Our Town 10/3/2013

word cloud from 2013
what we were saying

Our Town October 3, 2013, Woolen Mills Chapel, 1819 East Market Street. (Enduring thanks to Willoughby Parks who transcribed the audio.)

Mayor Satyendra Huja: Have a seat please:

Bill Emory: Come on in and have a seat. Or be quiet and stay where you are.

Mayor Huja: And Bill Emory is going to give us an introduction from the neighborhood for the neighborhood and welcome.

Emory: Yeah, I’m just going to read a few comments. I want to welcome neighbors, Council. I see Council candidates, the police, lots of department heads, legal staff, but especially neighbors. Welcome to the Woolen Mills. You know the Woolen Mills Neighborhood Association has been in existence since 1980. But people have been living in this neighborhood, on this place, for thousands of years. And we live in a bend of a State Scenic River on rich fertile ground.
Seated here you’re eight-tenths of a mile from the front porch of Monticello. And one point two miles from the Downtown Mall, in the center of our universe. But often as a neighborhood we feel that we are in the center of the cross-hairs.
Now over the years our discussions with Council have focused on a handful of issues. We’ve asked for reduction in traffic speed and volume. We’ve asked for reduction in sewage smell. And there’s someone here from RWSA tonight. We’ve asked for pedestrian safety improvements and we’ve asked that planning and zoning be used to conserve our natural cultural resources as well as our quality of life. We’ve partnered with government entities in the creation of a National Historic District and the design of a sewage pumping station, and in the care of our city park. We’ve planted street-scape trees, we pick up trash, we attend city meetings. We have accomplished much but still we feel threatened.

Franklin Street tree pushdown
City subcontractor LINCO pushing down a street tree on Franklin

We are reassured by statements from Mayo Huja and Vice-Mayor Szakos in opposition to a bridge through the Woolen Mills. We thank Dave Norris for his enduring stand against the county using city neighborhoods as an interchange. Diversity is a strength to our way of thinking. We are all kinds of people in this neighborhood. But our mixed status, our socio-economic profile, seems to attract locally unwanted land uses. Please work with us in our efforts to secure the quiet enjoyment of our homes and the health, safety, and welfare of our neighborhood. Together we can make it so.
Thank you very much.
When you guys come up to talk to the Council please use the microphone. We can turn it around but that way the recording will actually hear you, which is a great thing.

Mayor Huja: Thank you again for coming to a meeting. And let me give you the format of this meeting it is an open meeting. You can talk about any subject your heart desires. There is no three minute limit. I won’t be telling you three-minutes at all. You can talk on any issue you like. We are also taking a record of all what you say so we can follow up on those concerns. We also have our own department heads representing all different city departments so they can answer the question you are trying to answer or if not we can get the answer back to you afterwards. So would the members of the Council like to say anything else?

Rivanna River at Riverview Park
Rivanna River at Riverview Park

Councilor Kristin Szakos: Do you want to introduce the – or I can introduce. We have department heads here. I wonder if they can just sort of stand and shout out their names and their department. Are they all in the other room?

Beck: Galloway Beck

Councilor Szakos: Do we have any staff here that would like to introduce themselves?

Murphy: Mike Murphy, Human Services

Engle: Chris Engle, Economic Development

Longo: Tim Longo, Police

Stewart: Lance Stewart, Public Works

Parker: Vic Parker, Parks and Recreation

Mayor Huja: So you can see all the resources to help us out.

WOMAN: Yeah, I think there’s (talking together) There’s one there and – Chief of Police and Sheriff right here.

Werner: Charles Werner, Fire Chief

Tolbert: Jim Tolbert, Neighborhood Development Services

Dickler: Miriam Dickler, Director of Communications

Mayor Huja: Sheriff?

Brown: I’m James Brown, the Sheriff.

Mayor Huja: Anybody else?

MAN: City Manager?

Huja: City Manager, where is Maurice Jones? And my colleagues here…

CHO City Council
(left to right) Councilors Norris and Szakos, Mayor Huja, Councilors Galvin and Smith, City Manager Jones

Councilor Szakos: Wonderful. and (talking together) And I just also wanted to point out that if there are people here who can’t get up and, and walk you know cause it’s really hard for you to move, just ask and I think this can be unwound from the pole and the microphone can be brought to you.

Mayor Huja: Okay.

Councilor Dede Smith: I’d just like to thank whoever it was, Bill? for the copies of this, this history magazine with the Rivanna River and a biographical sketch.

Emory: What Ms. Smith is referring to is Paul Goodloe McIntire, originally envisioned that McIntire Park would be along the Rivanna. And unfortunately he was unable to acquire the, the property but there was an article in the Magazine of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society about that. And the article is also – they’re allowing our local website, historicwoolenmills.org to serialize it on the Internet if you would be interested in reading the article.

Mayor Huja: Thank you. So we’ll get started. Anybody would like to start us off? Please.

Ackerman: So do we have to tell you our names?

Mayor Huja: We’d like to know that.

Ackerman: Karl Ackerman. I live at 1611 East Market Street. I want to talk about the sewage treatment plant. I’ve lived here 21 years and I think the last two months may have been the worst two months in the 21 years. And, and I don’t know why that it. I have a lot of confidence in Gary Phillips, he’s probably the best Wastewater Manager that we’ve worked with in that period of time.
But I was walking, doing my river walk today, thinking about it. And one thing that occurs to me is that over that period of time there’ve been many different people in the chairs that you all sit in. There have been a number of different people in the neighborhood. Some of us have been here that long. Many new people have come. I love seeing the kids, I mean there’s like a new influx of younger families in the neighborhood. City staff changes. RWSA changes. So the question is how do we make odor mitigation, how do we institutionalize it? That, that I think is your challenge.
And I would argue that one of the ways to do it is to create some kind of metric that shows that it’s getting better.

rwsa aerial courtesy google earth
I was doing some searching online for instance and they now have e-noses, electronic noses. You know. How much do they cost? Why can’t we actually quantify this on the site (and) at a distance from the site? Why can’t our Public Works Department report to Council to some of you, to your successors, so that we know every year it’s getting better. And if it’s not getting better whose ever in your position has the data to say, “why did it get worse?”
I mean it’s right, right now it’s this sort of thing of “it smells tonight”. Somebody comes (then) it doesn’t smell in that moment. Or that, but literally the last two months, or it may be the last two months are bad because of work that they’re doing that’s going to make it better. But we have not been told that except for a couple of occasions.
I don’t think City Council can solve this. I resent when there’s a suggestion that, that our activism will solve it. I mean people on Rugby Road don’t have to complain if a, if a sewer main breaks, to get it fixed. I mean it should be part of the way the City functions. And I think somehow it has to be institutionalized so that, that our City staff, the Director of Public Works, understands that that’s really part of her job to monitor, to push it forward, to report every year.

Mayor Huja: Thank you.

Ackerman: Thank you.

Mayor Huja: This issue came up last week at the City Council meeting and Ms Galvin who is our representative on the Sewer Authority will bring this up at the next meeting.

page from 12/16/14 RWSA
Analysis of RWSA odor plume confirmed years of neighborhood reports.

Councilor Kathy Galvin: And I’d just like to follow up on that it will be discussed at the next Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority meeting. The complications is as I know most of you know is that that is the governing body of our water and sewer. And so it’s not only the head of our Public Works that has to make a decision about the disbursement of funds, it is that governing body, which has representatives from Albemarle County. But having said that, Mr. Ackerman, I think that, that idea of the nose meter whatever…
(group: e-noses)
E-nose, the nose, E-nose. Something that can actually measure like we measure noise, is I think a really good suggestion. I would like to pursue that and find out what, what it would take, and it would be something that our own department could use. And then it’s something that this Council perhaps, maybe we do make a formal letter to the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority Board that is firmly stating that this is a serious concern.
I’ve been told on several occasions that it’s a matter of we have a Phase One that will do and deal with 95% of the odor mitigation. But we broke that up into sub-phases to slow it down so that it’s less money over time. But, and that’s what I’ve asked is what would be the implication as a cost to the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority to accelerate that. So that was the first question I’ve asked and I haven’t gotten the answer yet, but that’s what we’re going to discuss at our next meeting next month. Or this month. Thank you very much.

Mayor Huja: Yes, please.

microbe lunchtime!
RWSA Equalization basin, one of two to be taken out of service.

Katie Chester: I’d be happy to volunteer as the E-nose until a real one is bought. I will say that it has been the most gorgeous fall. And for the past two-and-a-half weeks I have been wanting to sleep outside at night. And every evening I go out and it stinks too much. And that’s a bummer because it’s been gorgeous in the evening except for the smell.
I think the E-nose sounds great because right now it feels like the onus is on all of us that if we don’t keep complaining it will be swept under the rug. And while it’s great that everyone is complaining, it’s an unfortunate emotional state to have to live in. Translation – it sucks.
It’s, no one likes to complain, but it really feels like unless we do it will get ignored.
I’m going to bounce to another subject which is that absurd bridge idea. And in terms of complaining it doesn’t seem like the politically correct complaints go very far. But it does seem that the most proponents for this bridge are looking to shorten their own work commute. So to me it seems like the smartest solution would be to get them a job somewhere else to change their commute. Perhaps somewhere north. And I think that would solve a lot of the impetus for the bridge.

Mayor Huja: Thank you. Anybody else?

