Local Planning Commissions Look to Ease Congestion

By: Matt Holmes Email
By: Matt Holmes Email

Tuesday September 25, 2007

By most indications, Charlottesville's a wonderful place to live. But like most anywhere, it's got some issues.

"Transportation is, in my opinion, the number one issue in this entire area," says Albemarle County Planning Commissioner Calvin Morris.

"You have to fix some of the problems," says Harrison Rue of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. "You have some roads that are hard to cross, we have places where there's congestion, where we need to kind of re-engineer the roadways for better intersections that move traffic better and make it easier to get around walking and wheeling."

Rue and his team Tuesday evening presented their recommendations on how to ease congestion across the area to the Albemarle and Charlottesville Planning Commissions.

A big part of the solution, they say, is public transportation.

Rue looked at transit operations in Las Vegas and New York and came away with ideas like new buses with more exits and transit-only lanes on busy roads like Route 29.

"The idea of a trolley route downtown or maybe a circulator trolley up around the shopping center areas makes sense," Rue says. "At this point we're focused on really the service options, routes, frequency, things like that."

He says unlike many areas that can just build new roads or expand existing ones, Charlottesville doesn't have the money or the space.

Calvin Morris and his fellow commissioners say they understand the problems Charlottesville and Albemarle County are facing, and while the recommendations they heard weren't perfect, they're definitely a step in the right direction.

"We're starting to learn. Maybe a day late and a dollar short, but we're starting. We're starting."

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