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October 13, 2011

Albemarle to apply VDOT funding to four sidewalks

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DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pedestrians in Albemarle’s development areas could have more places to walk if the county’s request for Virginia Department of Transportation revenue-sharing funds is granted.

“We have come up with a list of four sidewalk projects that we feel are important to us and are identified in our master plans and consistent with goals we have in our comprehensive plan,” said David Benish, the county’s chief of planning.

The program requires a local match and is ordinarily used for road projects.
Benish said VDOT intends for the program to pay for projects that can get under construction with two years of the funds being awarded.

“We just don’t have very many road projects that are in that stage of development,” Benish said.
The four projects are spread through the county’s growth area.

Sidewalk-map
Source: Albemarle County (Click to enlarge)

One would see the construction of a sidewalk on Crozet Avenue North from St. George Avenue to Ballard Drive, as well as crosswalk and pedestrian warning lights. This project has been planned in part through previous receipt of a Safe Routes to Schools grant. 

Another would build 3,600 feet of sidewalk in the Pantops area on South Pantops Drive to State Farm Boulevard.  This project could go construction bid next summer.

“We’ve been trying to accumulate enough money to get this project done,” said supervisor Kenneth C.  Boyd. “It connects up the missing link for a sidewalk in that area. It’s certainly a high priority project for the Pantops Advisory Council.”

The funding would also allow the county to begin planning for a new sidewalk that would build 1,675 feet of sidewalk on the north side of Barracks Road from the city limits to Barracks West Apartments.

“That area is one of the most densely populated areas in the county,” said supervisor Dennis S. Rooker. “We have very incomplete pedestrian facilities now and this would help provide a significant link to that area.”

The fourth project would build 1,700 feet of sidewalk on Hydraulic Road from Commonwealth Drive to Georgetown Road.

“This has been in our capital improvement program for years but has advanced in importance due to the Stonefield development,” Benish said.

Supervisors agreed Wednesday to move ahead with the application. A formal resolution will need to be adopted by the board at its meeting in December.

Staff recommended last week that supervisors not apply for the program this year because the county only has around $900,000 for capital transportation projects. Supervisors directed Benish to identify projects that could move forward.

“Two of these projects have a fair amount of county money applied to them already to provide the match,” Benish said. “We’d have to go less into the till for the match so we can hang on to some for next year.”

In other news, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution requesting that the addendum to a request for proposals for design and construction of the Western Bypass include recommendations made by a citizen task force convened by Boyd.

The task force was made up of Hollymead area citizens who will be affected by the bypass’ northern terminus. They want it to be built entirely on the western side of U.S. 29, to the south of Ashwood Boulevard, and to not use an additional traffic signal on U.S. 29.

A second task force created by Rooker will make its recommendations before the RFP’s addendum is issued on November 8.

“Part of the idea of the committee is to make certain we have a unified group to comment on the contract when [it is awarded] and the environmental assessment,” Rooker said.

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