COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Hillsdale Drive Extension
Review and approve recommendations of Hillsdale Drive Extension Steering Committee
Tucker, Foley, Davis, Cilimberg, Benish, Wade
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
April 6, 2005
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
The City has undertaken a study of the extension of Hillsdale Drive from Pepsi Place to Hydraulic Road. The Study Area for this project is generally defined as the area bordered by Route 29 on the west, Brandywine Drive on the east, Greenbrier Drive on the north and Hydraulic Road on the south. The corridor options for extending Hillsdale Drive from its present termini at Greenbrier Drive to Hydraulic Road would include constructing a new roadway in a new location, utilizing existing roadways with improvements, or a combination of these. Development of the road as a multi-modal facility (i.e. automobiles, transit, pedestrians, bicycles, etc.) was an integral part of this Study.
The purpose of this location study was to determine if there is a feasible location for the extension of Hillsdale Drive from Greenbrier Drive to Hydraulic Road. The intent of this project is to:
The Study process considered five alternatives for the extension of Hillsdale Drive, including a no-build option. A description of these alternatives, with a summary of the impacts of each, is provided in Attachment B. A graphic display of all alternatives can be found on Attachment C, D, E, and F of this executive summary. More detailed information regarding the alternatives and their impacts can be found in the full Study, the Hillsdale Drive Extension Location Study Report, located at www.hillsdaledrive.org.
As part of the Study process, the City appointed a steering committee to assist a hired consultant in identifying cultural, historical and natural resources and define potential alignments for the proposed Hillsdale Drive Extension. The Steering Committee mission was to recommend an extension location for the extension of Hillsdale Drive. Several representatives from Albemarle County were appointed to the Steering Committee. County representatives included David Bowerman, Juandiego R. Wade, Bob Metzger (Brookmill Homeowners Association), John Gregg (Branchland Property Owners Association) and James Hill (Northfield Homeowners Association). The Steering Committee met on numerous occasions and held four public meetings. The Steering Committee’s recommendation is attached (Attachment A).
Development of this project has been a long standing priority of the City and County because it has been seen as providing an important link to commercial areas and as an alternative parallel road to Route 29 for local traffic. This project is identified in the County Priority List for Secondary Road Improvements, the County Capital Improvement Plan, and CHART (the regional transportation plan for the City and County Urbanized Area).
Angela Tucker, from the City of Charlottesville Department of Neighborhood Services, will present the Study findings and Steering Committee recommendations to the Board at the April 6th Board meeting. The City Council approved Alternative C at their March 7, 2005 meeting with the same conditions as noted in Attachment G.
3.1 Make the County a Safe and Healthy Community in which citizens feel secure to live, work and play.
There was strong support for Alternative E, the “No-Build” option, at the public hearings held by the Steering Committee, particularly from several neighborhoods and homeowner associations within the immediate study area, some of which are represented on the Steering Committee. The major objections to building the project expressed by the citizens related to concerns over public safety, congestion, noise pollution, air pollution and impacts to property values generated by increased traffic on Hillsdale Drive. Nevertheless, several members of the Steering Committee supported constructing the project, specifically Alternative C. Alternative C was considered the best alternative because it would have the least environmental impacts (to Meadow Creek and its floodplain), utilized the most existing infrastructure/built area, and was furthest from the Brook Mill residential area.
The final recommendation from the Steering Committee (Attachment A) is reflective of the preferences of the members that supported either Alternatives C (Attachment C) or the “No-Build” option. This was achieved by noting the concerns of those supporting the “No-Build” alternative in the final Steering Committee recommendations and recommending to the Board and City Council that, if the “Build” option is chosen, Alternative C would be the recommended alternative, with the conditions as noted in Attachment A. These conditions are intended to address the concerns outlined by neighbors and citizens surrounding the “No-Build” option. The Steering Committee does not provide a recommendation to the Board or Council on whether to support a build or no-build option.
While staff recognizes the concerns of the residents of the area, staff supports the Steering Committee’s recommendations of Alternative C as the preferred alternative. Staff supports Alternative C because it:
Staff recognizes, as did the Steering Committee, that there was significant public opposition to any alternative. A major concern for some of the opposition is a fear that the road would attract a significant amount of traffic from Rt. 29 to the Hillsdale Road area, negatively affecting the character of the area and making the road more unsafe for residents. It should be noted current traffic volumes on Hillsdale Road are 5,800 vehicle trips/day. Under the no-build alternative, the forecasted traffic volume (2025) on the existing Hillsdale Drive is 8,700 trips/day, while under the build option (Alternative C) traffic volumes are forecast at 10,000 trips/day. Staff opinion is that the additional impact from the Hillsdale extension (Alternative C) is not significantly different from what would be anticipated if no extension were made. The recommended road design parameters noted in the Steering Committee’s conditions of approval call for a lower speed, multi-modal and pedestrian friendly road, which would mitigate impacts of the additional traffic. Staff supports the eight conditions recommended by the Steering Committee as part of the Alternative C, option. The recommended conditions establish road design expectations and a community review and input process which will help to address and mitigate the negative impacts of the extension. The County has recently been awarded grant funding to begin installing pedestrian related safety improvements on the existing Hillsdale Drive, including completing the sidewalk system, providing pedestrian crosswalks, mid-road “safe heavens” at crossing points and other improvements. Alternative C would continue these concepts in the new project.
One of the impacts of Alternative C is the potential need to relocate the existing storm water retention pond located at the corner of Hillsdale and Greenbrier Drive in order to realign Hillsdale Drive to intersect with Pepsi Place Drive. Although final design/construction plans have not yet been done for this improvement, relocating the pond adjacent to the realigned Hillsdale Drive is a feasible and acceptable concept according to the County Engineer.
In summary, the extension of Hillsdale Drive, from Greenbrier to Hydraulic Road, is a critical component of a high priority regional strategy to establish a network of local roads parallel to Route 29. This network would provide alternate travel routes, better connections between neighborhoods, better access to businesses and services, safer travel routes for pedestrian and bicyclist and more direct and efficient transit routes between destinations. The Hillsdale Drive extension is one of the high priority parallel roads in this parallel road network as evidenced by its priority in CHART and the 29H250 Study (Phase I and II).
Staff recommends the Board of Supervisors endorse the resolution noted on Attachment G supporting Alternative C.
Attachment A- Steering Committee Final Recommendations
Attachment B- Corridor Alternative Descriptions
Attachment C- Alternative C Location Map
Attachment D- Alternative A Location Map
Attachment E- Alternative B Location Map
Attachment F- Alternative D Location Map
Attachment G- Resolution Supporting Alternative C
Attachment H – City of Charlottesville Location Public Hearing Approval Resolution
Return to regular agenda