The Albemarle Board of Supervisors has endorsed a plan to convert a roadway along the Rivanna River into a car-free zone called for in the Pantops Master Plan.
“Free Bridge Lane is a low-volume, unstriped local street that extends for approximately for half a mile from Darden-Towe Park at the northern end to U.S. 250 at the Southern end,” said Jessica Hersh-Ballering, a transportation planner with Albemarle County.
The first meeting of the year for the Pantops Community Advisory Committee comes with a first look at a new concept for how Free Bridge Lane along the Rivanna River could be reconfigured in the near future between Darden Towe Park and U.S. 250. This is called for in the Pantops Master Plan adopted by the Board of Supervisors in June 2019.
“Free Bridge Lane provides a unique opportunity to further enhance the River corridor while improving upon the bicycle/ pedestrian connectivity in the area,” reads page 53 of the .PDF of the plan. “Free Bridge Lane should be reimagined as a “green street” that integrates elements of stormwater management into the street design to reduce runoff, while also enhancing facilities for bicycle and pedestrian travel along its length.”
A Chicago-based developer appeared before the Albemarle Planning Commission last week and heard something not often said within the county.
“Make this the model project so that others can see we have high density areas where we need which will help us with other areas that we want to preserve,” said Luis Carrazana, the at-large member of the Planning Commission.
Later this week, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department will hold an information meeting on removing some of the trees on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. Riann Anthony is the deputy director of the department.
“We are very lucky that the Downtown Mall trees have been in existence for this long,” Anthony said. “Some of them are healthy and others are not healthy but per our urban forester is that all of the trees are stressed from a number of factors.”
The city of Charlottesville is reviewing a private company’s latest plans for redevelopment of the K-Mart Plaza, though few new details emerged at a site plan conference last month.
“This is a site that we previously have taken a site plan through the city for a slightly different design,” said Ashley Davies, vice president of Riverbend Development.
The final project in what’s known as Route29 Solutions is making its way through the last steps of the planning process. Last week, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Board got an update on the status for a future project that includes five separate components at the intersection of U.S. 29 and Hydraulic Road.
“We’ve kind of gotten to a situation right now where we’re over budget based on updated estimates and some of the things that we’ve looked at it,” said Sean Nelson, the administrator of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Culpeper District.
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.”
The Charlottesville City Council has officially adopted a plan to guide environmental protections along the urbanized portion of the Rivanna River. The Urban Rivanna Corridor Plan is now a referenced part of the city’s 2021 Comprehensive Plan.
“It’s past time but I’m glad we’re getting to it now finally to begin to recognize the fact that the Rivanna River is an asset to Charlottesville and is not merely a barrier,” said Charottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook.
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.”
The winter storm yesterday ended up canceling all three of the government meetings scheduled including the Albemarle Architectural Review Board. That group last met on December 20 when they weighed in on a self-storage facility proposed for the intersection of U.S. 250 and Crozet Avenue. Margaret Maliszewski is a planning manager who works with the ARB. (watch the meeting)
“The proposed building is three stories tall with a 30,000 square foot footprint,” Maliszewski said. “The building as shown on the plan measures 260 feet by 120 feet.”