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March 31, 2006

VDOT Public Hearing on Jarmans Gap Road

Vdot20060330bjarmangaprdOn March 30, 2006, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) held a public hearing meeting to discuss proposed changes to Jarmans Gap Road in Crozet.  The section of Jarmans Gap under review is about 1.5 miles long from Route 240 in Crozet to Route 684.  Residents have until April 10, 2006 to submit comments on this final design proposal which would add bicycle lanes and a sidewalk between Route 240 and the Grayrock neighborhood.  Past Grayrock, Jarmans Gap Road would have a widened shoulder up to Route 684.

Vdot20060330cjarmangaprd

The VDOT design brochure and comment form can be downloaded form the Albemarle County website.  VDOT estimates the improvements will cost $13.3 million (2006 dollars) and construction would start in Winter 2009.

Residents interviewed by Charlottesville Tomorrow at the meeting and in the surrounding neighborhoods had generally favorable opinions of the improvements.  Vdot20060330ajarmangaprd_1Some had been to the previous VDOT information meeting a couple years earlier and were pleased to see suggestions incorporated in the final design.  Many parents said they would take advantage of the improvements to walk and bicycle to downtown Crozet, the Crozet Park, and Crozet Elementary.  Some residents did express concerns about the right-of-way acquisition that would impact their property along Jarmans Gap.   

How can you stay informed about this project?

  1. Subscribe to Charlottesville Tomorrow's transportation alerts
  2. Visit Charlottesville Tomorrow's Transportation Matrix for Jarmans Gap Road
  3. Visit Albemarle County's special website for this project

Brian Wheeler

March 29, 2006

WINA invites Wheeler to discuss growth and development issues

Charlottesville Tomorrow executive director Brian Wheeler returned to the WINA studio on March 27, 2006 to discuss local growth and development issues for the radio program "Charlottesville Right Now."  Wheeler discussed with host Jay James specific topics including transportation and the MeadowCreek Parkway, population figures and the Crozet Master Plan, new ideas on phasing (or time-released development) for the growth areas, and the local water supply.

Listen to the podcast: Download WINA20060327.MP3

Here are the highlights
1:34 -- Current reservoir conditions
4:37 -- Meadow Creek Parkway and  transportation planning issues
9:44 -- Crozet Master Plan and growth in Crozet
15:50 --  Current development/rezoning projects
17:30 -- Phasing in the growth areas
21:31 --  Water supply plan and pipeline proposals
25:44 -- Zoning issues
27:15 -- Traffic problems around Georgetown and Hydraulic Roads

Andrew Owen

City Council Candidate Forum #1

On March 28, 2006, the City of Charlottesville's 10th & Page Neighborhood Association held the first candidate forum for the May 2nd City Council Elections. Complete election coverage can be found on Charlottesville Tomorrow's Election Watch website.

Listen to podcast: Download CityCouncilForum20060328.mp3
Read transcript: Download transcript as PDF

00:44 -- Introduction by Gate Pratt, 10th & Page Neighborhood Association President
Opening remarks
02:00 -- Dave Norris (D)
04:45 -- Julian Taliaferro (D)
09:08 -- Rob Schilling (R)

Questions from audience
12:45 -- 1. Question directed to Mr. Norris/Mr. Taliaferro: What city committees, boards, or commissions have you served on in the past 5-8 years?
Dave Norris responds
Julian Taliaferro responds
Rob Schilling responds

15:57 -- 2. Question directed to Mr. Taliaferro: Resident asks about how responsive the candidate will be to constituent concerns if elected.
Julian Taliaferro responds

20:03 -- 3. Question directed to all candidates: Would our property taxes decrease if City of Charlottesville reverted to a Town as part of Albemarle County?
Rob Schilling responds

22:22 -- 4. Question directed to Mr. Schilling: Resident asks about Mr. Schilling's position on tax relief for elderly and disabled in City budget.
Rob Schilling responds

24:43 -- 5. Question directed to Mr. Schilling: Resident asks about Mr. Schilling's position on funding for public safety and law enforcement.
Rob Schilling responds

27:05 -- 6. Question directed to all candidates: Resident comments on changing character of neighborhood then asks what solutions candidates will consider to cut expenses in City budget? 
Julian Taliaferro responds
Dave Norris responds
Rob Schilling responds

33:55 -- 7. Question directed to Mr. Norris: What are you proposing to help people out of poverty?
Dave Norris responds
Julian Taliaferro responds
Rob Schilling responds

37:17 -- 8. Question directed to Mr. Schilling: What will impact be on residents that lose their jobs if certain government services are privatized?
Rob Schilling responds

38:54 -- 9. Question directed to all candidates: How much does a City Councilor get paid?
Rob Schilling responds

39:07 -- 10. Question directed to all candidates: Where I can I find more information on candidate positions on affordable living choices for our citizens?
Dave Norris responds
Julian Taliaferro responds
Rob Schilling responds

Closing statements
42:10 -- Rob Schilling
44:53 -- Julian Taliaferro
46:45 -- Dave Norris

Brian Wheeler

March 28, 2006

VDOT Public Information Meeting on Georgetown Road

On March 28, 2006, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) held a public information meeting to discuss proposed changes to Georgetown Road in Albemarle County.  Georgetown Road is about eight-tenths of a mile long and connects Barracks Road to Hydraulic Road.

