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Supervisors consider projects for VDOT revenue sharing
CTB approves design of 29 widening project
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Sean Tubbs | Saturday, October 06, 2012 at 12:06 a.m.

Albemarle County will ask the Virginia Department of Transportation for at least $1 million in revenue-sharing funds to pay for new sidewalks and intelligent traffic signals for the U.S. 29 corridor.

Every year, all Virginia localities are eligible to apply for additional money from VDOT that must be matched by a local contribution.
 
“Revenue sharing is intended to supplement projects that are ready to go essentially, and the program is designed in a way that it expects the monies to be spent within a two- to four-year window,” said David Benish, the county’s chief of planning.
 
Benish said that for the second year in a row, Albemarle does not have any road projects that meet that criteria.
 
In the current fiscal year, Albemarle used $1 million in funds from the program to pay for sidewalk construction at Pantops, Barracks Road, Crozet Avenue and on Hydraulic Road leading to the new Stonefield development.
 
For this year, Benish is recommending using the funds to help pay for a $1 million sidewalk on Ivy Road from city limits to the University of Virginia police station; $250,000 to upgrade an asphalt walkway connecting Old Lynchburg Road to Region Ten’s offices on Fifth Street; and $550,000 to connect sidewalks on Pen Park Road and around the new Treesdale development on Rio Road.
 
Supervisor Ann H. Mallek asked if UVa was going to also contribute to the improvements to Ivy Road.
 
“They are certainly supportive of it, but their priorities for it are in other sections of Ivy Road,” Benish said.
 
Mallek suggested deprioritizing the project to encourage UVa to reconsider.
 
“It seems like our money should go to the things that we have to pay for and are the only ones able to pay for,” Mallek said.
 
Supervisor Christopher J. Dumler suggested that the county prioritize building a section of sidewalk on Avon Street near Cale Elementary School rather than upgrading the one on Old Lynchburg Road.
 
“I know there’s $70,000 in proffer money that already exists that would get that project pretty much close to completion,” Dumler said.
 
Supervisors agreed not to pursue the Ivy Road project at this time, and to support Dumler’s request instead.
 
Benish also suggested using revenue-sharing funds to pay for half of a $720,000 adaptive traffic signal network on U.S. 29. As first reported by Charlottesville Tomorrow, VDOT is currently testing equipment and software from Rhythm Engineering on U.S. 250 on Pantops and 12 other highway corridors in the state.
 
“To date, the results from that pilot project are somewhat mixed,” Benish said. “Pantops was very successful and there have been one or two others that were marginally successful and at least one project where it wasn’t successful and I believe they decided to take the system out.”
 
Benish said VDOT had considered including U.S. 29 in the pilot program, but opted for Pantops instead.
 
“Because of certain parameters of what makes this system work best, U.S. 29 did not seem be a good candidate,” Benish said. “That had to do with the volume of traffic. The system tends to work better in an inconsistent traffic pattern on a roadway where it is more variable.”
 
Rooker said he is interested in evaluating the system, and not being part of the pilot project.
 
“If you talk to [Rhythm Engineering] and get a list of places where they’ve installed their system … there are several corridors that seem to me to be similar to our U.S. 29 corridor where they have multiple intersections on high-volume roads,” Rooker said.
 
VDOT does not require revenue-sharing applications to be submitted until December.
 
Supervisors will consider the list again next week and will see if any other projects could potentially be funded.
 
 
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