Category Archives: Walkability

Board of Architectural Review denies grates for Mall fountains

The city of Charlottesville has begun moving ahead with changes to the city’s Downtown Mall, which will turn 50 in the year 2026. Last week, the Board of Architectural Review weighed in on one change intended to make parts of it a little safer.

“This is a request from the city of Charlottesville to install metal grates at the three small fountains located on the Downtown Mall,” said Jeff Werner, the city’s historic preservation planner. “The situation we have is that because of issues related to pedestrian safety and ADA accessibility concern, the decision was made to install grates.” 

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Federal funds awarded to help plan for Three Notched Trail 

The effort to link the Blue Ridge Tunnel in Afton to Charlottesville with a continuous shared-use path has received a major boost from the federal government. A $2 million grant authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will be awarded to Albemarle County for the Three Notched Trail Shared Use Path Plan. 

“A ‘shared use’ path is typically a 10’ wide paved trail that is physically separated from the motor vehicle travel way and allows bi-directional pedestrian and bicycle traffic,” reads a website for the project. “Once built, the TNT will provide local residents and visitors with car-free transportation and recreational opportunities.” 

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Implementation continues for plans to make Charlottesville walk zones safer

There are eight days left until classes begin for pupils in Charlottesville City Schools, and more will be walking to school due to a severe lack of people currently employed to drive school buses. 

“Due to the ongoing bus driver shortage, we have expanded our ‘walk zones’ to 0.75 miles for the elementary schools, and 1.25 miles for Walker, Buford, and [Charlottesville High School],” reads an email sent to interested parties. “This change brings our walk zones closer to regional and national norms.”

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Council briefed on potential usage of ARPA funds 

Charlottesville has now received all of the $19.6 million in funding it will receive from the federal government as part of the American Rescue Plan Act fund. Interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers gave Council an update at their meeting on July 18.

“It’s been a big help for local government in terms of recovery from the impact of the pandemic,” Rogers said.

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Preparations continue in Charlottesville for more to walk to school

Classes begin for Charlottesville City Schools in four weeks and work continues to prepare for a year in which more students will not be eligible to get a ride on a school bus. A driver shortage has led the school system to expand walk zones that are still being finalized. 

“We are hoping to let families know this week about their current bus eligibility and whether they have a bus request on files,” reads an email update sent to interested parties on Monday. “This status update will tell families if their child is in a walk zone or eligible for the bus.”

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Sanders provides updates on school walk zones

Charlottesville City Schools will begin classes on August 24 and a school bus driver shortage has meant that more children will not be eligible for pupil transportation.

Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders told City Council on July 18 that the local government continues to work to address the issue.

“We are working in collaboration with Charlottesville City Schools to solve the various issues that may result from having an additional 750 kids having to walk to school this year,” Sanders said. 

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Charlottesville Planning Commissioners seek Council action on safer streets on school routes

As of today, there are 39 days left until the first day of school in the City of Charlottesville. Yesterday, the school system held a Transportation Talk and Walk Session to discuss a recent alert from Superintendent Royal Gurley that the bus driver shortage has worsened and walk zones will be expanded. 

This past Tuesday, the city Planning Commission was briefed on a request from one of its members that city government take steps to make routes to school. They got an update from Missy Creasy, Charlottesville’s assistant director of the Neighborhood Development Services office (NDS).

“The city has a pretty robust program that they’re putting together to address how they are addressing the shortage at this point in time and some pretty innovative things on there,” Creasy said.

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Community event to be held to promote health benefits of walkability

A relatively new public health program to improve health for vulnerable community members will hold an event this Saturday morning to spread awareness of their work 

Betsy Peyton is the director of WellAWARE, a partnership program between UVA Health, the Charlottesville Free Clinic, and Central Virginia Health Services that seeks to serve medically underserved communities. 

“We are an innovative, new community health program that sends community health workers into people’s homes to help connect them to better health care,” Peyton said. 

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City Council holds public hearing on trail connection for 250 Bypass pathway

A new partnership has formed between the City of Charlottesville and an entity that secures open space easements in Virginia, and that will slightly increase the cost of land transactions. 

“We have a property owner that we’ve been negotiating with and we have a granting agency in the Virginia Outdoors Foundation that’s providing the funding which has already been appropriated,” said Chris Gensic, a planner in the Parks and Recreation Department. 

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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. 

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