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Rio District Candidates Talk Transportation at Forum

By: Ruth Morton Email
By: Ruth Morton Email

September 17, 2013

Candidates for the Rio District of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors talked transportation.

Supervisor Rodney Thomas and challenger Brad Sheffield spoke at a forum at Woodbrook Elementary School on Tuesday night.

One of the hot topics was the proposed Western Bypass, which both candidates discussed at length.

After the meeting, the Newsplex asked each candidate what could can be done to help traffic and the bypass now.

"I don't think a lot of people really see us as having a lot of congestion as much as dysfunction. There's just a lot of things that probably can be improved to help move traffic a little bit better," said Brad Sheffield.

Sheffield said to improve the bypass, staff and Supervisors should reevaluate data and gather more information informing the bypass decision such as who, what routes, and for how long drivers are traveling. This information would allow supervisors to make a more informed decision.

"If you're coming down south on 29, know 'are you going west, are you going east, are you going through the city?' Those kind of questions really need to be answered because that's what determines where we make our investments for transportation. And it also helps decisions like public transportation, like sidewalks, like bike lanes," said Sheffield.

Incumbent Thomas had a few ideas for how to improve Route 29 in the future.

"I'd like the two center lanes be thru lanes, the two outside lanes be transit to be able to get cars into the parking lots. I'd like to see 29 become a business district. I'd like to lower the speed limit a little bit more on 29 itself. The bypass is gonna take a lot of cars off [of 29]," said Rodney Thomas.

Thomas added that the next hurdle to building the bypass is an environmental study of a cemetery. The cemetery is eligible for historic significant designation. VDOT has already moved the road 92 feet away from the cemtery property. Once the study is finished, construction may begin.

They also talked about how to draw more people to public transit, affordable housing, budget priorities, and property tax rates.

Charlottesville Tomorrow and The Daily Progress hosted the forum.

The next Albemarle County Board of Supervisors candidate forum that Charlottesville Tomorrow and The Daily Progress will be Tuesday, September 24 6 p.m. at Cale Elementary School. Cynthia L. "Cindi" Burket is the Republican candidate and Jane DeSimone Dittmar is the Democratic candidate. Both are challengers running to replace interim Scottsville representative William "Petie" Craddock.

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