Vdot20060328ageorgetownrd_1
A resident (center) provides feedback to VDOT Project Manager Greg Krystyniak (left)

Download VDOT's project brochure
provided to public

Vdot20060328cgeorgetownrdVDOT prepared three concepts to show residents how improvements might be built to increase the efficiency of Georgetown Road and more safely blend vehicles, buses, pedestrians and bicyclists.  Almost 100 members of the public attended the meeting and asked questions of the many VDOT officials, County staff, and Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett District), Chairman of the Board of Supervisors.  The open house format allowed residents to look at information panels with detailed maps and photo simulations of the changes.

Vdot20060328bgeorgetownrd

Photo: Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Center) is questioned by constituents in the Jack Jouett District where Georgetown Road is located.

Vdot20060328dgeorgetownrdToday, Georgetown Road is a two-lane road, half of which has enough width for an existing intermittent turn lane in the center and some sidewalks.  The remaining portion is narrower and has only a small asphalt path on one side for pedestrians and bicyclists (photo at left).  All three design concepts retain Georgetown Road’s two primary travel lanes and add sidewalks or paths on each side of the road.  Concepts 1 and 2 differed in their overall width and handling of buffers between vehicles and pedestrians.  Concept 1 had the smallest width at 53’ for right-of-way.  Concept 3 had a width of 74’ for right-of-way which allows for a third turning lane in the middle, bicycle paths on the road edges, and sidewalks on each side of Georgetown Road.  Cost estimates range from $8 million to almost $9 million in 2006 dollars.

Vdot20060328egeorgetownrdResidents interviewed by Charlottesville Tomorrow had mixed opinions of the three design concepts.  Some had property that would be lost to right-of-way purchases required for an expanded road.  These residents favored the narrowest concept to preserve their property.  Numerous residents voiced their concern about the growing traffic on Georgetown Road and expressed their doubts that the changes would address these traffic volumes.  Neighbors pointed out that new developments, like nearby Albemarle Place, would add to the cut-through traffic.  Other residents said they made heavy use of the road for walking and bicycling.  They favored more substantial upgrades to safely accommodate their needs, add new crosswalks, and make it safer for children in the neighborhood.

VDOT officials told residents they would only build what Albemarle County wanted.  They stated that public input would be an important factor in the final design.  This project is in the VDOT Six-Year Improvement Program with an expected start date of December 2011.

VDOT officials asked residents to submit comments in writing.  Their comment sheet included the following questions:

  • What is the most important improvement needed for Georgetown Road?
  • What type of bicycle and pedestrian features would you like along the roadway?
  • Do you feel there is a need for a pedestrian crossing(s)? If so where?
  • Do you support this project?
  • Please provide us with any additional information which you feel would assist in the design of this project?

How can you stay informed about this project?

  1. Subscribe to Charlottesville Tomorrow's transportation alerts
  2. Visit Charlottesville Tomorrow's Transportation Matrix for Georgetown Road
  3. Visit Albemarle County's special website for this project

Brian Wheeler

A new Cville Tomorrow blog

Today Charlottesville Tomorrow has launched a second blog to keep track of the third-party news items we run across as we consume all the information we can find on land use, transportation, our water supply, community design issues, and local elections. 

Cville Tomorrow News

Instead of maintaining the brief article summaries (from Daily Progress, TV, Radio, C-Ville, Hook) on our website, we will now provide them as individual blog postings.  One advantage of this new approach is that you can get an RSS feed of these important news items related to growth and development issues.  If you are not familiar yet with RSS feeds and how they can help you digest all these blog postings in a timely fashion, Waldo Jaquith has an excellent primer here [Thanks to Waldo I have become addicted to my free Bloglines web page which is where I monitor the twenty-five blogs important to my blogosphere].

Charlottesville Tomorrow will continue to publish OUR exclusive meeting summaries, event reports, podcasts, and election information on our primary blog.

Charlottesville Tomorrow Weblog

Bottom line...