Kyle Savage: I’m Kyle Savage. I live at 439 Fairway and that’s Chaffee Burke. He lives at Meade – what’s your address? And we’re here to talk about traffic calming in Woolen Mills in general. And basically bicycle-pedestrian safety. Bill’s going to have something to say about it, too. We have a little presentation here. Just give us a sec for it to boot up. I think it’s just one … There we go. So do you want to go first?

Councilor Szakos: Is this something you can also email us?

Savage: Yeah, I can share the Google.doc with you along with all the data that we collected.

Councilor Szakos: [email protected]

Chaffee Burke: Okay. So real quick I guess. This is just kind of a slide we put together to highlight some of the recent efforts and history of efforts that have been going on in the Woolen Mills. Bill really helped us put together, put this together. I’m a recent addition to the Woolen Mills and actually as we’ll see in a couple of slides, this traffic situation is really what spurred me to get involved, involved in actually joining the neighborhood council here. Oh, yeah, thanks. I think John’s passing out a copy of the Timmons Study. A few pages.

Councilor Smith: We also got it by email today.

The Timmons study proposed physical changes to Market Street to provide a measure of traffic calming. Subsequently, such changes have been implemented in Downtown Belmont...
The Timmons study proposed physical changes to Market Street to provide a measure of traffic calming. Subsequently, such changes have been implemented in Downtown Belmont…

Burke: Okay. Which is referenced here. Yeah, and hopefully other neighbors can talk about some of the specific issues but that was just kind of a brief history. Do you want to ?

Savage: So I’m currently running a petition for the traffic calming on Fairway Avenue. I was asked by Donovan and Jared to hit Fairway between Meade and Short 18th and then also Caroline Ave. and Arbor Circle. Of that I’ve had amazingly overwhelming positive response from everybody, agreeing that traffic on Fairway is way too fast. As you can see, I visited forty four addresses. Forty one said yes, three said no. Everybody on Fairway who I asked who was home, when they realized I wasn’t selling them something, cause I had a clipboard so people thought I was selling them something. Some of the people out here today, they vehemently signed the petition. They were excited about it because they realized that it’s dangerous.
We have neighbors who are scared to cross the street because they are afraid of being hit. Fairway has a couple of curves and hills and coming around those curves and down those hills, people go way too fast and don’t stay in their lane.
What spurred me on to this was a car accident in front of my house. A parked car got hit. I live close to the corner of Meade and Fairway. Car was parked perfect and it just got smashed into. And it was going to be a hit and run but the woman’s car was too out of whack to drive away. Luckily the police responded and it was very good.

cut though route
a cut through route

So on-going issues for our neighborhood, Fairway and Caroline, basically on Fairway it’s speed. And Fairway is sort of a city cut-through because Fairway connects through the city all the way to other side on (Route) 20 and you don’t hit any stop lights. You don’t hit any traffic because it’s a neighborhood street and you can go really fast because there’s no speed humps. So you get people flying down the street and it’s just not safe. They’re just passing through the neighborhood.
This also affects Franklin Ave. Because Franklin Ave is the one-way bridge that goes between Woolen Mills and East Belmont. On Caroline Ave. I had neighbors say that they were concerned about the speed coming down the hill. People really shouldn’t be coming down that hill that much but there’s a good cut-through at Jack ‘N Jill that I know the people on Caroline Ave. love. I mean cause that gets them home much quicker. But for people cutting through their neighborhood, they drive too fast. Cause there’s a hill going down Caroline. So they would also like to investigate traffic-calming measures on their road.
This comes to pedestrian-bicycle safety on Fairway Ave. I ride my bike on Fairway. Sometimes I don’t feel so safe doing it. Same with Caroline Ave. Coming up over that hill if you’re going to go over to the Rivanna Trail, you know. I’ve come pretty close to getting hit just walking. So it gets sort of dangerous. And it doesn’t seem like it should be because it’s residential streets.
On Fairway towards the end – not my end of Meade, but the other end which is Chesapeake, there is a 300-some-odd-foot section of the road where the sidewalk ends. And you’re forced to walk on the street and people go really fast right there. Riding my bike the other day, someone was probably going I don’t know forty five on that little section of the street that’s only about two car widths. The rest of Fairway is about four car-widths cause you can get two parked cars and then two travel lanes. So with that a lot of people go really fast cause it’s like a race track. Can you go to the next slide?
So over the last couple of days I’ve been collecting some data. I use a motion-capture software and a webcam set up at my front window. I was able to collect data on how many cars were coming into the neighborhood and leaving and a little bit about speed. I was able to do some post image processing and make some good guesses on speed. It’s not going to be as accurate as what you guys get from a real traffic-calming study. But from what I saw yesterday between 9:15 and 6:30 p.m. there were about 780 cars that moved through the neighborhood. Which seems like a lot to come through Fairway Ave. I mean there’s not 780 people that live in that part of Woolen Mills.
Over 180 of those were speeding over thirty miles an hour according to my calculations, which again, take with a grain of salt. Today I did the same, same thing between 7:00 and 3:15 and we had about 570 cars go through the neighborhood and 92 of those were speeding. So you can see the graph on the right shows sort of a Bell curve. And the average speed is about twenty eight miles an hour and everything to the right of that, that’s the big spike. Most people are going pretty you know, traveling at a, at a decent clip. They’re not speeding too bad. But then you get a bunch of people who go really fast. And that’s who we’re really worried about. You know I’m one of the young families that he mentioned earlier, and we have a new daughter who I’m just terrified of running out into that street and getting hit.

Councilor Smith: Are they going Fairway to Franklin? Is that what you’re saying?

Savage: They’re going Fairway to – it goes Fairway to Market to Franklin. I, I’m not going to lie. I go that way.

MAN: To 20.

Savage: Yeah, to 20. He’s right.

WOMAN: To 20. Right, right, right.

Savage: Yeah, to 20. So go to 20 and then get on 64.

Judy Johnson: And probably they go that way to avoid the traffic humps on East Market.

Chester: There’s one curve on Fairway at night that’s really, really dark. Coming when you take the left off of Meade. I always have to turn my brights on cause I mean it’s scary.

Savage: That’s the one right by my house. It’s scary on the road especially. You, you don’t want to step off the sidewalk right there because cars come really close to the curb. My neighbor there has said that the, they don’t park cars there because they have had cars hit because people come around that corner too fast and they can’t swerve fast enough.

Councilor Szakos: Are you saying there’s a need for street light there as well?

Savage: Yeah, I think a street light would be nice right there because it’s not lit. Or I’m not sure if there’s one there that’s just out or, or what.

Councilor Smith: It is a sharp curve.

upside down
423 Meade Avenue

Chaffee Burke: So I think I’m going to talk a little bit about the issues on Meade. So as I mentioned kind of what got me involved was in August of 2012 a car left the road and struck my house. But here’s just a couple of pictures. You can see right there the rear end of the car hit about a foot away from my gas meter, which of course would have made it a much more interesting evening. The picture on the right. It’s a little bit hard to see but you can kind of see the tire tracks on the side walk. As you can see how the car left the road three houses up, hit a railing and then ended up hitting the corner of my house down there.
And you know it’s a 25 mile an hour road. And this guy was flying. Luckily there was actually some people out on the front porch next door and they didn’t get hit. Anyway I think that’s kind of emblematic of some of the issues that we have with speeding on Meade Avenue.

Chester: Which side of Meade was that picture on?

Burke: So it’s going toward East Market.

Chester: So that’s not on the pool side?

Burke: It is on the pool side. It’s about two blocks down from the pool.
So kind of out of that I’ve also been involved in getting a traffic calming petition. Because of the designation of Meade (as a minor arterial) we can’t have speed humps. So a “Enhanced fine” and “Your Speed Is” sign are really the only options with the calming petition. We have been trying to work with the City Police as well. I had a meeting with Sergeant Durette to talk about that and I’m setting up a meeting with Captain Lewis to talk about a special project plan. Anyway you know I’m definitely interested in talking about what else can be done.
I think one of the kind of key issues is that that road is designated as the truck route for the area. And so we get a lot of really heavy trucks and they go flying through there. And it creates a pretty dangerous situation. So kind of on-going issues – you know walkability. Personally I’m really excited to hear about the multi-modal path that’s coming down and would be definitely interested in more kinds of infra-structure like that. For me actually I just came back from spending three months in Den Haag in the Netherlands. And you know a lot of people ask me, you know, “Oh, what’s so different?” You know, “Do you notice a difference?”
I came back and I didn’t really notice a lot different. I mean it’s, it’s fairly similar. And then I was walking to pick up groceries at the C’ville Market. And I noticed as I was walking up the street, you can smell the cars. It’s just smells bad as you’re walking along the street. And I think some of that is that you know I mean over there it’s you know car – tree line – bike path – and then where the people walk. And you know I don’t know anything like that I think would be really great to encourage people to bike and walk and also to just increase the safety around an area that has parks and a lot of residential people living there.
Some of the other issues,: pedestrian safety park use. Obviously we’ve got the park. We’ve got the Farmer’s Market that goes on at the park. Children going to Burnley-Moran having trouble crossing the street. A couple of neighbors have mentioned that being an issue. I mentioned the truck route. And then obviously with the at-grade rail crossing and the truck route, things can just really back up and it definitely creates a dangerous situation and perhaps isn’t the best route to be sending lots of trucks down.
So I talked a little bit about meeting with Sargent Durette, follow-up meetings with Captain Lewis, try to get a problem-solving plan so that the officers in the area can be aware of the traffic issues. We also have just gotten in touch with Donovan Branch and I believe we’ll be setting up a meeting with her in the next week or so. We’ve got a couple of people out of town so that may have to wait. And, want to keep going? So kind of wrap it up, I think we’ve covered most of these next steps and really we’re also just interested in hearing how else we can work with you and what other steps we can take. Thank you.

sidewalk clearance is an issue on Meade
The sidewalk on the east side of Meade Avenue is a five foot sidewalk but there are 19 obstructions to users of that sidewalk between Meade Park and Meade Avenue’s intersection with High Street. The sidewalk’s minimum width is 29”. The average obstructed width is 39”.

