For the past year, motorists have had the chance to drive south across the east end of the Charlottesville Downtown Mall at Fourth Street East. Merchants had requested the second crossing as a way to bring more people downtown. City Council will decide whether to make that crossing permanent after a public hearing on June 18th.
City Neighborhood Development staff surveyed 532 pedestrians at the crossing earlier this month, and 69 percent responded they want to see Fourth Street remain open to one-way traffic, and 31 percent want it closed.
Traffic studies conducted by the firm Rummell, Klepper and Kahl show that vehicular traffic at both crossings has increased during the period. However, the study shows that pedestrian traffic dropped 22% when comparing April 2006 to May 2007.
The staff report makes no recommendation, but does suggest that if Council wants to keep a southern crossing open, this should remain at Fourth Street. Fifth Street has been proposed as an alternative.