Funding shortfall leads to Fifth Street trail plan changes
Plans for the linchpin of trail connectivity in southern Albemarle County have changed slightly. Due in part to the need for a flood study and increased survey and design work, there is not enough funding to fully construct a trail hub at the confluence of Moores Creek and Biscuit Run next to the 5th St. Station shopping center.
At a recent presentation, the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, which is administering the project, displayed revised plans that included the removal of a bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Moores Creek, instead having trail users link to sidewalks and bike trails at the signalized intersection of 5th Street Station Parkway and Wegmans Way. The standalone bridge would have linked directly to a proposed trailhead parking lot, the Rivanna Trail and a trail connecting to the Willoughby neighborhood.
In 2006, the TJPDC was granted about $400,000 in funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation for the project. Additionally, the project received about $200,000 from the county through proffers for the shopping center that were designated for trail connectivity, a passive park and designated parking spaces near Wegmans.
To the north of this proposal are bike lanes on Fifth Street Extended, the Rivanna Trail and a potential rerouting of the trail over Willoughby’s current trail. The Rivanna Trail continues west and bike lanes and sidewalks head down 5th Street Station Parkway to Avon Street Extended. To the south is the proposed trail to Biscuit Run Park, which would connect to communities such as Southwood, Mill Creek and Foxcroft.
“This project was appealing because it connected in multiple directions, and for the project to continue to be appealing, it needs to continue to have multiple directions,” Charlottesville resident Peter Krebs said. “And the bridge is not an element that can be sacrificed. … Whereas, having the terminus be at this intersection is not crucial.”
According to the presentation, the bridge also could return to the plan, as VDOT has suggested breaking the project up into two phases.
According to the proffers for 5th St. Station, the county also could get an additional $100,000 from the developer of the shopping center “for the construction by the county of a pedestrian path or trail connecting [5th St. Station] to Willoughby … which connection would include a pedestrian bridge over Moores Creek.”
The flood study is needed because the paved multi-use trail, potential pedestrian bridge and other improvements would be constructed in the floodway for Biscuit Run and Moores Creek, officials said.
TJPDC staff members are expected to meet with district and central office VDOT officials later this month, and the final plans for the trailhead are expected to be submitted to VDOT in September. Construction is set to be completed in October 2021.