Mayor Huja: Thank you.

Savage: I have another comment on it. The, with the petition, the barrier to entry is sort of high. I mean 50% of the people signing the petition is great, but then you need you guys, I’m speaking as the City, you guys, send something back. And then 50% of the people need to return that, of which 66% of the people need to say yes. So, I don’t know, it almost seems like the cards are stacked against the neighborhood for getting traffic-calming measures put in place. So that might be something you’d want to consider updating.

Councilor Kathy Galvin: May I, may I say something? The other city staff that I think would be very valuable to engage with this problem is our bike-ped coordinator, as well as people that are being tasked with implementing our storm-water management system, because green streets are very much a part of that approach. So I think that we all need to pull together various people in our different departments that focus on the street and the quality of that street.

Savage: Yeah, Bill, Bill and I were talking about that and he had some good points: narrowing the roadway, maybe adding a – I don’t know you called it a tree curb? Tree lawn. Basically making less surface, less impervious surface would slow cars down naturally and also help you guys meet your storm water needs.

Councilor Galvin: And priority – it needs to all be mapped in some way so that we understand. And this data is extremely valuable because you’re bringing up safety issues.

Savage: I can share that data with the Council, too. I have a couple of spreadsheets.

Mayor Huja: Okay, any more questions?

John Frazee: Well, I just wanted to build on, on what Chaffee and he was saying about the different roads. They talked about Fairway and they talked about Meade and I live on East Market Street, I am a regular bicyclist. I really appreciate the, the traffic-calming road humps that are there. I think that’s done a lot to slow down the traffic.
As a bicyclist, anything you know that we can see, same as we have now downtown where there’s marked areas where the bicycle can stop and trigger the light at the intersection of Meade and Market. I think something’s been done there. I’ve noticed the light changes somewhat when I get close to it but I’m not sure if it’s me or, or, or just you know the whim of the traffic light turning on. But marked areas for people to wait. As, as we know there’s a lot of young people here. I see a lot of younger people out walking and with the City Walk, that development. You know as that nears completion I’m, I’m excited about the prospect of more people taking advantage of the proximity to the river, but I’m sure they’re going to walk down Market Street. I don’t think they’re going to walk over to Honesty Park and then go up from there.
And so there’s really no sidewalks and the more people I see out with strollers and you know just folks out walking, I know that my daughter is eleven and my son’s eight and riding bikes with them you know is somewhat of a concern when we do get to Market Street, even though again the traffic’s not super heavy but there doesn’t seem to be as much awareness. So I’m hopeful that you know with the Timmons Study and with the data that you know you’re getting provided that maybe we can look to address, especially on Market Street, which is, I think is really going to become a major conduit for folks
coming from the downtown area. There’s really no sidewalks so anything we could with that would be great,

Councilor Szakos: Can I ask somebody in the back to turn the lights on again? It’s very soothing but hard to see. Thanks.

speed humps on Market

Nate Holland: Good evening, my name is Nate Holland. I live at 1339 East Market Street and I live actually kind of kitty-corner to John. I live across the street. My house is pretty much right across from Burgess (Lane). So we were glad that you know those speed bumps were put in but what our main concern has been now is that even though the speed bumps are there we still have a lot of cut-through traffic. And that seems to be when there’s a train in town. You can hear one now. So I notice especially, even thought the speed-bumps are there, you have the stop sign at Fairway and then you have the speed-bump, so if you’re going west towards downtown, to hit that stop sign and that next speed-bump isn’t until way down the street, and as they see that red light, or they see it green, and they hit the gas and that little section there has been – it doesn’t seem like it has controlled the speed, because a lot of people – and I’ve, I’ve even, I was tempted to call the city at some point. I’ve seen city buses fly up, up the hill. And I don’t know if it’s because there’s a hill or there’s going the other way, but that speed-bump it just seems like, I’ve been tempted buy a sign and tack it on the, on one of the poles out there that says you know Speeding. You know one of the like, you know I, I know that’s, I can’t do that but I’ve been tempted to do that because it still seems. And then with the train, well, there’s a ton of cut-through traffic. And there’s times where I’m waiting in my driveway to back out and it seems like it’s a never-ending line of cars going through. And I’ve you know waited to turn at Market when there’s traffic backed up down on Meade, down the hill. And there’s three or four cars, and they keep driving right by my house as I turn into my driveway cause you know they’re going to, down to Franklin, going under the bridge.
So we would like you know at some point. I know there’s been talk about making Franklin a one way. And you know we would like for you all to look at that again. There’s no sidewalks on Franklin. And again John mentioned about the sidewalks in the neighborhood, you know I have a four-year-old son and there’s you know a little bit down Market toward Meade. There’s some sidewalks. But throughout the rest down Market there’s just little patches of sidewalks. And I’d be willing to give up you know a little bit of my grass area to have a side walk and if that would help, because of the amount of traffic that we do see and you him running out and the dog. And you know it’s just hard to push a stroller and a kid and have the dog and have all of that you know with all that traffic that’s coming through. So.

Councilor Szakos: You know I’m, I’m wondering just to pick one of the things that you were talking about, because I think they’re all really important.

Holland: Yeah.

Councilor Szakos: But for a long time there’s been some sentiment in this neighborhood not to put sidewalks along Market.

Holland: Why?

Councilor Szakos: So I’m wondering if the presence of more young families with small kids is sort of changing people’s perspective. Cause when adults are walking it’s kind of nice to have it be sort of more of a country feel. But when you’ve got two kids, one walking, and one with a stroller. And you’re trying to hold the baby and the dog is on the leash and that’s a little harder to do.

Holland: And not only do we have people walking and walking dogs, we have – I see a ton of joggers
jogging up and down Market Street. So you know it just seems to me a you know, a safety issue. So.

WOMAN: Thank you.

Holland: Thank you.

Mayor Huja: Yes

courtesy strongtowns.org

Kathy Stone: Hi, my name is Kathy Stone and I just moved to Meade Avenue about a month ago. And I just wanted to follow up and give them some support on their traffic-calming measures. I have an embarrassing confession to make. The first week I was there I got pulled over on East High for speeding at thirty-two miles an hour. And I thought I’m going like slower than most of the traffic. And I would say that, and I actually traced my route and I didn’t see any 25 mile an hour signs the whole way I’d gone.
So I didn’t know if there’s any way to increase the visibility that it is 25 miles an hour. Cause when I’m on Meade driving – and after that I was very careful to go 25 miles an hour. I noticed, it feels like I’m holding up traffic. And we live right on Meade and I start, at 6:00 a.m. I hear giant industrial trucks blazing through at like 45 miles an hour. I hate to pick on one company, but I’ve seen Charlottesville Wrecker just blazing through. And I think I notice them cause they have red trucks. And it’s not just them. It’s every industrial truck. So I didn’t know there’s some way that the police can work with business owners and let them know. I have a four year old. I don’t want him getting creamed out on Meade. And then the visibility just cause it is, I don’t think it’s obvious that it is 25 miles an hour when you’re driving down.

Meade Avenue
Meade Avenue

Mayor Huja: The police people are here. They will look at the signage.

Stone: What?

Mayor Huja: The Police people are here. They can look at the signage if you need more signage.

Stone: Right.

Councilor Szakos: And, Chief Longo, can you address the, the, the ability for the police to work with some of the companies that are sort of more likely to be coming through in trucks and, and maybe…

Chief Longo: I’ve already * truck enforcement on Meade Avenue. That is a police problem.* we don’t have the resources to look into weight enforcement and certainly truck that goes through town *. Work with the companies either by sending them letters or contacting them directly.

Councilor Szakos: Okay, great, thank you.

Burke: I know it’s not an option but the best like three nights of my life were when they were bringing our house and they were bringing in the utilities and they didn’t quite get the patch on the road the right way, and so the trucks would go flying through there at about 45 and just loose their suspension. I never slept so well in my life.

Stone: Yeah, but it would be nice if the police could just let them know there’s more families living on the road and its a safety issue

Councilor Galvin: I’d just like to make a confession, too. About ten years ago I got caught speeding going down High Street as well with my twelve-year-old and my eight-year-old in the car.
And I babbled some things that would make a trooper blush, but it was, it was really telling that the design of that street facilitates speeding. And that’s just a cautionary note. That it’s, you can put up signs, but that is a very wide street. You’re not going to get the visual cues that you do when you get a narrower street, on-street parking with street trees with sidewalks that will slow traffic down.
It feels like a very, it is an arterial feel to it. So it’s more, it’s very complicated. Cause all these things to really solve the problem do deal with the design of the street and that’s more capital investment. And I think maybe we can ask staff to really help prioritize based on the Town Halls we get. Cause we’re, we’re hearing at every Town Hall at least one, two, three streets that are like this. And just get it on a map so that we know what the priorities are and the hot spots.

Councilor Szakos: And work on the immediate things while we’re working on the 50 year plan.

Councilor Galvin: Right.

