Public hearing delayed on air-rights for new UVA pedestrian bridge

The University of Virginia plans to build a new pedestrian bridge across Emmet Street just north of an existing one that crosses from the Curry School of Education to Brown College at Monroe Hill. The new structure would span from the new Contemplative Commons building to Newcomb Hall Plaza. 

“So this new bridge is both in a better location for pedestrian circulation and would be fully [Americans with Disabilities Act] accessible,” said James Freas, the city’s director of Neighborhood Development Services. 

A conceptual drawing of the new ADA-compliant pedestrian bridge (Credit: VMDO)

The bridge will be 23 and a half feet above Emmet Street. That exceeds the city’s requirement that a bridge be 16 feet above, which requires permission from the city. That requires a public hearing, but there was an error.

“Now unfortunately, the required advertisement was not put in for the public hearing tonight so it appears we are going to have to take up this item again and your next meeting and conduct a public hearing at that time,” Freas said. 

There was something in the staff report that did not come up during the discussion which is worth mentioning for those interested in following along with Charlottesville’s efforts to get moving on Smart Scale projects. Here’s a long quote from the staff report. 

“Staff’s consideration of this request was supported by the resolution of an obstacle that had been holding up advancement of the Emmet Street streetscape project. Property acquisition costs, primarily those for University owned land along Emmet near the Ivy Road intersection, had placed that project well over budget. Given the University’s strong interest in the completion of that project, they have agreed to providing the necessary easement at no cost so that the project can move forward in conjunction with their development in the Ivy corridor.”

More on the pedestrian bridge, Smart Scale progress, and transportation related stories in future editions of Charlottesville Community Engagement.

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 September 23, 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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