By Sean Tubbs

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Monday, November 30, 2009

At their meeting on November 24, 2009, the

MPO Policy Board

heard details about a proposed bike-sharing program at the University of Virginia, a $7 million cut in funds from the

Jarmans Gap Road improvement project

, and

discussed the future of the Regional Transit Authority

.


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The improvements would add sidewalks and bike lanes to Jarmans Gap Road

The Commonwealth Transportation Board will vote this week on ways to deal with a $851.5 shortfall in VDOT’s Six-Year Plan. Among the cuts is nearly $7 million for Jarmans Gap Road, a key infrastructure project supporting the

Crozet Master Plan

, adopted in 2004. The project currently has an advertisement date of January 2011, but that is likely to change if the cuts are approved.

In all, there are $18 million in cuts in VDOT’s Culpeper District. Other projects include a

$3.6 million reduction in funds

for the

Belmont Bridge replacement

in the City of Charlottesville.

The CTB will vote on the cuts on December 1st in Richmond.


Rooker seeks MPO support for maintaining truck lengths

Rooker asked for the MPO’s support for legislation before Congress that would restrict the size of tractor trailers to what is allowed on the road now. The legislation, known as the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act, would preserve the current 80,000 pound weight limit for each truck. However, there is no current federal limit on the length of trucks. Eleven states allow for trucks longer than 53 feet, the current industry standard.

“There is pressure by trucking groups and lobbyists of trucking groups to substantially increase the size of trucks on highways,” Rooker said. One request is to allow up to three trailers for each cab, which Rooker said would increase wear and tear on highways and would make the interstates more dangerous.

“I can’t imagine a triple tractor trailer on I-81,” Rooker said.

The endorsement has now been sent on to Congressman Tom Perriello’s office.


University begins Zipcar service, considering bike sharing

Earlier this month, the University of Virginia began offering a car-sharing program through the company Zipcar. There is a fleet of six cars stored in three locations on central grounds – outside Gilmer Hall, outside the UVA chapel and by Scott Stadium on Alderman Road.

“We’re trying to make them accessible for dorm users, academic use on McCormick Road and then general users,” said UVA Senior Land Use Officer Julia Monteith. If the program is successful, she said it could expand into the City of Charlottesville.

UVA is also considering a bike sharing program. Senior Land Use Officer Julia Monteith said the project originated from a class project in the Commerce School that has evolved into an actual business plan. The MPO endorsed a letter of support for the project as its organizers seek planning grants.

The MPO’s next meeting will be in January 2010. At least two new members will be joining the board to fill the seats being vacated by Supervisor David Slutzky (Rio) and City Councilor Julian Taliaferro.


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