The Albemarle County Planning Commission will be holding a public hearding on the Draft Places29 master plan on Tuesday (10/27) at 6:00 pm in the County Office Building. In preparing for this hearing, I am concerned if the graphics presented match the plans being discussed or even agree internally.
Take a look at these first two images:
What speed would be appropriate for this road?
Note the large pedestrian crosswalk wide sidewalks and sidewalk cafe’ aka “Urban Frontage”.
If the speed limit was 45 miles an hour, would the East side of this urban boulevard feel connected to the West side? Or, would the urban boulevard cut the community in half?
Places 29 is not occuring in a vacuum. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) released their vision for US 29/Hydraulic/250. While concepts for an eastern bypass and a connection road called Leonard Sandridge Extended have been scuttled from the plan due to strong opposition, the vision for the 29/H/250 interchange remains. Compare their graphic to the ones above:
What speed could be achieved with the so called “Kroger Flyover”?
Does this help or harm the concept of an urban boulevard?
A footnote in the VDOT presentation regarding the US 29 corridor indicates VDOT will (in the long term) be seeking grade separated interchanges for all intersections from 250 north past Ruckersville.
The planning for the elimination of direct access to 29 is in the works. VDOT has desired this for some time but local officials have held firm that such access decisions are their purview where VDOT should be safety focused.
It seems as though Places29 is speaking from both sides of its mouth. By reducing the traffic movements avaiable, the flow of traffic will increase; an urban frontage condition is enhanced by slower speed traffic.
So which is it?
Are we trying to speed traffic through Albemarle using restrictive local transportation design?
Or are we attempting to slow it down with land use?
Or do we really think we can have it both ways?