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June 23, 2010

Norris asks for Old Lynchburg Road project to be expedited

Reader comments (0) By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, June 23, 2010

When Charlottesville’s capital improvement program (CIP) for FY2011 was developed this past spring, the president of the Fry’s Spring Neighborhood Association expressed his concern the budget included no funding next year for a $3.7 million project to add sidewalks and safety features to his neighborhood’s busiest street.

On Monday, he appeared before City Council to explain why he doesn’t want the project delayed.

“A seven-year-old boy was hit on Old Lynchburg Road just on Friday,” said Peter Hedlund. “This speaks to the issue of safety on that current sidewalk-less road.”

Hedlund urged Council to expedite the project, which will also include the creation of a drainage system to stop stormwater from directly impacting Moores Creek.

20100621-CC-Edwards
City engineer Tony Edwards describes the features in the design for improvements to Old Lynchburg Road

City Engineer Tony Edwards was on hand at City Council Monday to deliver a progress report on the project, which is currently not likely to get under construction until at least the summer of 2013. The CIP shows $500,000 being allocated to the project in FY2012, $1 million in FY2013 and $1.5 million in FY2014. No funding is set to be allocated in the fiscal year that begins on July 1.

Download Download staff report from Tony Edwards

It had been anticipated that the 3,100 home Biscuit Run development in Albemarle County would contribute over $1.5 million towards the project. When the developer of that project decided instead to sell the land to the Commonwealth of Virginia for a state park, the money dried up.

However, the project did not die as a result, and is now in the final design phase. Edwards said engineers are currently working out the details of how stormwater will drain into the watershed. They’re also helping explore the possibility of a new extension of the Rivanna Trail through property owned by the Fry’s Spring Beach Club.

Under these plans, sidewalk and bike lanes would travel along the east side of the road from Azalea Park to Middleton Lane. At that point, bikes would be instructed to continue their journey on Monte Vista Avenue.  Pedestrians would cross the street or use the sidewalk on the west side of the road.

20100621-CC-long-image

Click for a larger image in .PDF format

Edwards said the design would be finalized by the fall. If there was funding, he said construction could begin next summer. However, enough money won’t be accrued through the CIP until FY2013, delaying construction until then.

“We’ve got a project with a lot of citizen input that’s making great progress,” Mayor Dave Norris said. “But right now it’s projected to just sit on a shelf for a couple of years until the funding kicks in.” Norris asked the rest of Council if they would be prepared to reallocate money from other projects in order to get the project started more quickly. He got agreement from the three councilors present. David Brown was not present. With their consent, Norris directed city staff to develop suggestions of where the money could be obtained.

Budget Director Leslie Beauregard said in an e-mail she had not had time to closely look at Council’s new directive and was not prepared to respond.

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