Attachment A

 

 

VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION RE-ALLOCATION FOR THE INTERSTATE, PRIMARY, AND URBAN SYSTEMS, AND FOR MASS TRANSIT

 

 

        RECOMMENDED ALBEMARLE COUNTY PRIORITIES OCTOBER 7, 2003 September 29, 2004

The following addresses Albemarle County’s priorities for each allocation of TEA-21 and each sub-allocation of the Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds.

 

Surface Transportation Program (STP)

Standard Projects:

The following projects, listed in priority order, are eligible for STP funds.  The County supports these projects as referenced.

 

1)                   Undertake those Charlottesville Albemarle Regional Transportation Study (CHART) – Un Jam 2025(adopted May 24, 2001 May 3, 2004) projects eligible for the primary program in the sequence as called for in the February 2, 1992 joint resolution between the City, County and University and agreed to by VDOT.  These include:

 

Route 29 North.  The U. S. Route 29 North corridor has been the focal point of interest, discussion and debate in the Charlottesville area for many years.  Numerous and varied transportation improvements have been proposed and/or funded over the years.  This highly urbanized area continues to grow and transportation system improvement needs increase. The County, City, VDOT and the MPO have completed Phase I of the 29H250 (US 29 – Hydraulic – 250 Bypass Intersection Study) and the Draft Executive Summary for 29H250 Phase II is now complete Phase II has been approved in the current Primary Plan.  The County requests that VDOT plan for the funding of the 29H250 Phase II Option B design recommendations. The County appreciates this continued VDOT and Commonwealth Transportation Board support of these initiatives. Somewhat concurrently, development proposals in the Route 29 corridor have proffered to help fund a more complete study of the corridor.  The County, in coordination with the MPO, will utilize these and other County funds and anticipated VDOT funds  to study the concept/alignment of this road as part of a larger transportation network study for the County’s Northern Development Areas from the City limits to the Greene County line. The transportation component of this study includes Phase III of the 29H250 Study. This study will establish a series of network transportation improvements that will support the Northern Development Areas and the Rt. 29 Corridors needs. The County urges VDOT to join in funding a comprehensive, context sensitive, multi-modal transportation improvement study of the Route 29 North corridor from U. S. 250 through Airport Road so that limited transportation funds may be spent wisely on improvements in this corridor.

Other projects listed in CHART in the northern study area must be actively pursued and completed. These projects include Airport Road improvements (now under construction), the Hillsdale Drive Extension Project (currently under study) and Berkmar Drive Extended (recommended in CHART). Also, while funding has previously been dropped for Route 29 improvements north of the South Fork Rivanna River, transportation system improvements as identified by the County in its Comprehensive Plan (Attachment B) are imperative to this area. Specifically, the County now requests funding for a third lane north and southbound on Rt. 29 from the South Fork Rivanna River to north of its intersection with Hollymead Drive.  These improvements would tie into a third lane to be constructed in each direction along Rt. 29 up to Airport Road as part of major land development projects at the Hollymead Town Center. This section of Rt. 29 is already congested and new development in accord with the Comprehensive Plan will add to this condition. There are significant peaks and valleys in Rt. 29 through this area that create an existing dangerous situation condition and this will only worsen as traffic increases. This section of road already experiences a high level of vehicle accidents, particularly in the area of Forest Lakes South. Completion of this section would essentially complete the three phases of improvements to Rt. 29 from Hydraulic Road to Airport Road that were originally programmed in the Six-Year Plan in 1988.  These and other Comprehensive Plan transportation system recommendations envision future development to be served by a transportation network that ultimately provides a complete system of urban streets and supports walking and biking and comprehensively links all land uses.

 

Meadow Creek Parkway from the Route 250 Bypass to Rio Road. The Parkway is the County's highest priority project after Route 29 North, and is of the utmost importance in order to maintain an adequate level of service on Route 29 and to improve the overall roadway system serving the urbanizing area north of the City. This project is being funded in the County's secondary program and has been approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) as a low speed parkway in the City of Charlottesville and the County. The County asks that this section be designed and built in accord with the County’s design and alignment recommendations developed with the assistance of an independent consultant and endorsed by resolution of the County Board of Supervisors on June 20, 2001 (Attachment A) and approved by the CTB on December 18, 2001.  This endorsed design and alignment emphasizes the parkway corridor’s potential as a linear park and its relationship to the development of adjacent urban land.  The linear park concept is intended to replace McIntire Park land lost due to the project and, at the same time, link McIntire Park to the Rivanna Trails Foundation trail along Meadow Creek and the County’s urbanizing area along Rio Road. The County trusts this concept will be carried to the design public hearing for the Parkway to be held in the Fall of 2003. After this design public hearing, the County will work with VDOT to further develop the parkland concept and requests that VDOT carry out its legislative mandate to pursue purchasing necessary land. The County also supports funding for preliminary engineering, right of way acquisition and construction of the Meadow Creek Parkway interchange at its terminus with Route 250 in the City of Charlottesville.  This interchange is essential to the safe and acceptable future traffic operation of this high volume intersection.   

