After a unanimous vote by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, the updated Jefferson Area Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan is moving forward.
“I think there’s a great opportunity to work together as a collective, as one community … around these issues,” Peter Krebs, of the Piedmont Environmental Council, said at a commission meeting this past week.
The nearly 175-page document is a guide for listing bicycle and pedestrian projects and encouraging their implementation largely in the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County’s urban ring, as well as the planning district’s other localities — Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson counties. It was last updated in 2004, and work to revise the plan began in 2017.
The regional plan nearly came up for a vote at the February TJPDC meeting, but it was sent back to staff to include a safety plan and educational components “that ensure widespread awareness of the responsibilities of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians,” the document states.
“I understand that this is asphalt and pavement, totally, but you’ve got to build that in somewhere,” said Lisa Green, one of Charlottesville’s two representatives on the commission, during the February meeting.
In Charlottesville and Albemarle from 2013 to 2017, there were 256 collisions between motor vehicles and pedestrians, resulting in 13 pedestrian deaths, according to data in the plan. Over the same time period, there were 99 collisions between vehicles and cyclists that in some cases resulted in injuries, but no fatalities.
The plan now moves to the planning departments of the TJPDC localities for integration into their respective bicycle and pedestrian plans. Charlottesville already has a bicycle and pedestrian master plan; Albemarle has several master plans for areas in the county; and the University of Virginia also has planning efforts that integrate bicycles and pedestrians.
More information about the plan may be found at tjpdc.org/transportation.