  • Blog #1 is content we generate (e.g. meeting summaries, podcasts)
  • Blog #2 is an aggregator of sorts for local news items related to our mission (e.g. Daily Progress articles)

Brian Wheeler

RWSA Board Meets: Dropping stream flows and rising odors top the agenda

Rwsa20060327On March 27, 2006, the Board of the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority (RWSA) held its monthly meeting.  In his Executive Director's report, Tom Frederick included updates on the below normal stream flow levels, a discussion of conservation and drought management issues, and news of an upcoming public meeting on the water supply pipeline plans

In other business, there was significant public input from the Woolen Mills neighborhood on odors generated by the RWSA wastewater compost facility. The Board discussed the composting facility and approved a more detailed engineering study to look at mitigating the odors. Enclosing the compost facility and scrubbing the air being released could cost $7.9 to $9.9 million based on a recent "abbreviated study."  The RWSA Board expects to hear recommendations from the in-depth study at its June 2006 meeting.

Additional resources for this meeting

Listen to podcast: Download 20060327-RWSA.mp3

  • 1:09 -- Call to order by Chairman Michael Gaffney
  • 1:50 -- Executive Director's Report by Tom Frederick
  • 9:45 -- Public comment
    • Lois Rochester
    • John Martin
    • Allison Ewing
    • Bill Emory
    • Michael Laskoe
    • Victoria Dunham
    • Chris Hays
    • Laura Covert
  • 33:35 -- Discussion of Moores Creek Wastewater Compost Facility

Brian Wheeler

March 27, 2006

Stream flows below normal

At today's meeting of the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority Board, Executive Director Tom Frederick reported that while our reservoirs are full [check levels here], we are seeing abnormally dry conditions.  Stream flows are well below normal for March (see diagram below). 

Rwsa20060327streamflowsWithout rain while the leaves are off the trees, our groundwater systems will be challenged to recharge.  That means Spring and Summer rains will be essential to avoid drought conditions.  Thus it is a good time for the community to think again about water conservation efforts.  In April, RWSA will be releasing a draft drought management plan to better prepare us for these situations.  In his written report, Mr. Frederick stated: "The spring planting season is fast approaching, and I would strongly urge all our citizens to think and practice “water conservation” now and recognize there is a higher than average probability that this year could be a drought year." Mr. Frederick's report can be found online here.

This also raises the question of what is happening with the effort to improve our water supply by building a new pipeline.  Mr. Frederick announced that RWSA is holding a public information meeting on April 18th [see our calendar for details] to announce RWSA's final recommendation for a water supply pipeline solution that will address our population growth and prepare for future severe droughts. This recommendation will be submitted to the RWSA Board, City Council and the County Board of Supervisors.  All signs point to an expected recommendation to build a Charlottesville Pipeline connecting two existing reservoirs with an expanded Ragged Mountain Reservoir adding additional capacity for our future water supply needs.

Brian Wheeler

March 24, 2006

Meadowcreek Parkway Interchange Open House

250interchange20060323At yesterday's open house, members of the 250 Bypass Interchange Steering Committee fielded questions from the public about the proposals being developed for a grade-separated interchange at the intersection of the Route 250 Bypass, McIntire Road and the future Meadowcreek Parkway.

The display panels from the meeting are available on the project website here

250interchange20060323b_1 Display panels like this one showed the current design concepts under consideration by the committee. The committee is requesting public feedback by April 3rd so that it can be reviewed at their next meeting on April 20, 2006.  Even if you could not attend the open house, you can submit an online version of the project questionnaire.

Brian Wheeler

Two City Council Candidate Forums Scheduled

Two candidate forums have been scheduled for the upcoming May 2nd City Council elections.

  • Tuesday, March 28th, 6:00 PM * Hosted by 10th & Page Neighborhood Association. Region 10 offices, 800 Preston Avenue, Basement Meeting Room.
  • Wednesday, April 12th, 7:00 PM * League of Women Voters candidate forum for City Council candidates.  City Council Chambers at City Hall.

Visit Charlottesville Tomorrow's Election Watch page for candidate bios, podcasts and more.

If you need to register to vote, you have until Monday, April 3, 2006 at 5:00 PM. See: Charlottesville Voter Registration Information

Brian Wheeler

March 22, 2006

City Council Candidates on WINA

On March 22, 2006, the three candidates for Charlottesville City Council, Dave Norris, Rob Schilling and Julian Taliaferro all appeared on WINA AM 1070's Charlottesville Right Now with host Jay James.  Charlottesville Tomorrow has the podcast of the interviews and our complete election coverage can be found online here: http://action.cvilletomorrow.org/cvilleaction/elections.html

Listen to podcast:  Download 20060322-WINA-CityCouncil.mp3

  • 00:50 -- Rob Schilling (R)
    13:00 -- Brian Wheeler calls in to thank candidates (and plug Charlottesville Tomorrow of course).
  • 18:00 -- Dave Norris (D) & Julian Taliaferro (D)

Brian Wheeler