On Tuesday, October 18, 2005 there was an Albemarle County Planning Commission meeting. The news media gave it some attention because of the discussion about a road connection in Crozet from the Old Trail development to Jarman’s Gap Road. Road interconnections in new neighborhoods are one feature of the “Neighborhood Model” form of development. Instead of talking about the eminent domain issues and the alignment of the roads from Old Trail, I’d like to share a few sound bites on the nature of road interconnections in general that demonstrate the views of some staff and Planning Commissioners. You can comment on this posting to share your thoughts too.
The Neighborhood Model is something Charlottesville Tomorrow is asking candidates about in our upcoming voter guide for the County Board of Supervisors election. The Neighborhood Model states the following goal for development in our population centers:
“A network of streets, bikeways, pedestrian paths, and bus routes will connect new neighborhoods as well as existing residential areas and nonresidential districts.”
If you have been listening to or reading about the debates, you know the candidates have a variety of opinions on the merits of connecting our neighborhoods with new streets to reduce congestion on major thoroughfares.
Charlottesville Tomorrow does not have a position on this particular aspect of the Neighborhood Model nor are we endorsing any candidates, but it is clearly an issue generating strong reactions from candidates running for the Board of Supervisors. When we release our non-partisan voter guide, you will see exactly where they stand on the subject.
So, what follows is what several Planning Commissioners and Wayne Cilimberg, Director of Planning and Community Development, had to say at Tuesday’s meeting on this subject.
Rodney Thomas – “I think we are going to hear a whole lot more about interconnectivity as time goes on. It’s really a shame that it’s gotten a negative effect like it has.”
William Edgerton: “I think we have a responsibility to maybe start improving the understanding of what it is all about.”
[Later in meeting]
William Edgerton: “Wayne, I don’t know if you were here for the Old Trail discussion… there was an awful lot of emotion and passion, based on an awful lot of misunderstanding… and we have got to figure out a way, I mean Rodney said he went to a debate the other night, a candidate debate, and there’s a lot of confusion out there about is this [road interconnectivity] a good thing or a bad thing… We’ve got to do a little marketing on this.”
Wayne Cilimberg: “Well that’s part of the program actually. There is going to be a real effort, and it will be Crozet directed initially, but there is going to be a real public relations kind of effort because there’s a message that needs to get out there. I will tell you that from all I have read you are struggling right now with the same thing that a lot of other communities that are getting more dense and mixed use kinds of development are dealing with, throughout the country, it’s not an easy thing, but it is not unusual.”
Jo Higgins: “I think it is a good thing. There’s only one statement I would make about though. That some of the cases where we push to get a possible future alignment, it’s probably not going to be built, and then there are some that it’s likely and somehow we need to have the best information to make that decision.”