Last Friday's Daily Progress featured an interesting advertising insert that caught my attention.
I was surprised that:
- it referred to a stretch of Route 29 as "uptown"
- it had a map of the County's growth areas
- it appeared to be trying to engage the public's attention on the Places29 master planning process, yet it had information that certainly wouldn't have come from our planning and transportation experts
- it seemed oriented towards shopping opportunities
- BUT it gave no indication of who paid for the advertisement
So I picked up the phone and called the Daily Progress. Gina Talley in the advertising department filled me in on the publication which was run by the Daily Progress itself in an effort "to boost traffic towards that area which is not getting the attention it deserves."
Ms. Talley explained to me that the newspaper was running these inserts once a year. Last year the focus was Hollymead Town Center. This year, since the Places29 master planning process was underway, attention was given to the entire "uptown" corridor. I find it fascinating that the term "uptown" has already been adopted from the as yet unapproved master plan. By the way, the Daily Progress headquarters near Rio and Route 29 is in the middle of what the Places29 team refers to as "midtown."
Transportation was also on the mind of the Daily Progress advertising staff, however, not in the same way as our transportation planners and the Board of Supervisors. While the latter are considering a bus rapid transit system up and down the 29 North corridor, the Daily Progress is "trying to change the mindset of the public who avoid that part of town because of traffic [congestion]." Ms. Talley said this sort of advertising will educate the public that they can get to "uptown" a lot faster than they realize.
In the ad, the Daily Progress mentions:
"Charlottesville is turning up in numerous polls as one of the country's best places to live and it appears that people are taking notice. Every where one looks in Charlottesville and the surrounding counties, growth is occurring at an ever quickening pace....But growth is inevitable and Albemarle County is doing a good job in its attempt to direct this growth properly through Places29."
So jump in your car and get shopping! Now at least you know who was doing the talking in this interesting advertorial.