On March 28, 2006, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) held a public information meeting to discuss proposed changes to Georgetown Road in Albemarle County. Georgetown Road is about eight-tenths of a mile long and connects Barracks Road to Hydraulic Road.
A resident (center) provides feedback to VDOT Project Manager Greg Krystyniak (left)
VDOT prepared three concepts to show residents how improvements might be built to increase the efficiency of Georgetown Road and more safely blend vehicles, buses, pedestrians and bicyclists. Almost 100 members of the public attended the meeting and asked questions of the many VDOT officials, County staff, and Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett District), Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. The open house format allowed residents to look at information panels with detailed maps and photo simulations of the changes.
Photo: Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Center) is questioned by constituents in the Jack Jouett District where Georgetown Road is located.
Today, Georgetown Road is a two-lane road, half of which has enough width for an existing intermittent turn lane in the center and some sidewalks. The remaining portion is narrower and has only a small asphalt path on one side for pedestrians and bicyclists (photo at left). All three design concepts retain Georgetown Road’s two primary travel lanes and add sidewalks or paths on each side of the road. Concepts 1 and 2 differed in their overall width and handling of buffers between vehicles and pedestrians. Concept 1 had the smallest width at 53’ for right-of-way. Concept 3 had a width of 74’ for right-of-way which allows for a third turning lane in the middle, bicycle paths on the road edges, and sidewalks on each side of Georgetown Road. Cost estimates range from $8 million to almost $9 million in 2006 dollars.
Residents interviewed by Charlottesville Tomorrow had mixed opinions of the three design concepts. Some had property that would be lost to right-of-way purchases required for an expanded road. These residents favored the narrowest concept to preserve their property. Numerous residents voiced their concern about the growing traffic on Georgetown Road and expressed their doubts that the changes would address these traffic volumes. Neighbors pointed out that new developments, like nearby Albemarle Place, would add to the cut-through traffic. Other residents said they made heavy use of the road for walking and bicycling. They favored more substantial upgrades to safely accommodate their needs, add new crosswalks, and make it safer for children in the neighborhood.
VDOT officials told residents they would only build what Albemarle County wanted. They stated that public input would be an important factor in the final design. This project is in the VDOT Six-Year Improvement Program with an expected start date of December 2011.
VDOT officials asked residents to submit comments in writing. Their comment sheet included the following questions: