New transportation options may be coming soon to a section of Ivy Road in Albemarle County.
The county’s Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to seek $1 million in funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation to build a sidewalk and other infrastructure between Charlottesville city limits and the Bellair subdivision.
“The project would extend bike lanes or paved shoulders to the intersection of Canterbury Road, just west of the U.S. 29/250 Bypass,” said David Benish, the county’s chief of planning.
The proposal also features some sort of crosswalk at Old Ivy Road, but Benish said those plans have not been developed yet.
Virginia localities can request up to $10 million from the revenue-sharing program each year. The Commonwealth Transportation Board will make a decision on the allocation in early 2014.
The Ivy Road project is the highest priority on the county’s sidewalk construction list and also would include street trees and drainage improvements.
“The area consists of commercial and office uses, and residential developments, including University Heights Apartments and the Poplar Glen townhouse development,” Benish said.
Some members of the area’s cycling community would like to plan to further extend the bike lanes west.
“Going at least to Northridge would be even more beneficial,” said Ruth Stornetta of Bike Charlottesville in an email. “There are many people who would commute by bike if there were lanes on [U.S.] 250.”
Another local cyclist, Peter Ohlms, agreed.
“It's interesting that the proposal for sidewalks and bike lanes, which are clearly needed on this stretch of road, does not extend to Boar's Head,” he said.
Benish said that the University of Virginia Architect’s office has indicated support for the project but has not committed any money for it at this time.
“They’re going to have to help make this happen before we make this happen,” said Supervisor Ann H. Mallek. “Without any financial support from the university I don’t know if we should do it.”
Benish said the discussions were still in an early stage. In 2008, he said, the university asked both the city and county to help fund a $5 million project to enhance the entire Ivy Road corridor. At the time, UVa was proposing to contribute $1 million but both communities declined.
This year’s revenue-sharing allocation went towards several sidewalk projects in the urban area. These include an asphalt walkway on Old Lynchburg Road, a section of East Rio Road between Stonehenge and Pen Park roads, and along U.S. 250 near the Blue Ridge Shopping Center in Crozet.
VDOT is also helping fund the county’s purchase of additional traffic signal synchronization software for U.S. 29. No start date has been identified for when the system will be installed.
Albemarle and the city of Charlottesville have previously used the revenue sharing program for road projects. However, Benish said no projects are sufficiently far enough along in the development process to be eligible for the funding.
Meanwhile, JAUNT director Donna Shaunesey told the Board that her agency is looking to create a commuter route linking Charlottesville with the Boar’s Head Inn and the Farmington Country Club that would provide a ride for workers at those establishments.