At their meeting on February 25, 2009, the MPO Policy Board was briefed on the many rules by which the economic stimulus money will be handed out, got status updates from area transit companies, and learned more about a project to link land use and transportation decisions in Greene County.
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Nancy Arens, Grants Coordinator for the Charlottesville Transit Service reported that the agency is on target for another year of ridership increases.
“We’ve recently surpassed 1.1 million passenger boardings for the year, which is an increase of 14% year to date,” Ahrens said. “And over the past five years, we’ve had a 40% increase.” She attributes the increases to the addition of night service on Route 5, as well as expanded service on Route 7 to Fashion Square. Supervisors Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett) and David Slutzky (Rio) asked for hard numbers to be reported at the next MPO number so they could report back to the rest of the Board of Supervisors.
Ahrens also reported that CTS will conduct an on-board passenger survey in mid-March.
Chairman David Slutzky was not present at the January meeting of the MPO because he was in Richmond to lobby for the Regional Transportation Authority. While a bill to create the RTA passed, a House subcommittee killed a second bill that would have allowed Charlottesville and Albemarle County to hold a referendum on a sales tax increase to fund transit and transportation projects. Slutzky asked the rest of the MPO Policy Board if they would be open to a discussion of what next steps can be taken. Rooker asked for the MPO Tech Committee to weigh in first.
“I think a lot of what goes into the decision about how we move from here is based upon the components of what have to be done to create an RTA in terms of moving assets,” Rooker said. “And the decision is going to need to be made based upon the workload of the costs created by doing that.”
Slutzky said either way, he wanted the MPO Policy Board to discuss the topic next month.
GREENE COUNTY MULTIMODAL STUDY
Though Greene County is outside the MPO Policy Board’s jurisdiction, they were still briefed about a project that the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) was asked to work on. The MPO Policy Board is administered by the TJPDC, and applied for a grant from the federal and state governments to conduct a multimodal study of US 29 and US 33 through Greene County.
The population of Greene County is expected to increased from a current estimate of 17,000 to upwards of 28,000 by 2030, according to Bill Wuensch of the Renaissance Planning Group. That Charlottesville firm won the contract from TJPDC to conduct the study. He said the goals are to improve the existing transportation system by better coordinating land use and transportation decisions. Supervisor Slutzky suggested that Wuensch consider a park-and-ride north of US 33 to accommodate commuters whose ultimate destination are jobs in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
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