Amy Wissekerke: Sorry, I’m anxious to get out of here because I just realized it got dark and I need to walk home on Market Street that has no sidewalks with my two little kids.

Councilor Szakos: Yeah, if you wait a little while you might get a whole crowd going with you.

hairs breadth
there are several locations on Chesapeake with a documented history of speeding

Wissekerke: So I’m Amy Wissekerke and I just wanted to add, I talked with Bill Emory about this and I wanted to add to what Kyle said, that I feel like there needs to be some kind of City context for how the sidewalks are put in place. We felt really lucky to get a sidewalk on Chesapeake Street. But now, even now with my little kids walking along, there’s still a hair’s breadth from cars speeding by with texting drivers. And I’d love to see us put in sidewalks throughout the neighborhood that are more sensitive to safety. Because we can pretend that it’s still a really rural neighborhood, but in terms of the traffic it’s not. There’s just a lot there. And I’m really thankful to continue to read about City Council’s continued objections to any kind of Free Bridge by-pass through our neighborhood. So thank you.

photo by Beth Meyer
Since 1987 the City has planted 3 street trees on the 6 miles of street edge in the Woolen Mills Neighborhood. This photo taken by Beth Meyer at Cornell. The CHO 1975 Street Tree master plan called for street trees along Market in the Woolen Mills Neighborhood.

Judy Ziegler: Hi, I’m Judy Ziegler. I’m representing the C’ville Village. I’m here because Kay Slaughter and Gordon Walker can’t be here. But I wanted to briefly tell you about what we’re doing in Woolen Mills hopefully. And we’re planning a pilot program. Let me tell you a little bit about the C’ville Village. We are a neighbors helping neighbors, aging in place organization that’s happening throughout the country. And it’s a new non-profit here.
We’re hoping that coming in the next few months we’ll be starting a pilot program because in our research we have, just to give you a little background. We’re finding that there’s demographics in Woolen Mills that facilitate really a perfect coming together of the village and having neighbors helping neighbors in Woolen Mills. From a 2010 census the Woolen Mills has 247 seniors over 65 and 294 persons over 55. And now we have Timberlake’s adding 27 more seniors.
If you know anything about the Village movement, you know that it’s a volunteer membership organization. And we’re looking forward to helping people age in their home with a one-stop shop kind of concept, where they can call a coordinator and they will be able to be helped. A lot of times seniors – and Woolen Mills and C’ville Village have talked about it – there’ve been needs and people don’t like to ask for help. And we’re hoping with a coordinated effort people will feel more comfortable. Just to give you a little more background C’ville Village is now, we’re going for our 501(c)3, but we’re now under the sponsorship of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission Corporation. We meet once a month on the fourth Friday of the month at Jefferson School in the Mary Williams Center. And I have some brochures if anyone would like some, we’d be happy to talk further about it. I don’t know if anybody wants.

Mayor Huja: Thank you. Would anyone else like to speak?

get it done

Emory: All kinds of people. I just wanted, Chief Longo, I had one river thing I wanted to bring up while he was still here. But just to speak about the river for a second before I sit down so. Never miss a chance. Earlier today the Woolen Mills Board, we sort of think of you guys and I think the two potential replacements for the fabulous former mayor David Norris, might be in the audience.
But we’re really hoping that this Council and the Council that’s seated in January will finally be the Council who – you know Charlottesville sort of sat back in the 1990s as cities all over the United States were doing river corridor plans. And those cities like Providence or Richmond, Virgina, Lynchburg, have really realized the benefits of that place-making effort.
At your Comprehensive Plan implementation meeting back in August, Kurt Keesecker was saying, “Hey, why don’t we combine some of these plans?” And Ms. Szakos said, “Gee, it really makes sense to do you know the river piece of all the plans in sort of a coordinated fashion.” And Dan Rosensweig said, “Hey, maybe there’s money to be saved by – you know, economies of scale, by looking at several of these things at once.”
So the police, which brings the Chief to mind. We had a crime spree earlier this year and the Chief, one of their recommendations to us was to inventory our valuables so we would know what we’d lost and have a better chance to recover it. And so in our letter to you guys today, we suggested as a critical first step in developing a meaningful plan, we requested that the City issue a request for proposals to map and inventory the natural, cultural, and built resources located along the 3.7 mile Rivanna River front, 42% of which is in the Woolen Mills neighborhood. So anyway,
Chief, if you could…Yeah, there was some discomfort – I heard somebody over at U.Va. recently say they were afraid to come to walk on the River traik because of an incident that occurred and the Chief is going to shed a little light on that.

Chief Longo: Thanks, Bill.

Emory: And I actually think Laura (Ingles) covered it.

Chief Longo
Chief of Police Tim Longo

Chief Longo: Good evening, everyone. Bill and I were talking before the meeting and he was sharing the story of a conversation he had with someone from U.Va. who said that they were concerned about bringing their children and themselves in fact to walk along the river because of the terrible incident that they had read about of a young woman who was attacked.
We obviously, as we would any investigation like that, put some time and effort, were able to recover some video, and really dispel the circumstances that were reported to us. And while it was reported widely throughout our city, that incident did not occur. And unfortunately when things like that happen the same vigor that goes into reporting that it happened, doesn’t get back to you that it really didn’t.
And so for those of you who are out there with the belief that that occurred on the trail, it simply didn’t occur. What we’ve done since then is we have increased our visibility as I promised Bill and others I would. If you spent some time on the trail over the summer you saw a Community Service Officer down there every day. I’ve been down there probably 15 times since the beginning of the summer myself and will continue to go down there. But it’s important when you’re down there and you see things like encampments that might be set up. Now sometimes those encampments are on private property and we have through property owners and so forth, but do not hesitate to bring that to our attention so that we can deal with it.
One other thing and then I’ll sit down. I apologize, Mr. Mayor. You’ve also had a number of larcenies from automobiles in your neighborhood recently. My home was victimized just a few weeks ago. Both my cars were broken into with a police car right up the street. But for the very same reasons perhaps some of yours were, because my children didn’t lock the doors. So the, the larcenies from autos that are taking place in the recent past are folks that going through unlocked doors and then in fact they’ll leave the doors partially open. So if you come out of your house in the morning and get the newspaper and you start to look around and see your neighbor’s car doors partially open, please call us because that’s what we’re doing. The best advice is keep the doors locked and keep the valuables out of sight and you shouldn’t have any problems. But if you do, certainly call and we’ll be there to help. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Thank you, Bill.

May 2014 the City took an informal poll on their website asking the public to rank trails. Currently, the floodplain next to the river is “zoned for business”. Backfilling the land to a foot above base flood elevation and building a strip mall would be permissible. There has been no progress establishing a riverine zoning overlay. Competition for budget dollars is fierce, more electric vehicles to buy.
May 2014 the City took an informal poll on their website asking the public to rank trails.
Currently, the floodplain next to the river is “zoned for business”.
Backfilling the land to a foot above base flood elevation and building a strip mall would be permissible.
There has been no progress establishing a riverine zoning overlay.
Competition for budget dollars is fierce, more electric vehicles to buy.

Councilor David Norris: Can I respond to Mr. Emory’s question? First of all I want to commend Bill Emory for his doggedness for going back a number of years and pushing the city to think about the Rivanna River as an asset to be preserved, to be uplifted. And we’ve been sort of trying to figure out what, what’s the sort of tangible first step we can take. I know there was a lot of discussion between the City and County Planning Commissions about that. But I really like this idea that came forward today from the Woolen Mills Neighborhood Board to have the City fund an inventory of the assets up and down the river as a, just as a first step to hopefully a much longer and more involved process of planning for the river’s future and really uplifting it. I don’t know how other councilors felt about that idea, but I, I’d love to have staff tee that up for our consideration.

Councilor Smith: I, I love the idea, too, but I’d like to include Moore’s Creek and Meadow Creek along with it because the historic assets alone along those waterways are spectacular and need to be recognized. There was a public, a few years ago, there was a public inventory, there was an inventory of our public trees that may or may not have included along our creeks. But we have some really good data on that.

Councilor Szakos: I was, I live, if you follow the river and cross the bypass I live on the other side in the Locust Grove neighborhood. And have long coveted that, the Circus Grounds, kind of the other side of Jack ‘N Jill back there as a place that could really turn toward the river and be a, a park area that could link them all the way up to here. So I think that you know a lot of us have been thinking about that. A lot of those areas are in private property and so you know there’s only so much we can do. But if we plan for it, then we can take advantage when opportunities arise. And I think it’s really important to know what’s there.

Councilor Galvin: And I would to add as well, because as you assess this asset and reveal it to people, you will also then be attracting people to this area, which gets back to the importance of making sure that East Market Street is well designed for the pedestrian and cyclist. So I, I don’t, I don’t say not to do this. I would love to do this, but I think you can also do walkability inventory of that, that corridor as it connects to City Walk, as it connects to the downtown. We have to think about that connection between downtown and the river because that is what we, we’re going to be experiencing, is that, that interest in the entire city to come to the river.

Mayor Huja: My understanding was we are going to do a study of the river corridor in the near future.

