The city of Charlottesville is addressing the bicycle and pedestrian needs of area residents with renewed effort. With the appointment of a new bicycle and pedestrian coordinator and an expanded budget, officials say progress is being made toward completing the goals outlined in the 2003 Bike and Pedestrian Plan.
Charlottesville's bike coordinator, Amanda Poncy, using the Cville Bike mApp with software developer Jeff Shirley
Amanda Poncy, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the city, said the city has completed about 30 percent of the on-street projects in the plan.
“We are currently working with the Bike Safety Committee to update the on-road portions of the bike plan,” Poncy said. “This includes prioritizing the two-year improvements based on grassroots public involvement efforts in 2007 and 2011.”
City councilors voiced their support for increasing bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure during recent budget work sessions.
“Bike infrastructure is getting trickier,” Councilor Dave Norris said. “We’ve done all the easy stuff.”
Mayor Satyendra Huja asked for there to be a better funding balance between different transportation modes.
“For all the amounts [invested] in transportation, we spend the least amount on the bicycle,” Huja said. “People want to know why we are repaving things and not putting in more bike infrastructure.”
These sentiments were reflected in the city’s FY2013 budget approved last week. It includes additional funds for the upkeep and creation of bike and pedestrian facilities.
The city’s budget director, Leslie Beauregard, said $100,000 of the capital budget was moved from undergrounding utilities into bicycle infrastructure development. Beauregard added that other portions of the bike and pedestrian plan have their own funding.
“There are also funds for trails and greenways, budgeted at $75,590; sidewalk repair, $201,571; new sidewalk, $285,000; and citywide ADA improvements to sidewalks and curbs, $95,000,” Beauregard said.
Despite these investments, some local stakeholders are still concerned about the future of bicycle infrastructure.