Funding is nearly in place for two projects that would create a bicycle and pedestrian commuter trail between the intersection of U.S. 29 and Hydraulic Road and the John W. Warner Parkway.
The Charlottesville City Council on Monday approved on first reading two Virginia Department of Transportation awards totaling $700,000 for the route along the north side of the U.S. 250 Bypass. A $300,000 award assists in the design and construction of a bridge on the trail across Meadow Creek at Hydraulic Road and Brandywine Drive; it also connects to a trail that leads to Greenbrier Drive. The $400,000 award contributes to the funding of the remainder of the trail.
The award totals include a combined match from the city of $175,000 that was previously allocated.
In December, the City Council approved on second reading a VDOT grant of $125,000 for the bicycle and pedestrian bridge over a creek in the eastern half of McIntire Park, which included a city match of $75,000. The accompanying trail would link to Melbourne Road and the skate park area. Work on the $2 million bicycle and pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks splitting the park is nearly complete.
“If you look at the combined Charlottesville/Albemarle urban area as one community, as we do, these connections are right in the heart of it,” Peter Krebs, of the Piedmont Environmental Council, said Monday. “They are highly strategic, linking multiple neighborhoods, schools, shopping areas, jobs and resources. It’s a win for both the city and the county, and we hope they will work together to complete both the Meadow Creek system and the larger network.”
These projects would tie into a portion being built from the John W. Warner Parkway westward and a piece already in place behind the fire station on the U.S. 250 Bypass.
“A large section of the trail in western McIntire Park is complete, including two bridges, and YMCA built a portion of the trail, as well,” city trails planner Chris Gensic said in March.
A previous bridge across Meadow Creek that the Rivanna Trails Foundation built had been damaged and removed, according to the staff report on the replacement bridge.
Under the city’s bicycle, pedestrian and trail master plan, the U.S. 250 commuter trail also would connect to a shared-use trail along Emmet Street. A portion of that trail is included in the proposed Emmet Streetscape project, which stretches from Ivy Road to Arlington Boulevard. A public hearing on the streetscape was on the agenda of Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting.
The second reading on the receipt of the U.S. 250 Bypass trail funds will appear on an upcoming City Council consent agenda. A timeline for the project, if funded, was not released Monday.
City Council shifts summer break
The Charlottesville City Council on Monday also made a slight adjustment to its meeting schedule.
In a unanimous vote, councilors elected to keep its meetings scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month. On three occasions when that Monday is a holiday — Jan. 21, Feb. 19 and Sept. 2 — the meeting is set to occur on the following Tuesday.
In an adjustment Councilor Heather Hill suggested, the council’s summer break will move from the first Monday in August to the third Monday in July.
In 2017, the traditional August break led to the lack of a council meeting in the week preceding Aug. 12, and last year’s break was moved to September.