Judy Johnson: Hey, there, I’m Judy Marie Johnson. I live at 1702 for the past 25 years. I’ve heard a lot of discussion about traffic bumps. Personally I was one of the people who was not in favor of that when the poll was taken on East Market. It was not passed so overwhelmingly either. And from a lot of the commentary, what I’m hearing is that, oh, yeah, people slow down for the traffic bumps and then they take off. And I know that’s true because I do gardens at the Woolen Mills. I do the island. I do Wrights, and I also do the church here. So I’m on the ground. Just today a school bus – oh, it didn’t have any children in it – but it surely was going at least 45 miles an hour.
I’m wondering about the simple solution in terms of safety. Two things: one, one-way Franklin Street. That takes care of half the cars for a part of the day. It’s a very simple solution and one that some of us advocated for long, long ago, many years ago. The second would be to put two stop signs at the intersection of Franklin and Market. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have nearly collided or been hit by a car whether I’m in my car or on foot. If cars have to stop, the visibility, if you go to that intersection and see where the stop line is, cars do not stop at that stop line. They can’t possibly see what’s coming down East Market Street, certainly not to the right, which is actually the direction I come from. Anyway, that’s my idea, two-cents worth. More than that actually.

A right sized fire engine can maneuver anywhere in the City
A right sized fire engine can maneuver anywhere in the City

Councilor Smith: Is Chief Werner still here? Our fire chief. He’s out in the back,. Could, could you repeat what you said at a former Town Hall meeting. I believe it was the Martha Jefferson neighborhood about putting up more stop signs? Which would work to slow down traffic but has a negative.

Chief Werner : About the stop signs when you’re looking at traffic calming. All, all I said in the previous meeting, please take a look at it comprehensively to understand what it does *.

Councilor Smith: Um hum.

contest between large and small fire engines

Chief Werner: Plus fire trucks and ambulances and police cars have to respond emergently to cardiac arrest or house a fire are impeded by some of those things. And what we see is with the increase of traffic and with the increase of traffic calming and those kinds of things, we end up taking much longer to get places than we used to. And let me just say a couple of other things. Understand what traffic calming does and the true effect because what we have seen is that some instances statistics show that even when you put in four way stops a lot of people won’t stop. The other thing that we have to worry about is if you have a four-way stop in your neighborhood, you have everybody stopping at that corner which means that the pollution in that area increases. So understand everything you are doing before you recommend it. The other thing is I heard somebody earlier talking about smaller, narrowing streets. If you look at these streets now, if they get any narrower a fire truck won’t get down the streets. It’s the same thing with snow plowing from Public Works standpoint. Understand all the implications we have before you say that’s what you going to do. That might still be what you say you want to do but just understand.

Johnson: I, I certainly agree with you. I know when I had a fire in my house I thought the fire truck would never get there. It could have been because of the traffic bumps.
The only reason I mention that intersection is because that is where that cut-through traffic comes in. There is an enormous – Bill, you did a – where’s Bill? Bill did this study originally about how many cars went through that intersection. There are a lot, a lot of cars that go through that intersection. At the bottom of my driveway it’s a three-way stop and yet in the intersection where there are so many cars going through, all the sewage trucks, too, use that avenue, that route, it just seems to me like that’s a logical place where stop signs could be very beneficial.

Mayor Huja: Thank you,

Johnson: You’re welcome.

Multiple Dwelling, Stories 1.50, Style: Gothic Revival, ca 1847 One-and-a-half stories in height with a full English basement, this brick Gothic Revival-style duplex features a rectangular-shaped footprint. This dwelling is constructed in a eight-course American bond. A one-story porch supported by turned posts covers the full-width of the façade and extends past the side elevations by almost a full bay on each side. The porch has intermittent balustrades, scalloped knee braces, and turned posts. The first story is four bays wide, with each side of the house containing a wood door topped by a jack arch in the outside bay flanked by a single 6/6 window with square-edged wood sills in the inside bays. The house is capped with a side-gable, slate shingle roof with two steep cross gables on the façade. A shed-roofed, one-story, brick wing stretches across the fullwidth of the rear elevation on a random rubble foundation. A one-story, frame, flat-roofed addition has been added to the northwest corner of the house.

Chester: I’ll be quick cause I’m double-dipping but I was thinking about all the car break-ins and I live in a little spur of East Market that’s past the turn to Riverside where it’s two way but it’s one way width. And we have not had any car break-ins and we’ve sort of thought it’s because there’s no easy get-away. You can’t, I mean it’s hard to speed there because it’s so narrow. And there’s no easy way to turn around. And what I was wondering when Kathy was talking about that there are also visual cues that tell people to slow down. Is all of this tied in? That as we’re talking about well-designed streets, are there also visual cues that make it a less desirable spot to hit for car larceny? Like if it looks more residential. If the, I mean I understand it’s wide, which says, hey, hit the gas, but is it all part and parcel of the same– is it you know different limbs of the same beast? I don’t know but, it, cause I think the reason we haven’t been robbed down there is mostly because it’s not designed – anyway, I don’t know if there’re, you consider attack the same thing from different angles.

Mayor Huja: Um hum. Thank you.

Councilor Galvin: Well, there’s community policing by design called CPTED (Crime Prevention through environmental design) and it is very much all about that. And having front porches, having windows looking out on the street, doors facing the street, people walking, well lit

Chester:… all the houses there are set back from the street. I mean which is lovely but at the same time it means that the people who were robbing the cars *. So I don’t know if trees or different types of sidewalks, when those are being thought about for the design if…

Councilor Galvin: Well, yeah, and I just want to say, and this might be something for our police chief and our fire chief to kind of sit down and talk about because what I’ve, I’ve learned too is that what facilitates lower crimes rates is inter-connected streets that are narrow, slow, highly pedestrian oriented. In fact if you look at that data of traffic fatalities, the wider the street, the more likely you’re going to have a fatality when a person is hit because the car’s going faster. The, the objectives of the fire department is, is opposite. They want the wider street to get to the fire. And you do have to look at the comparative statistics. How many fatalities do you get because of fire? How many fatalities do you get because of traffic? It’s, it’s a balancing act. It’s something to absolutely you need to look at comprehensively and find that sweet spot.

Mayor Huja: Yes,

Robin Hanes: Hi, I’m Robin Hanes. 1709 East Market Street. And first I want to echo the issue of Franklin Street you know which, I’ve been coming to Charlottesville a lot longer than the five years I’ve lived here, and the traffic from Franklin Street to Market is scary, and it has increased. And now I walk into town and I’m really nervous in that particular area. And if we could just have it one way it would just solve a lot of problems for our residential neighborhood.

Birders, Sunday A.M.
Birders, Sunday A.M.

But really I stood up to speak about the park. I’ve done a lot of personal sweat equity, as well as financial work down at the park, and it is an amazing place. You guys, you know I go there twice a day with my dog and there are always ten cars parked there and ten to twenty in the good weather and on weekends thirty cars parked there. And I just would like to ask you guys to spend a little bit of money down there. I mean the center of the loop is a jungle and I’m afraid your budget on invasive removal has just been ceased. And you know in, in sometimes in the summer the poison ivy will actually reach out and get you as you walk by. And I mean right now they have mowed it way back and it’s really kind of ugly. And I’m sorry that they had to do it the way they did it, but I’d just like to put it in your mind that this could be a beautiful place.

Councilor Szakos: Sounds like that might be a good job for goats. They love poison ivy.

Councilor Norris: I like that before you start. Many years ago there was a lot of discussion about a sidewalk on Franklin. We got it half way. And it seems to have stalled there. It’s in, it’s in sort of permanent – can you give us an update on where we are on finishing that project?

Franklin Street sidewalk
Franklin Street sidewalk

Director of Neighborhood Development Services Jim Tolbert: It’s in the priority list. It’s in process. We’ve had a lot of discussions lately about coming back to Council with a one way proposal and doing some things there and we’re doing traffic counts now trying to see which way most of the cars are going, if there’s an imbalance or if they’re going equal amounts both ways. It’s very narrow so there’s not a lot of room but we think there’s a way to get a good sidewalk and get a good two-directional bike path and allow for one lane of traffic until you get to the bridge and then we’ve got to figure that out. But we’re, our hope is within the next 30 days to have some ideas about that. And get the, have the data to be able to come back to Council. We’ve been talking to the neighborhood quite a bit.

Councilor Norris: Can the sidewalk be done regardless of …

Tolbert: The sidewalk could be done but we don’t want to do it until we make these other decisions. We, it’s in process. But we, we don’t want to commit ourselves until we figure something out.

still waiting

Councilor Norris: I’m glad to hear it’s back on the front burner.

Tolbert: Yes.

Councilor Smith: Can I ask Vic if he knows whether Riverview Park is in the queue or where it is in the queue for park renovations. And I apologize for putting you on the spot there.

Vic Arbor…: That’s okay. In regard to

Councilor Szakos: Do you mind coming all the, can you climb up over and then.

Arbor: I’m Vic Arbor, Parks and Recreation. In regard to the lady that was just talking about the bush-hogging and the mowing of the invasive species, that was just done today. And I did speak to Chris Gensic about that today. And basically that was a safety problem where we had complaints, so, of runners along the park that really was a sight-distance type of thing where you had plants that growing a little bit too high. So we were basically just removing those invasives that were in the way. So we can probably plant grass seed and make sure you know that it’s a little more esthetically pleasing along the trail. That’s our goal. And your question again on the park?

Councilor Smith: Where it is the queue, you know we, we have a list of our parks in the area you know that are going to be master planned and the order and where it is in the queue?

Arbor : I can certainly find that out. I know that we’re working right now you know with three other parks and I’ll certainly find that out for you.

