City officially cancels West Main Streetscape project

Charlottesville City Council has voted to officially cancel the $55 million West Main Streetscape project as well as other projects in an effort to get the city’s transportation house in order. 

The Virginia Department of Transportation will now administer a project to extend a turn lane at Route 250 and Hydraulic Road. A project to coordinate traffic signals on Emmet Street has also been canceled, as has a Smart Scale funded project at the intersection of Preston and Grady. 

The details were discussed at a work session with the Planning Commission on May 24. (read my story)

“While this is called cancellation of those projects, that’s in regards to the funding with VDOT, so as discussed, especially some of the safety projects, these are not going away forever, they’re just going away as Smart Scale projects,” said City Engineer Jack Dawson. 

The West Main Streetscape began with a $350,000 study authorized by Council in February 2013 which also led to a rezoning for the street. Over the years, Council authorized more and more funding as a local match for VDOT funds to build the project which was to be split into four phases.  The project lost support as a plan to renovate and expand Buford Middle School became a priority for the current City Council. 

Initiation of the study in February 2013 predated the construction of the Flats at West Village (left) and the Standard (right). (Credit: Sean Tubbs)

Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook said the project has been on life support for at least a year. 

“In a sense, this is almost a formality for us to recognize that which has already been made clear to us and decisions we have made ourselves over the last few years,” Snook said. “This is just finally pulling the plug on it.” 

The Commonwealth Transportation Board next meets on June 21 and may take up the official resolution to defund the project.

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 June 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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