Pantops group briefed on transportation projects

In March, Albemarle’s growth area advisory committees learned about the county’s transportation process, and got updates on area projects. Albemarle keeps a list of projects that have been identified to address congestion issues, improve public safety, increase economic development, and achieve other goals.

“The last it was updated was in 2019, but we are embarking on another update and a reprioritization over the next year or two combined with the Comprehensive Plan update,” said Jessica Hersh-Ballering is a principal transportation planner for Albemarle County. 

A map of all of the proposed Pantops projects on the Albemarle priority transportation plan. View the whole list. 

A project to make changes at the intersection of U.S. 250 and Virginia Route 20 was funded via Smart Scale in the third round. A sidewalk will be added in front of the McDonalds in the northwest quadrant of the intersection. (read the application)

“It would add a two-stage pedestrian crossing of U.S. 250 on the east leg,” Hersh-Ballering said. “Additionally this project will add a right turn lane for westbound vehicles on U.S. 250 that are trying to turn right or north onto Route 20.”

Changes to the signalizations and the geometry will be made as well to increase the number of vehicles that can make each signal cycle. However, this project won’t begin until winter of 2025 with a public hearing scheduled in the summer of 2023. 

“But, still great because the project is fully funded and it will be happening,” Hersh-Ballering said. 

A second Smart Scale project will see corridor improvements made to the east of that intersection up to Hansen Mountain Road. This access management project will be built around the same time.

“VDOT is fast-tracking this project so that it can be on the same schedule as the previous project and also so that both projects can use the same construction contractor and what that will do is allow overall cost efficiencies for bother projects,” Hersh-Ballering said. 

The center turn lane will be replaced with a concrete median with specific openings for turns. 

Several projects are currently seeking funding, such as sidewalk improvements on U.S. 250 and a pedestrian crossing at Rolkin Road. Another would make changes at the intersection with Peter Jefferson Parkway that could involve a park and ride lot. 

Hersh-Ballering also gave an update on the proposed pedestrian bridge across the Rivanna River. Last month, the Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Board has selected an alignment that will connect the former State Farm Headquarters with the Woolen Mills at the Wool Factory. 

The county will also launch a microtransit service in the Pantops area that would be more like a ride-sharing service than fixed-transit. 

“While it works like Uber, and  you can request a ride, it still functions as a public utility,” Hersh-Ballering said. “The vehicles that pick you up are not going to be anyone’s personal private vehicle. It is a transit vehicle and it will always be ADA accessible.”

There will also be no surge pricing. For more details view the video on YouTube.

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 April 4, 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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