By Connie Chang

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Unless several transportation improvements are completed, the Albemarle County Planning Commission will no longer recommend the approval of rezonings for the Village of Rivanna, the community’s upcoming master plan will state.

According to senior planner Elaine Echols, the Virginia Department of Transportation will
need to increase the volume to capacity ratio on U.S. 250 East between
Route 22 and Charlottesville. The road projects are estimated to cost over $16 million and include improvements to the

Interstate 64

interchange at Shadwell, a widening to four-lanes of U.S. 250 from I-64
to Glenmore Way, and intersection improvements at U.S. 250 and North
Milton Road.

At a Tuesday work session, the

Albemarle County Planning Commission

set November 17th as the public hearing date for the first

Village of Rivanna master plan

. Since


, County staff have updated the draft to clarify the conditions needed for future development in the area. Similar to previous work sessions, the Commission focused heavily on transportation projects they view as necessary to support the growing community.

The Village of Rivanna, which is located on

Route 250

East and includes the

Glenmore development

, is one of the County’s

designated growth areas

. A total of 674 new residential units have already been approved and another 300-400 units can be accommodated based on the current sewer capacity in the area.

David Benish

, the County’s Chief of Planning, said these improvements are unlikely to occur for many years to come given the current economic climate.

“This area won’t be developed for another 25 years because the funding isn’t there to do these improvements,” said Benish. “In the environment we’re in, we’ll never be able to reach those capacities. We don’t want to approve any development until the improvements are in place.”

Even with the implementation of these improvements to U.S. 250, the level of service adequacy is still being called into question. Glenmore resident Neil Means expressed his frustration that future traffic congestion will not be alleviated through the measures outlined in the master plan draft.

“If these improvements were made, the road would still not be able to handle the traffic,” said Means.

U.S. 250, which has already been operating over capacity, is expected to see a 90% increase in traffic by 2035, up to an average of 42,185 vehicles per day between Route 22 and Charlottesville.

“Even with those improvements the volume to capacity ratio will exceed one. The 300 to 400 [potential] units are contributing a very small part of the traffic,” said Wayne Cilimberg, the County’s Director of Planning.

In considering the language within the draft for deciding on acceptable standards for road capacity, Commissioner

Bill Edgerton

(Jack Jouett) noted the need to anticipate changes in future transportation patterns throughout the County.

“I think there will be substantial changes in how we move around and I think it’ll be bad if we don’t accommodate these patterns of change,” said Edgerton. “Hopefully there will be improvements with mass transit and carpooling. There will hopefully be less people driving to Pantops. We need a certain level of service and how that’s worded is worth thinking about.”

The public will have the opportunity to provide their input on the current draft at the public hearing on Tuesday evening, November 17th, 2009.

A "T" on a purple circle

Charlottesville Tomorrow

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