Long-Term Transportation Plan Moves Forward

June 25, 2013

We are getting a closer look at how the roads Central Virginians travel may look in the future.

The Albemarle County and Charlottesville planning commissions held a joint work session Tuesday evening to review two Long-Range Transportation Plan scenarios developed by the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The commissions discussed how those scenarios assist in achieving the city and county's comprehensive plans.

Widening roads, extending others and adding transit routes are just some of the possible changes being considered.

Under review are two transportation scenarios, each made up of nine potential projects. The commissions were tasked with evaluating the scenarios as a whole.

"This is a regional transportation plan, so what we're trying to develop is a regional transportation scenario," said MPO program manager Sarah Rhodes. "It's more holistic than project-by-project."

Both scenarios consider widening US-250/29 from Barracks Road to the I-64 interchange from four lanes to six lanes.

One scenarios would widen US-250/Pantops to no more than six lanes, adding pedestrian crossings.

Both groups of projects look at transforming the area's most heavily-traveled road into a boulevard. Route 29 would be slowed down and reshaped to become "multimodal."

"29 would be re-evaluated to provide more transit opportunities, more bike-ability, more pedestrian facilities, better signalization and allow for people getting across 29 instead of just along 29," said Rhodes.

Calvin Morris of the Albemarle County Planning Commission says, while it was difficult for many members to evaluate the projects groups as a whole, the next step should be getting feedback from the areas directly affected by the possible projects.

"What we would really like to do, as far as the county, is take it to our areas that are doing master planning and asking the people that this will really affect would you like this road widened? If we did, what effect would that have?" said Morris. "There are some nuances that people who live in those areas know and the planners may not know."

The projected costs of the transportation projects were not available at Tuesday's meeting.

The MPO is in the process of updating its Long-Range Transportation Plan, which covers a 20-year outlook and includes transportation projects expected to receive federal funding in that time.

The MPO is currently in the second round of planning out of an expected three-to-four rounds.

Rhodes says the organization will develop a third round of scenarios in July and have them assessed in September. The plan needs to be approved by spring of 2014.

"We might add projects, we might remove projects, we might find completely different projects all together," said Rhodes. "The process isn't locked in in any way, shape or form, so there's a lot of malleability still in the development."

For more details on the projects in the two transportation scenarios, click on the related document attached below.

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