March 3, 2013
Downtown Belmont construction is set to begin this week on sidewalks, landscape and traffic issues. Residents, the Belmont Neighborhood Association and city councilors are all excited to update the basics in Belmont.
The downtown Belmont area has come a long way and some even call it the heart of Charlottesville. After 10 years of talking about it, perfecting designs and getting city funding for the project, construction is set to begin this week.
"It would be so nice to have this place a little more walkable, a little more pedestrian friendly, less traffic and less cars parked in the way, so we're thrilled," said Wendy Philleo, who has lived in downtown Belmont for seven years.
And those are things other residents and the Belmont Neighborhood Association envisioned for the area years ago.
"People come here so they can walk, they can walk around the neighborhood with strollers and dogs and even walk to downtown Charlottesville," said Greg Jackson, the president of the neighborhood association and an architect with an office in downtown Belmont as well. "So making these street improvements really fits in with what this community is about and what people see for it and why people move here."
"We walk here twice a day through here to walk the kids to Clark Elementary and pick them up from school, so it's really important what this looks like and feels like to us," Philleo said.
The designs and construction will address a few different issues.
"Primarily the changing these Y-intersections we have in front of Mas Tapas and Fitzgerald's, into T-intersections to improve traffic flow. Also a lot of what we're doing is giving more sidewalk room back to the pedestrian. We're even gonna get a pedestrian plaza over here in front of Taza and we're really looking forward to that," Jackson said.
Jackson, a resident of Belmont, helped start the streetscape conversation with city councilors and also helped design the project. He says it has really become a community within itself. It's staying traditional and historic but needs to revamp some of the simple things to help everyone love the area even more.
"I mean we already spend a lot of time down here and this is only going to make us want to spend more time down here so we're really excited," Philleo said.
Jackson says the project should only take about three months which will be just in time for summer so the whole community can enjoy an even better downtown Belmont.