “signal ahead” signs are on back order and have been delayed due to supply chain issues. He said some intersection warning signs had been installed. 

“We feel as though they weren’t big enough so we are in the process of expediting their swap-out,” Sanders said. 

Sanders said the long-term strategy will be to break down the roadway’s current character. 

“An example of that would be the installation of a roundabout midway on the corridor but that too is going to be very difficult for us to figure out but we’re committed to doing that and we want you to know we’re not moving away from this as a high-priority,” Sanders said. 

Charlottesville has been awarded several projects through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s SmartScale program in the immediate area. They are:

  • $6.1 million for improvements on 5th Street SW to “reduce congestion, improve safety, and accommodate bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit at the intersection of Ridge Street, Cherry Avenue, Elliot Aveune (sic).” (details)
  • $8.78 million for improvements to Ridge Street to “design and construct multi-modal improvements along the Ridge Street Corridor. Sidewalk and Curb Ramp upgrades; signal improvements at Monticello; Curb extensions on Ridge St. at Dice St. and Oak St..including bicycle lanes.” (details)
  • There’s also West Main Street Phase 1 and Phase 2, two related projects that Council has indicated they will no longer support with local taxpayer dollars.

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 January 10, 2022 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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