 

Northern Free State Road (formerly Meadow Creek Parkway Phase II) Planning and design of the second phase of Meadow Creek Parkway from Rio Road to Route 29 North is being funded in VDOT’s Six Year Secondary Road Plan for the county. The County now plans to study the concept/alignment of this road as part of the previously noted larger transportation network study for the County’s Northern Development Areas from the City limits to the Greene County line (see Route 29 North section).

 

County staff has been working with VDOT staff to get the design process underway.  However, it is not possible to construct this project within a reasonable timeframe solely with secondary funding due to the cost and dramatic impact it will have on the timing for completion of other important secondary projects.  The County believes the Parkway will meet the criteria for inclusion in the primary system.  The Commonwealth Transportation Board previously decided to eliminate funding of the Route 29 interchanges in the primary plan.  If funding of the interchanges is not going to be re-established in the plan, the County believes primary funds should be directed to the Parkway and wants to work with VDOT staff to evaluate construction of subsequent phases as a primary road, provided it will accelerate the Parkway's completion. For the thirteenth consecutive year the County urges VDOT to investigate all possible funding sources, particularly primary road funds, to achieve the quickest construction of this vitally important roadway.  Additionally, the County requests that funding is included from Recreational Access Funds to enhance pedestrian and bicycling components of the project.

 

2)                   Complete preliminary engineering and undertake the widening of Route 20 South from I-64 to Mill Creek Drive.  Incorporate sidewalks and bike lane facilities into these improvements. This is a curvy section of road in the County’s Urban Area that serves the traffic from Monticello High School and has experienced several accidents with fatalities in recent years.

 

3)                   The County acknowledges the significance of Route 29 in Virginia and the multi-phased Corridor Study completed recently. The County continues to go on record as not supporting a limited access design for the Albemarle County section of the corridor. The County has provided VDOT and CTB a resolution regarding this study which repeats the access management recommendations of the Phase I Corridor Study (Attachment C).

 

4)                   The County supports the funding of the TransDominion Express and recommends that it be seriously considered as a multi-modal means to address the issues and recommendations identified in the multi-phased Route 29 Corridor Study.

 

5)                   There are three areas of emphasis the County requests be addressed on Route 250:

 

            A)         Improve Route 250 west from Emmet Street to the Route 29/250 Bypass.  This section is covered by the joint Ivy Road Design Study conducted by the City, County and University of Virginia and originally recognized for improvement in the Lewis Mountain Neighborhood/University Heights (Area B) Study.  The University of Virginia is currently constructing a new basketball arena and parking facilities in this area that will likely create additional traffic demands on Ivy Road.  Any plans for the improvement of this section of Route 250 West need to be coordinated between the City, County and University.                                                         

 

            B)         The remaining portion of Rt. 250 West to Yancey Mills (the I-64/250 interchange) was studied by VDOT with a local advisory committee to determine long term needs for this road. The Board of Supervisors has rejected the study recommendations completed in 2000 and, passed a resolution supporting Route 250 West as a Scenic Virginia Byway with significant historic, natural, and scenic qualities.  The County instead recommends maintaining the present two-lane configuration of the corridor with any short term or spot improvements being as non-intrusive and consistent as possible with the special character of this scenic by-way.

 

            C)         VDOT has completed a similar study of Rt. 250 East from Free Bridge to the Fluvanna County line. This study’s findings have been presented to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.  The Board of Supervisors awaits the final study recommendations from VDOT.  Finalizing this study is imperative to the County in coordinating short and long term land development and transportation improvements in this corridor. This study has recently been re-submitted to the County for further consideration and action. The County will consider the recommendations of this study as part of the Neighborhood Planning process “Pantops Urban Area Neighborhood Master Plan.”

 

7)                   Undertake improvements to Route 240 in Crozet in accord with recommendations from the recently completed Crozet Master Plan.

 

8)                   Undertake the widening of Route 20 North from north of Route 250 East to the Elks Drive/Fontana Drive intersection. Incorporate sidewalks and bike lane facilities into these improvements. The County has also listed these improvements under “Safety” priorities.  The sidewalks will connect low-cost housing to shopping, to mixed-use area, and to newly extended bus line. The current conditions are very unsafe.

 

9)                   Undertake improvements of Fontaine Avenue from Jefferson Park Avenue to its western terminus due to the road’s current condition and future traffic associated with potential future development.  improvements along the frontage of the University Real Estate Foundation development. The County supports the recommendations identified by the Fontaine Avenue Task Force. The City, County, and University are currently updating the Southern Area B Study. The County requests VDOT fund the Study’s transportation recommendations of this study once completed and adopted.  Important road improvements are being considered in this new study, including a road connecting the County’s Southern Urban Areas to the City and University (Fifth Street/ Sunset Road to JPA and/or Stadium Road).

 

10)   Recognize that mass transit can relieve traffic congestion and is an alternative to road construction, particularly in more densely developed urban areas, and shift funds from road construction into mass transit to accomplish this.

