At their October 21, 2008 meeting, the Albemarle County Planning Commission discussed potential changes to the Six-year Secondary Road Plan the County submits to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) each year.


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David Benish (file photo)


David Benish, Chief of Planning for Albemarle County, began his presentation by joking, “there is no money, so we can all just go home.” Staff had recommended making no changes to

last year’s project priorities

.

Nevertheless, Commissioners did have a few points to make about the plan. Commissioners Tom Loach (White Hall) and Eric Strucko (Samuel Miller) both drew attention to the transportation projects called for in the Crozet Master Plan.  Commissioner Loach pointed out that the new entrance to the Crozet library may need paving, and Commissioner Strucko suggested raising the priority of the proposed Eastern Avenue that would connect Route 250 and Route 240. Even if the projects may not be implemented right away, Strucko said he felt the Commission should make a symbolic gesture that the infrastructure needs of the designated growth areas will be taken care of. The Commission did not decide to take action on these suggestions, in the interest of maintaining a fair balance of projects across the County.

The Commission discussed how proffers from developers fit into the transportation plan. Currently, some proffers go into a general fund for roads rather than specific projects, but in the future the Board of Supervisors could “get into the road building business” by dedicating these monies to projects on a case by case basis. Commissioner Marcia Joseph (At Large) suggested that more of these projects could be dedicated to bicycle and pedestrian access. Most of the road priorities currently have some bicycle/pedestrian elements, particularly within the urban area. According to Benish, this is a “sea change from where VDOT was a dozen years ago.”

Last year, the Commission decided to lower the priority of the paving of rural roads unless a “significant safety issue” was identified. Staff suggested that such a concern be defined using crash data, fire requests and access issues, erosion, and subjective opinion. Two requests for paving were made by the school division and the fire department, but, given the lack of VDOT funds, none of these new proposals were added to the priority list. The Commission reaffirmed their position on the paving or rural roads.

The Six-year Secondary Roads Plan will move to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors for further discussion and approval.

Daniel Nairn

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