October 24, 2005
With the Charlottesville area growing by leaps and bounds, traffic and congestion have become a major problem, which came to the forefront tonight in a heated community debate. That congestion is causing officials to divert traffic from neighborhoods, causing more problems.
Growth versus the traffic it causes is a problem that both Charlottesville and Albemarle County are facing. One area of residents from the Meadows neighborhood brought their concerns of a new traffic diversion method to community leaders.
The traffic diverter at the corner of North Berkshire Road and Cedar Hill Road brought more than 100 residents in and around the Meadows Neighborhood to a community forum.
"So I don't know how much diverting is being done in terms of stopping that traffic," said Katie Corash.
"We need to put something out there just to...make sure the children are safe," said Cliff Holmes.
Residents were both happy and upset with the traffic calming measure installed by the City. The diverter was installed in a neighborhood that lies right on the County line, causing another problem.
"People take shortcuts through City neighborhoods and if we stop them from taking shortcuts through City neighborhoods, then they take the shortcut through an adjacent County neighborhood," said Charlottesville Mayor David Brown.
The measure was installed partly to deal with anticipated growth of Albemarle Place, which could increase traffic on by 30,000 cars a day. However, people in those adjacent neighborhoods had several concerns about the diverter.
"It uses more gas, creates more pollution, and if you put a permanent thing the emergency vehicles will not be able to get through," said one concerned resident.
"Our neighborhood should not be responsible for shouldering the burden created across the street in Albemarle County," said another concerned resident.
A sentiment that others say is not the answer to problems in the bordering neighborhoods.
"What I'd like to ask is that we try and get the City and the County together on this thing," said Jeff Monroe.
"The City and County need to come together to talk about traffic calming and traffic issues in these neighborhoods and probably a lot of other neighborhoods as well," said Mayor Brown.
For now, there are no formal plans for any changes to move forward. City and county officials will talk about the best measures for both areas, and consider any changes amongst their respective bodies.
The mayor plans to discuss this problem with the other counselors before any measures are taken.