February 22, 2014
Community leaders and Charlottesville residents gathered at the carver rec center on Saturday morning for another public workshop on the West Main Street design project.
“This is a very important street for Charlottesville,” says Deana Rhodeside, director of Rhodeside and Harwell. “It's a street that connects downtown to the campus, gets a lot of use and could be a lot better than what it currently is.”
Rhodeside is an urban designer that was brought in to create a few layouts of what the popular street could look like in the future.
“We're looking at elements of urban design, we're looking at transportation, how people move through the space in various ways, pedestrians, bikes, cars, busses,” says Rhodeside. “We're looking at what the best layout for the street would be in the future.”
Nine stations were also set up around the rec center, displaying alternatives to the current road as well as samples of elements used to create the character of West Main Street.
Today's community input session allowed people to make suggestions on how to make West Main Street a more pedestrian friendly corridor.
“For years the city has wanted to have a better connection for pedestrian, bikes, any motor transit between downtown and the university,” says Jim Tolbert, director of Neighborhood Development Services in Charlottesville. “We're getting development that's occurring on West Main Street and it's an opportune time to take advantage of that and really strengthen the connection from the city to the university.”
People expressed their likes and dislikes through sticky notes and gave suggestions to better the west main corridor.
“It's really not, do you like alternative A, B, or C,” says Tolbert. “It's what pieces do you like out of each one of them so we can put a final together.”
In the end they hope to take these suggestions and create a pedestrian friendly West Main Street, connecting Charlottesville’s downtown to UVa's grounds.