Hillsdale Drive Extension Location Study
Steering Committee Recommendation
January 7, 2005
At the outset of this study a Steering Committee made up of City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County staff, VDOT Staff, elected officials, members from local businesses and residential communities and private design consultants was formed to oversee and guide the Hillsdale Drive Extension Location Study. After this initial group met, it was decided to invite leaders of the neighboring communities and organizations to become members of the Steering Committee. Its mission was to recommend a location for an extension of Hillsdale Drive (or a No-Build Alternative) and to ensure that every point of view and every concern was presented and discussed in an open, honest forum. The members of the Steering Committee have taken their responsibilities very seriously and each has represented its groups admirably. The members’ dedication to the study and to those they represent is commendable. As the Committee completes its work with the publication of this recommendation, the citizens of our community should be reassured that they have been heard and their concerns were carefully considered.
The Steering Committee met on nine occasions during this process and has participated in three Citizen Information Meetings and one Public Hearing, along with numerous and well attended neighborhood meetings with those citizens they represent.
Ninety six people signed the Location Public Hearing attendance list. Of those, approximately 43% (41 people) were residents of the Brookmill or Branchlands neighborhoods. Both communities were represented by their association Presidents. Both spoke in favor of the No-Build Alternative. Petitions with a total of 151 signatures supporting the No-Build were received from these two communities.
Written and oral comments include those received from the three organizations in the immediate area that serve the senior community, the Senior Center, Rosewood Village and The Laurels. Rosewood Village supports the No-Build Alternative. The Senior Center and The Laurels have serious concerns about parking and neighborhood safety for their respective facilities under any build alternative. All are looking for assurance that their concerns will be satisfactorily addressed before supporting any build alternative.
The residents of the Brookmill and Branchlands communities support overwhelmingly the No-Build Alternative. The major objections expressed by the citizens relate to concerns over public safety, congestion, noise pollution, air pollution and impacts to property values generated by increased traffic on Hillsdale Drive.
The business community, some local residents and commuters frustrated with the Route 29 traffic are more supportive of a build alternative.
Input seems to indicate that some citizens will never accept any thing other than the No-Build Alternative. Others see this project as an opportunity to supplement safety improvements along existing Hillsdale, create convenient access other than Route 29 to and from existing shopping areas and allow for the redevelopment of new residential, commercial and retail areas that will have a positive impact on the community and the City.
Based on the comments of those who participated in the Public Hearing, there appears to be significant desire for the No-Build Alternative. Of those supporting the extension of Hillsdale Drive, the overwhelming opinion is in favor of Alternative C. Similar opinions exist among the members of the Steering Committee.
Some people who spoke at the Public Hearing in support of the No-Build Alternative indicated Alternative C would be the least objectionable build alternative.
It is the recommendation of the Steering Committee that if Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle Board of Supervisors pass resolutions in support of a build alternative and the Commonwealth Transportation Board subsequently selects a build alternative, that the following conditions should be included in their resolution:
Ř The current Steering Committee should retain its official role throughout the design and construction of the project.
Ř That Alternative C is the alternative the Steering Committee supports under the following conditions:
1. The safety of those working and living in, using the services of and traveling through the area are of the utmost importance and design features incorporated into the roadway must enhance and promote its function as a local, low speed (posted a 25 mph) road which is user friendly to motorists, pedestrians, bicyclist and transit as well as those using other modes of mobility.
2. A community workshop program is to be developed by the Steering Committee so the citizens of the area have the opportunity to provide input about the project and to comment on design features.
3. Any loss in the number of parking spaces presently existing in the vicinity of the Senior Center, Jordan Building, Laurels, or Pepsi Plant, or on the street at Pepsi Place must be replaced in any build alternative.
4. Sidewalks and bike/multi-use trails are to be provided throughout the project and should connect with and include safety features similar to those being implemented on Hillsdale Drive north of its intersection with Greenbrier Drive.
5. The possibility of separated bike paths/multi-use trails and/or alternative-vehicle paths should be thoroughly investigated, particularly in the area east of the Senior Center, the Jordan Building and the Pepsi Plant.
6. Traffic calming and traffic control features should be incorporated into the design to promote a safe, low speed facility and encourage its use as a local road and not as a bypass to Route 29.
7. Design features such as landscape/streetscape, lighting, etc. that will promote the Route 29/H/250 Phase 2 Report vision for the area should be utilized where feasible.
8. Every effort should be made to protect the viewshed, watershed and natural features of the impacted area (including the Rivanna Trail) as part of the design and construction of any build alternative.
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