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December 30, 2005

Ruckersville Parkway Presentation

Asapcrowd_1 Posted by Lyle Solla-Yates:

I attended last night’s discussion of the
Ruckersville Parkway held by Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population. All three of the Parkway’s proponents presented: former Delegate Mitch Van Yahres, Bern Ewert, a candidate seeking nomination for the upcoming Fifth District race for the US House of Representatives, and local architect Gary Okerlund.

The initial presentation went over a lot of facts already publicly available. They are no longer giving a cost estimate. Previously they were suggesting it would be in the ballpark of $140,000,000. The speakers pointed out that the Ruckersville Parkway’s right of way is one hundred feet, compared with the Western Bypass’s purchased right of way of three hundred feet. Ruckersville_parkway_4

Mr. Ewert pointed out that an important part of this concept is its environmental appeal. Because of the lower speed, environmental impacts will be reduced by 90% as compared to the Western Bypass, due to less grading. An Environmental Impact Statement will be necessary if the design proceeds.

Some interesting issues came up during the question and answer period. There was major confusion on all sides over how residents on Earlysville and Route 743 will be affected. Residents expressed concerns about the extra traffic and loss of property that they believe the project would bring.  The group hopes that by taking the Parkway to the next step of a study, where it can be refined, these problems will be better understood and corrected. My understanding of the plan (see map at right) is that it will essentially create a bypass around the denser areas of Earlysville Road, potentially easing congestion by routing traffic around it.

Mr. Ewert cited a figure of 1,000 new homes approved in the Ruckersville area as a motivating factor for the Ruckersville Parkway. An audience member asked whether Ruckersville would be less desirable for growth without the Ruckersville Parkway. Mr. Van Yahres replied that the growth is "inevitable."

One of the audience members pointed out a potential conflict of interest for former Deputy City Manager Bern Ewert, who has announced his candidacy for the House of Representatives seat currently held by Virgil Goode. ASAP President Jack Marshall clarified that Mitch Van Yahres was asked to speak on the issue, who then invited Bern Ewert and Gary Okerlund to join him. Mr. Ewert said that he thought of the idea for the Ruckersville Parkway before he decided to run for election.

Potential damage to the Ivy Creek Natural Area near the reservoir concerned another member of the audience. Mr. Ewert said that the park will not be affected.

The Ruckersville Parkway will be further evaluated as part of the Places29 master planning process. Charlottesville Tomorrow will continue to report on any developments. The Daily Progress coverage of last night's event is here.


(Proponents of the Ruckersville Parkway, from left: Mitch Van Yahres, Bern Ewert, and Gary Okerlund)

December 22, 2005

Albemarle Supervisors Sworn In

Supervisors20051222Three members of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors elected in November were sworn into office today by Circuit Court Clerk Shelby J. Marshall at the County Office Building.  In this photo, Sally Thomas (Samuel Miller), David Slutzky (Rio), and Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett) can be seen taking their oath of office.  Their new four-year terms start on January 1, 2006.  Brian Wheeler

December 15, 2005

Podcast Meets TiVo

TivologoThe TiVo at Charlottesville Tomorrow's office woke up this morning with new talents... it can now receive Podcasts!  While I have not figured out if it can record them automatically,  I am listening to one of our recent Podcasts on my office television.

TivopodcastAs you can see in the image on the right, my TiVo is displaying the broadcast of the recent MPO meeting.  This is quite exciting as now our Podcasts will be available to a whole new audience of users who are comfortable with their TiVo and televisions, but might be reluctant to listen to audio via the Internet or an iPod.  Brian Wheeler

December 14, 2005

Albemarle Place Site Plan Under Review

Jim Duncan is offering some comments today on future traffic congestion issues related to the planned Albemarle Place development near Route 29 and Hydraulic Road intersection area.

The site plan is under review by Albemarle County and staff have told Charlottesville Tomorrow that, while it is currently on the agenda for discussion at the January 10, 2006 Albemarle County Planning Commission meeting, a deferral is expected.  We are tracking this project on the Charlottesville Tomorrow calendar.

Hydraulic29intersectionThe picture at the right is what the site plan has in mind for the intersection near the current 7-11 store (Hydraulic Road is on the left and Route 29 heads North on the right). Other buildings in the development can be seen in the distance up Hydraulic Road.

Transportation issues around Albemarle Place were discussed at the last MPO meeting.  Charlottesville Tomorrow has a Podcast of that discussion.  Of interest was the fact the Grumman/Sperry Marine was not cooperating with the County's interest in interconnecting their property to Albemarle Place and that the end result was going to be a new "temporary" traffic signal and crossover of 29N near the US Post Office to allow northbound traffic a way to turn into Albemarle Place (since the Sperry entrance and traffic light won't be shared).  Another light is also proposed to be added on Hydraulic Rd. 

Route29entrance20051212smThis last picture shows the development as it might be viewed from near the Burger King in Seminole Square.  This view looks across 29 at the area South of the Sperry Marine facility.

Brian Wheeler

Ruckersville Parkway Discussion

Ruckersville_parkway_2I plan to attend the presentation on the Ruckersville Parkway this Thursday (weather permitting) organized by Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population. I'll post a summary of the discussion afterwards on this weblog and hopefully some other attendees will contribute their impressions.

The Ruckersville Parkway is a new road project being promoted by former Delegate Mitch Van Yahres, Bern Ewert, a candidate seeking nomination for the upcoming Fifth District race for the US House of Representatives, and local architect Gary Okerlund. The road is intended to reduce traffic on 29.

- Lyle

[Note: Lyle Solla-Yates is an intern at Charlottesville Tomorrow and he has prepared this map of the Ruckersville Parkway as well as an informative interview with Mitch Van Yahres. Brian Wheeler]

December 07, 2005

Supervisors Discuss Development Process in Albemarle

At their meeting today, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors had an important discussion about the County's development process. [Daily Progress coverage] Early in an agenda item on policies related to improving the zoning application process, Ken Boyd (Rivanna) made a proposal to create a high-level “strike force” that would work over 6-12 months to review the community development process from start to finish.  The resulting discussion touched on Crozet, the Glenmore/Rivanna growth area, the neighborhood model, master plans, comprehensive plans, and the overall goal of channeling new development to our population centers. This is probably the most significant exchange I have heard by the Board of Supervisors on these topics. 

The topics they covered are also at the heart of Charlottesville Tomorrow’s mission to share information with the public and to find a common agenda to protect and enhance our community so that growth is well-planned, benefits the community as a whole, and protects the area’s quality of life, rural character, and healthy environment.  The path to quality growth is through a deeper understanding of these issues and viewpoints in the community and I thought good points were made by all.  It was an important conversation that will continue early in 2006.

[Note: Sally Thomas (Samuel Miller) was attending another meeting and not present for the discussion]

The audio of this discussion is available via the Charlottesville Tomorrow website.  If you are not a current subscriber to Charlottesville Tomorrow's information, you just need to signup when prompted and provide your email address to get access.

To listen visit:

Brian Wheeler