Councilor Smith: And you know I mean with the elimination of the pump station in the future? But in the short-term some work with easements, temporary easements, which we’re going to discuss on Monday through the park. It may get a little worse before it gets better, but we do have a great opportunity with getting that pump station out of there to really look at that park in a new way.

Arbor: I know we’re working on trying to upgrade the play ground area, make sure the mulch at a certain safety level. And certainly the overall aesthetics of the park, but we’ll check into the overall master plan.

Councilor Szakos: And are you all working the folks who are planning that, that kind of pipeline the, the Public Works and folks who are going to be digging in there?

Arbor: I’ll have to get back with Chris on that one.

Councilor Szakos: They’re moving that, that pump station.

Councilor Smith: That’s probably more of a Rivanna question at this point.

Hays: Actually that kind of took my point away. You know I’m, I’m Chris Hayes. I live at 1900 Chesapeake Street. First of all I wanted to commend City Council for standing up the County forces and making sure that the pump station didn’t get expanded in place and that’s a huge thing for obviously for the neighborhood and the city and really, really appreciate it. Left to understand where we are in the process with the negotiations with the County on how that gets paid.

Councilor Norris: So are we…

Hays: But I was just about to make the point that you made, that there is an opportunity there, a significant opportunity as part of this upgrade, potential upgrade to the park. That there is a big parcel there that could be developed in the future, so…

Councilor Szakos: We’re currently in cost negotiations with the County and Rivanna. Well, really with the, yeah.

Hays: Rivanna with both?

Councilor Galvin: Right. With Albemarle County Service Authority and the City.

Hays: Right, right.

Councilor Szakos: With a mediator.

Hays: Right, right. Okay. All right, great.

Huja: *

Cartwright: I just wanted to say a word about development. And I might be not in the majority. But as we look at the pump station or the circus grounds, I like that some areas are wild. And it scares me when I hear, “oh, we can develop that”. Because I think it’s a shame on Main Street that we’re going loose some really cool buildings because we’re developing them. Even along, so on Market I know we’ve got this groovy pre-school going in but there were – and you know I don’t know the structural soundness of the houses that were there, but there were some great trees that if that building had been shifted a little bit, probably could have been saved. And even with that enormous apartment complex thing, it’s a shame that we couldn’t work around the trees. And I know I grew up in a town next to a city that had tree ordinances. And I know there’s something about Virginia that makes that extra complicated, cause I’ve asked Robin. But it does seem some places are able to have a certain number of trees required for a certain amount of space.
And if there’s existing older trees that’s respected and you have to shift the building. So I’m kind of a voice for a little more of keeping of the wild and the old buildings here.

Councilor Smith: We are considering a tree ordinance on Monday. It won’t necessarily do everything you want it to do but it’s a good step.

Frankovich: Hello, everybody. I’m very happy that we have this format of discussion. Thank you, City Council, for coming out. Thank you everyone from the Neighborhood Association for putting this together. My name is Matteus Frankovich. I’ve been in Woolen Mills for about six years now and I’ve been running the Moto Saloon in the Linen Building with my partner Anna for about two years now.

Councilor Szakos: You can stay a little way from it.

Frankovich: Is that legible enough? Audible enough? So the question. I wanted to touch base on two points. Just let the neighborhood know what we are doing over there as a restaurant and touch on some of the zoning considerations around that area. I’m surprised we only heard one mention of City Walk tonight. I have concerns about the future of the zoning district at the southeast corner of Meade and Market that contains both my business and home. This is an area currently zoned M1, Mixed Use, and I believe it’s under proposal as a business technology corridor area. Is that correct? Is that what’s on the books?

Speaker?: I believe that’s one of the plans * 1:06:16

industrial next to residential with no buffer
The properties here, in the land use plan, grey is manufacturing, the yellow is single family residential. So as you can see very clearly from this map there is a fine line between, a very hard line between industrial and residential. Not something that is typical in a land use plan or in a zoning ordinance.–Jim Tolbert July 13, 2006 (the area Mr. Tolbert speaks about is seen above in the City’s GIS viewer. It characteristic grey color is beneath the irregular blue polygon drawn from Hartman’s Memorials south-east to the Franklin Street railroad bridge)

Frankovich: Okay. Bear with me as I work through my preamble here. One thing we are doing down the street is we are preparing to open for lunches again next week and we are going to enact a re-branding of sorts. We’re going to become the Woolie Mammoth to make it a little softer and more digestible for the neighborhood. We realize we are at the entrance to Woolen Mills so we wanted to make sure that we are accessible for everyone and you know everyone feels comfortable with what we’ve been doing down there. And what we have been doing down there is the past two years now – we’re almost two-years old – we’ve had a variety of monthly meet-up groups. We’ve had a lot of arts and cultural groups in there. We’ve had programs with the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Piedmont Council for the Arts has been in there. We have several entertaining programs going on with University of Virginia’s grad student groups, such as a Science Night that’s a lot of fun. We have a monthly storytelling group called the Big Big Blue Door Jam that’s been meeting up in there. And this past weekend we had a very fun and successful outdoor event featuring some local food trucks, local vendors and, believe it or not, live music as approved by the City. It was a really nice group of people that came and went during the course of the day. So a big thing, theme of my life is having to work around the prohibition of having regular events there that feature music due to the zoning restrictions that are placed on the building. So apart from how it affects me, I’m looking at the future of the area. We have a large space we’re talking about. The Linen Building, the corner’s area, and you know as I review the Comprehensive Plan, trying to determine you know what the goals of land use in the area are, I just feel like there’s a lot of black and white language in there. But I find a few things like maintaining a zoning ordinance that incorporates newer forms of mixed-use type of development desired by the community. When I applied for my special use permit last year, I presented a petition of nearly 600 residents who stated what they preferred as a zoning use in that area. The Planning Commission felt that was some reasonable restrictions that respected the neighborhood. It was a zoning change that should be made. The Comprehensive Plan also states an objective to create a zoning classification that allows Mom and Pop-style small neighborhood businesses to flourish. So bearing these facts in mind, I would just like to open up a bit of a dialogue with, with the neighborhood and the City Council as what they specifically see as an appropriate use for that whole M1 area at the corner of Meade and Market, bearing in mind that at our front door we have a 350-unit residence, City Walk that’s well underway, coming down Meade Avenue there we’ve got a pedestrian walkway and a bike path passing through the intersection that’s being evaluated. I know a couple of weeks ago they were installing cameras that could determine the amount of bike traffic that’s coming through. And there’s also a statement that I wanted to consider in the Comprehensive Plan that says, “There should be diversity in a neighborhood both in its physical characteristics and in its residents. There should be mixed uses and the neighborhood should be self-sufficient.” So I just, I think Woolen Mills is a beautiful place. I’ve enjoyed being here and working here. I’m really curious to see how it is going to grow. We’ve been talking a lot about the roadways and things. We have a huge tract of land over here that you know that I, fast forward five years I’m very curious to see what we’re going to have. But I just feel that a general tone that in the zoning decisions that we make, I feel a lot of the decisions need to be a little more acknowledging of what is here, what the community is asking for, and it might be difficult to fit it into a simple zoning choice, but you know I, I see it in the vision, there is language that you know we, we’ve got to adapt. We’re a neighborhood of people. We’re not a neighborhood of rules. And you know I would like to continue what I’m doing and what I’m offering to the city, and I hope in the future we’re going to be able to work with that in some capacity. And I, I just wanted to ask the neighborhood and the City Council concerning this zoning area, what’s on the table? What do you see? Do we have any ideas of what we want it to look like in five years? I’ll turn it over. Thank you,

Councilor Galvin: May I say something quickly on that one? The Comp Plan also talked about this new but old concept called small area planning. There’s currently one going on in the south side of town, the strategic investment area that’s around the Ix Building. West Main Street is going to be going through a similar process. It’s, it is a different way of engaging the public. It is a different way of planning. It’s a different way of envisioning the future. This area is included as one of the small area plans. It is an opportunity for the public, for the businesses for the residents to come together and talk about what that future needs to look like. That’s what’s been done in the strategic investment area south of town. We’re going to get a final report soon. But that, that was an opportunity where people from very different walks of life got together and talked about shared interests, conflicts, how to resolve it. And I think that is probably the only way that you will find out what your vision of the future will be.

Mayor Huja: Who else would like to speak?

(1:12:42) Blessing: Yeah, oh, my name is Donna Blessing, I’m, lived in Woolen Mills for five years and it’s very dear to me in that short time. What I’m hearing from everyone here is a concern about this beautiful community. It’s almost like it’s this wonderful little Shangri-la that’s under siege. And that’s where my concern is from. I hear it’s under siege because of noise, traffic, safety, and maybe zoning laws. I’m really concerned too about the increased, just in the four years, five years I’ve been here the traffic on Meade has just tripled. And I’m worried or concerned about new development that’s going up. That’s what 360 units. That would, if everyone doubles up with a roommate that’s 600 people. That’s more traffic. It’s more concern for noise, opportunities for not good things to happen in the neighborhood. Though I think that the City Council is really charged with how do you build an infrastructure that, that protects what we have here. And what many people came here to live for. You know a community to raise their children, send them to school, walk on the sidewalks, sit outside and not smell the sewage. You know this, these are some of the things, they’re very, they’re very simple things. They are not really difficult. To be safe in your neighborhood to walk your child to school. To make sure that people stop when they should. I don’t know how that works, but I do know that we’re looking at a new infrastructure because we are growing. And so my question, which doesn’t need to be answered now, is how, what is the City’s intention for our neighborhood? And other neighborhoods like this? How to preserve it, how to protect it, how to keep it safe, and how to take care of the integrity of it? Because we can’t always be building to get a tax dollar. Then we come, we become a bottom-line society. And we forget what really matters. And we already see this happening in our Congress. I won’t go into that. But when you forget about the children, when you forget about the families, when you forget about sitting out on your lawn like the lady said and just smelling the roses, then I don’t know. Then you’ve forsaken us. And so I’m so glad that you’ve listened and I hope there’s a way for all of us to work together to protect this. Thank you.