 

Safety Improvements:

Several projects in the County seem to qualify under this 10% set-aside.  They are, in priority order:

1)    Construct pedestrian walkways along various primary routes within the County’s Urban Neighborhoods. Absent the incorporation of such road walkways into full road widening/improvement projects, the following road sections are priorities for pedestrian walkways: 1) Route 20 North from Route 250 East to Wilton Farm Apartments and Darden Towe Park; 12) Route 240 in “downtown” Crozet; 23) Route 20 South from the City line to Mill Creek Drive; 34) along Route 250 East in the Pantops area as an extension to existing sidewalks; and  45) along Route 250 West from the City limits to the Bypass.

 

Of these, the walkways along Route 20 North are the most important improvement.  Pedestrian travel along this road has increased significantly with the development in that area. Furthermore, Wilton Farms Apartments are now served by public bus service, which travels along Route 20 North, and a walkway would provide additional pedestrian access to this service.  There is great concern with the safety of walking along this segment of road as currently constructed.          

 

2)    The County has placed a high priority on pedestrian improvements in the Crozet area. The County chose Crozet as the first community to be master planned based on the County’s adopted Neighborhood Model. This was an eight month process that included active public participation and identified the location of necessary sidewalks to make this a safe,   walkable community that can be a model of infill and smart growth in an historic village.  The County received TEA 21 funding in July 2004 for Phase I of the Crozet Streetscape Plan and continues to seek additional funding to undertake needed improvements (see Enhancement Project section).

 

The County previously submitted a TEA –21 Enhancement application in 2002 and 2003 for downtown Crozet which included relocation and burial of overhead utility wires, construction of historically compatible sidewalks, and installation of period street lighting, benches, and other streetscapes and road cross section improvements.  This application was not approved for funding in 2002, but the County continues to believe this is an essential project. The County is hopeful that VDOT will support the 2003 application.

3)  Reconfigure intersection and install traffic signals at the intersection of Routes 22 and 250 Route 231/22 and Route 250 intersection.

 

4)  Improvements to Route 250 West along the corridor in Ivy to address existing and short-term traffic circulation problems, including access to developed properties in this area.  Of particular concern is the Tillman Road intersection (Route 676), which serves school bus traffic and has poor sight distance.  These improvements should be undertaken in accordance with recommendations approved by the Board of Supervisors in the Route 250 West Corridor Study.

 

5)  Improvements to the Route 240 underpass at the CSX Railroad tracks in Crozet.

 

6)  Functional plans, including an analysis of possible safety improvements, for Routes 22 and 231. The County remains concerned with overall public safety as it relates to traffic created by large trucks along these road segments, and encourages VDOT to consider all appropriate measures to ensure that trucks travel safely along these roadways in the future. VDOT is considering undertaking an origin-destination study regarding truck traffic on these routes as requested by the County. Restriction of through truck traffic is still considered by the County to be potentially the most effective measure. The County has repeatedly requested VDOT to restrict through trucks on Route 22 and Route 231.

 

Enhancement Projects:

 

This is a valuable funding source for which several projects appear to be eligible.  Unfortunately funding for new projects is not available this year.  The County urges that funds be made available for new pedestrian and bicycling projects.  For the County, new projects, in priority order, are:

 

  

1)  Pedestrian streetscape improvements in downtown Crozet. These streetscape improvements, which were included in an Enhancement Grant submitted in January 2002 and June 2003, include the relocation and burial of overhead utility wires, and construction of historically compatible sidewalks.  The County received TEA 21 funding in July 2004 for Phase I of the Crozet Streetscape Plan. The County will submit an application for Phase II in October 2004, which will include replacing existing deteriorated curbs and sidewalk, constructing new sidewalks, and installing other streetscape improvements (landscaping, plaza/bench, lights crosswalks, etc.) along the southern section of Crozet Avenue near the intersections of Jarman’s Gap Road and Tabor Street.

 

2)  Construction of pedestrian walkways along Route 20 North. The sidewalks will connect low-cost housing to shopping, to mixed-use area, and to newly extended bus line. The current conditions are very unsafe.

 

3)  Beautification of entrance corridors (particularly Route 20, 29 and Route 250) and Airport Road connecting Route 29 and the Charlottesville/Albemarle Airport - landscaping, signage, placement of overhead utilities underground, etc.

 

4)  Construction of bikeway facilities as prioritized in the Bicycle Plan for the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County (adopted by the Board of Supervisors as an element of the Comprehensive Plan on July 17, 1991).

 

5)  Development of portions of the Rivanna River Greenway path system.

6)  Removal of non-conforming billboards.

National Highway System (NHS)

The Charlottesville-Albemarle MPO Policy Board approved the NHS as proposed by VDOT in this area excluding the Route 29 Bypass. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has approved the NHS, which includes the existing Route 29, and the Route 29 Bypass.   The County believes any projects that are included in the NHS should reflect the recommendations that result from the previously referenced transportation improvement study of the Route 29 North corridor area.

 

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program           

This does not apply to Albemarle County.  The County is not in an area of non-attainment for ozone or carbon monoxide.

 

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