Councilor Szakos: Donna, I think you know, I hear what you’re saying. We hear it a lot and it’s really, and I think you guys have a really well organized Neighborhood Association that will make sure that we keep hearing it and that’s important. But I just want to, to talk to one thing that you said about the development is for the bottom line and I think, at least for this Council, when we talk about you know developments, generally what we’re looking at is either the need for housing or the need for jobs or the need for walkability and people being able to live near where they work. And so it really is a quality of life issue and a, and a services issue rather than a tax issue, so I just…

Blessing: But, but it has to be a win-win for everyone.

Councilor Szakos: No, I know but I’m just saying that we’re not that when we talk about development we’re not doing it because we’re trying to get tax money. And we’re doing it because we really think that these are things the community needs.

Blessing: Exactly. Thank you, Kristin. Thank you.

Lankford: Thank you so much for coming. I’m Bill Lankford, 1400 East Market Street. I just want to pick up on the traffic, the cars, all the problems we’ve talked about tonight, and just mention that we really don’t need another road, another bridge into the Woolen Mills and into Charlottesville. I think there’s a lot of concern and I appreciate the stand that some Council people have taken opposed to that. But Charlottesville can be a livable city with a neighborhood like the Woolen Mills close to the center of the town without being degraded by more roads. And I’d like to ask, although we certainly are as Karl has said, tired of being called upon to protest everything that’s a threat to us. I would like to ask what you see that we could do specifically to address this threat of another bridge across the river, through the circus grounds and into our neighborhood that we could work with you to make sure that that doesn’t happen.

Mayor Huja: They’ll be a study going on by Regional Planning MPO. I think you will need to come speak at those meetings because they’re interested in roads through this area. And you need to show up at the Public Hearings and express your views.

Lankford: When are those meetings? What are those specific meetings?

Mayor Huja: They’re not really “noticed” but they will be.

Lankford: The Planning Commission?

Councilor Szakos: The MPO, which is… a body of the Thomas Jefferson Regional Planning District, Planning District Commission. The MPO is the Metropolitan Planning Organization. It’s the transportation planning body for Charlottesville and Albemarle County, urban areas. We just got a grant, what was it $300,000? A bunch of money to work with the Center for Environmental Negotiation at U.Va. to look at the area around Free Bridge, at traffic issues and at, at you know modeling for different things and what people in the community want. So if that, you know one of the things that we’re looking at is, is finding representatives from each of the neighborhoods affected to sit on that body. It will be a citizen body doing the process of going through this. So as that happens we’ll let you know. It probably, let Bill know and you know. Anyway it will come into the neighborhood to let you all participate in that. I think Major Huja and I are both on the MPO and we have heard that there has been a, a, a call for a traffic bridge across here at the end of this street here, and we have on the MPO asked that to be taken off of any plans, that that would not go forward, so I think at this point [applause] *. But I will say as somebody whose house looks over Free Bridge and I see traffic backed all the way up to Park Street and all the way up to Martha Jefferson, that there is a problem with traffic there. And so we are trying to look at that to see what can happen.


Mayor Huja: So let me just add one more. The study’s going on. And this alternative road through this neighborhood is still part of the study. So what I am saying is that you need to be at the meetings and express your views.

Lankford: Thank you very much.

Councilor Norris: Ultimately though that’s not going to happen unless the City agrees to it. They can’t force it down our throats. And so.

Councilor Szakos: They can build the bridge but they can’t let cars come over it.

Councilor Norris: And so ultimately this group here, these Councilors and my replacement are, we need to keep the pressure on, on us, to say that is not a viable answer.

Councilor Szakos: And our successors and the ones after that and the ones after that.

Councilor Smith: I believe there’s a meeting on October 25th to look at the 2040 long-range plan and whether or not it’s in there. But it’s one opportunity to

Councilor Galvin: Will this be discussed Monday night at the presentation of the Report? It’s on the Monday night agenda as a report.

Councilor Smith: Not that bridge in particular.

Councilor Galvin: But the whole, the whole plan.

Silver: So I took the liberty of just walking up here. But my name is Gabe Silver. I just moved here this year to 1412 Chesapeake Street, which I think Chesapeake is the under represented street. But we have traffic on Chesapeake, too. But I’m not here to talk about traffic. We have a really beautiful river, which is why my wife and I bought our house in Woolen Mills because of the river. And we moved from Richmond. And Richmond’s really turned towards the river, and has done amazing things and was named the Best River Town in America this summer by Outside magazine. We’ve got a really awesome river. There’s otter down there, heron. I mean you go down there and it refreshes you. So we’d love to see the city continue to turn towards the river. And it sounds like the city really needs to acquire the circus grounds. In the big picture, when we talk about City Walk and probably more residential development and all the concern about more and more people trying to use our one beautiful Riverside Park. It sounds like we need another access to that increasingly awesome trail system with the County and the City’s trails being inter-connected. It just seems like there needs to be another park with another parking lot and a whole other trail head that the City sponsors somewhere up river of Riverside Park. I mean it seems like it has to happen. I think great things are going to happen to the Rivanna in terms or it becoming a healthier river and one that more people enjoy. And it’s just whether the City can lead that or whether it’s going to be kind of picking up the pieces behind the developers or whoever else, because the property values will be there. If you go down to Richmond, some of the most expensive properties in the city are, it’s the river. And luckily there’s a great trail and park system that was there early enough that it’s still a public resource. But a place like the Circus Grounds, it’s not really supposed to be owned by one person. I mean that’s a public resource. It’s got to be. It’s so close to the…

circus grounds
the former Bagby Circus Grounds, zoning classification B2 & B3. B-2: The B-2 business district is established to provide for commercial uses of limited size, primarily serving neighborhood needs for convenience goods. The intent of the B-2 regulations is to encourage clustering of these neighborhood-serving commercial uses. The uses permitted within this district are those which will generate minimal traffic originating outside the neighborhood areas served, and that will generate minimal noise, odors and fumes, smoke, fire or explosion hazards, lighting glare, heat or vibration. B-3: The B-3 business district is to provide for major commercial uses, of a type that is likely to generate significant amounts of traffic from points within as well as external to the surrounding neighborhood, and that may generate moderate noise, odors or fumes, smoke, fumes, fire or explosion hazards, lighting glare, heat or vibration.

Councilor Szakos: Tell that to the people who own it.

Silver: Yeah, I know, I know, but I’m telling you all.

Mayor Huja: Just to share, the City Council has been looking at the possibility but we haven’t been successful so far.

Silver: Right, well, keep up the good work, the good efforts. Yeah. But it’s a great neighborhood and a beautiful river.

Mayor Huja: Other people who like to speak?

Schultz: I’ve got five copies. One for each of you guys. First of all I’d like to have, I’d like to thank Matteus Frankovich for having crazier hair than me. And then I’d like to thank you guys for coming out tonight.

Councilor Szakos: Come a little closer.

Schultz: Yeah. I’m sorry. I’d like to thank you guys for coming out tonight and listening. There are three of you that were not present the last time I had an opportunity to address City Council so I’m going to basically reiterate my same question which is what does it take to get anything done in this city? I am Louis Schultz . I live at 1809 East Market Street, and that is right next door to the left. I’ve been trying to get issues regarding Steep Hill Street settled for many, many years now. I’ve addressed City Council in person. I’ve written numerous times and I still have had no results. So I’m unfortunately not able to provide everybody with the documents that are attached to that. I didn’t think ahead so I don’t have slides. If anybody would like to speak to me, ask any questions about what I have to say or look for documentation I’m right next door. Knock on the door. I’m readily available to answer your questions.
So basically Steep Hill Street is recorded in a deed dated September 1887. The deed has a note on it indicating that the streets on said platte are for the benefit of the lots laid off on the same. That’s a very important point. A document prepared by the Office of the City Attorney entitled Determining the Status of Alleys within the City states regarding streets created before 1946, quote “if the original sub-division plat states that a street or alley is reserved for the use of the adjoining property owners, or similar language, and it is a private way and there are no public rights, interests, or obligations therein.[”] Despite each having been fully informed in writing that Steep Hill Street is private property, Charlottesville City Manager Maurice Jones, Director of Public Works Judith Mueller, Utilities Director Lauren Hildebrand, and others in the employ of the City of Charlottesville, conspired and April 29, 2010, subsequently acted to seize that property for public use under color of law. That was the fourth such illegal seizure since 2000 and involved excavation of a buried sewer pipe. The other three seizures involved the wooden bridge. In each of these cases a city official determined that an improvement to the property was a danger of some sort to the public. If a public official believes that a blighted property constitutes a danger to the public there’s a procedure that they can follow to get that remedied. That involves notification. That involves a time for a response, a Planning Commission meeting if the response isn’t timely, and then following that a City Council meeting. That’s the only way the property can be condemned. In April 2010 all city officials involved were fully informed that Steep Hill Street is private property and chose to ignore the law and the procedures that it requires and seized the street for a public purpose anyway. It’s arguable, however, that Frank Shifflett, the official that ordered the replacement of the bridge deck in 2001 was unaware that Steep Hill was dedicated as a public street. There’s no excuse though for his failure to determine what the City’s legal rights and responsibilities were before proceeding to rebuild a portion of that bridge. By that failure he violated the applicable laws regarding condemnation of private property. So I’ll skip through a lot of this stuff. You guys have it. If anybody would like to read all of this, I’ll be glad to give it to you. In response to a, the City ‘s repairs that consist of replacing a few main timbers and the deck was, was without repairing the stone foundation, the guard rail was added as well. But the important point is by the time of the letter dated October 30, 2003, which is included in that package, neighborhood planner Claudette Grant was describing the bridge as, “City property.[“] The City’s efforts to repair the bridge were so shoddy that by July of 2006, the bridge deck was rotten, had become very dangerous.

Steephill Bridge
Steephill Bridge

At that point I wrote to the City Attorney and said that there’s a problem here. We need to fix that problem. The City Attorney told me that I would be part of a discussion about what would happen at that point that didn’t happen at all. Instead I was surprised to find that there was a City crew there working on that bridge. I came back from Blacksburg to attend to that problem. I went to a meeting with the City Attorney and at that meeting Angela Tucker from the Department of Neighborhood Services informed me that I had no say in what happened to that bridge. Again this is completely eliminating my rights as a private property owner with no due process preceding that. Basically, all of the City’s work on the bridge and claims of ownership, their invalidity notwithstanding, has made it impossible for any legitimately responsible party to do any repair work without facing either the risk of being charged with damaging City owned property, accepting liability for low-grade inadequate repair work performed by the City or both. The City’s paradoxical insistence that it is not responsible for maintaining the street means that it may well attempt to dodge responsibility in the almost certain event that that bridge fails and causes harm to persons or property. In September of 2010 I invited City Attorney Craig Brown to have an on-site discussion of the numerous unresolved issues surrounding Steep Hill. My wife and I met with him for about 2 ½ hours and discussed the issues and possible solutions in great detail. On September 2010 at the Town Hall meeting at the Mary Williams Center on East Market Street, I was approached by Mr. Brown who told me he was working on a response to our discussion and he would be in contact by the end of the following week. On February 25th of the next year, I wrote to ask him when I might actually be getting a response from him. He responded at that point to say a month later he finally got back to me and said, “thanks for your message. I obviously don’t do a very good job of projecting the demands of my job. Although sometimes events and circumstances can’t be anticipated. My hope is that I’ll be able to resume work on your issues in April Thank you for your continued patience”. By April 21st of that year, his response, the last time I’ve heard him was, “what do you want?” The simple response to that question is for the City to respect its citizen’s rights and the rule of law. It’s about time. This is an issue Dave Norris has known about for the entire tenure of his service here as City Councilor. I spoke to him via telephone when he was first elected. He was emailed as a, he was copied on the email that went to Judith Mueller when I first discovered after seeing marks from a Miss Utility call on Steep Hill Street. No notification whatsoever being done about that. I was surprised to find that. It was the only way I knew about that. I investigated by looking at Miss Utility records and found out that the City had called and that there was an excavation planned. No notice whatsoever was given and I responded to that by writing all the relevant parties. Mr. Norris was copied on that and I’ve heard nothing from him in response and, Mr. Huja, you knew about this, too. You knew about that probably a month later than, than Mr. Norris did. But I’ve never had anything in the way of a substantive response or anyone who really seriously looks like they want to solve this problem. And it is a real problem and it’s really, it’s about time that this was addressed. And it’s about time that this was settled in a way that amicable for all the parties involved.

Mayor Huja: Thank you. Anybody else? The reason I’m not responding to this request because it’s more complicated than you made it out to be. Somebody will get back to you.

the twins when they were younger
the twins when they were younger

Shullaw: Hi, my name’s Sara Shullaw. I live on Steep Hill Street and I have to cross the bridge every day with my twin six-year-old boys in our car. I am concerned about the condition of the bridge and who’s responsible for the bridge. I know the City’s done some work on it and if something were to fail with the bridge, you know I hope it’s you know whose responsibility is it, so I think, I concur with Lewis that it would be nice to get some clarity on that issue. Thank you.

Mayor Huja: Anything else?


Dusseau: Like a cakewalk compared. I’m Grace. I live on River Bluff Circle and I don’t see any of my friends from Riverside Avenue, but I just want to encourage the community to think of Woolen Mills as also being Riverside Avenue and River Bluff Circle. And I just want to advocate for all the kids that live on Riverside Avenue. And they all go to the Charlottesville City public schools. And the main thing I want to advocate for, if anyone could take a walk and look, is the, that there are so many kids that live there and they don’t even have a basketball hoop. The basketball hoop that’s been up on that concrete block is maybe, I don’t know from the sixties. And my husband has gone down with the ladder and we’ve replaced that hoop maybe four or five times. And I don’t know. It just seems like if one person said the kids that live on Riverside Avenue are going to have a basketball hoop and it’s a problem we can solve and there are a lot of kids that would really enjoy it and have something to do, and it seems like it would an easy thing to fix.

Councilor Smith: It’s going to be fixed. Really. We’ve just allocated money for it.

Councilor Szakos: …for Public Housing Recreational Facilities throughout the City and it’s one of them.

Dusseau: I’m just always hearing about that Public Housing getting some TLC and getting some attention and I’ve lived here seven years and I’ve, the only thing I’ve ever seen is the grass being mowed more. And it’s just there are a lot of children that live there and would benefit from some really basic play structures or place

Councilor Szakos: We just allocated, how much?

Mayor Huja: Three-hundred …

Councilor Szakos: Three-hundred thousand dollars to do that.

City Manager Jones: The City allocated $300,000 to the Housing Authority, a separate entity from the City of Charlottesville, aside from the fact that the City appoints the Board members for the Housing Authority. And we’ve put aside $300,000 and for Parks and Recreation Department went and evaluated all of the sites and all of the playground equipment. Now what we have said is that basketball courts are kind of secondary. The play structure is primary and the number one reason for the funding. And if there’s funding that’s left over after the 300 – or part of the $300,000 are spent on the playground equipment, they’ll look at the basketball courts.

Dusseau: Well, we’ll just keep fixing it but I mean it would be great if it could be – it’s the actual you know rim that can’t be. You can keep buying nets all day long but the structure itself…

City Manager Jones: Yeah, we’ll bring that to the attention of the Housing Authority

Dusseau: Thank you so much.

Mayor Huja: I think that will be fixed. I am sure.

Councilor Norris: Thank you to your husband for replacing that.

Scruggs: I’m Betty Lou Scruggs. I live at 1609 East Market Street directly in front of Franklin so I can tell you about the traffic. In fact I had a truck run into my house about six years or so ago. I would just like to, when they put the new water line in from Meade down to Franklin. All they’ve done is just piece meal you know with things. So I would like to request that that be paved because it’s very rough, very hard on the cars.

Mayor Huja: Thank you. Mr. Turnbull, will you note that down?

Emory: Actually on that subject at another North Downtown Neighborhood I heard Mark Kavit saying, talking to people in the neighborhood, saying to him and he’d talk to Public Works. But possibly Public Works could drive around the neighborhood. I know in the cross walk that’s south of the railroad tracks in Belmont, it’s like a 70-foot expanse. It’s disappeared. It needs to be repainted. And it just seems that generally the, much of the infrastructure needs, seems to be a little bit in need of repairs. So hopefully Public Works can come around and review.

City Manager Jones: Bill, I think what, in regards to that, we’ll have to take a look at the paving schedule. Because if it’s, if it’s set to be paved either, well, maybe before the end of this year. I know it’s going to be cold soon. But if it’s set to be paved early next year we wouldn’t do any striping now-

Emory: Right, and also if you’re going to change the road by putting in an multi-modal path it wouldn’t really make sense to do it right now. But we do appreciate you guys coming out. I just wanted to say to Grace that the Woolen Mills Neighborhood goes all the way to the Free Bridge and all along High Street and then Meade Avenue. We have over the years been involved with the residents at CRHA. We encourage them to come to meetings. We have their public representative, Brandon Collins, is a member of the Neighborhood Association and they are not ignored by the neighborhood. So I’m really hoping, just say the door is always open.

Mayor Huja: Thank you. There’s someone in the back.

Covert: Hi, my name is Laura Covert. I live at 1809 East Market Street and my remarks are unprepared so. I wasn’t expecting to be able to make it tonight. But I did want to say a couple of things. One is that, a bunch of people have, I wasn’t here for the earlier part, so I’m sorry if someone’s gone over this before. But there are a ton of new developments coming into town. Not just in the Woolen Mills Area, on Main Street and all those other things that seem to be popping up on a daily basis. And my concern is really that as some other people have said the infrastructure is really not there. You put you know 600 more cars on Market Street. You put 600 more cars trying to cross the at-grade railroad crossing on Meade and Carlton. We’re putting I don’t know how many cars on Main Street, which regardless of what you think about students, they’re going to drive cars. And our transportation system, our public transportation system does, has, is appalling, frankly, I use it and I know. And I can’t believe that anybody who uses the transportation actually came up with the new plan for the changes in the bus routes. I mean obviously there have been some improvements but they basically made it impossible to get to work in a reasonable amount of time. If I need to get work on time I need to leave an hour early. Actually a little more than an hour before I’m supposed to be there in order to get there on time. And

Councilor Szakos: This is after January with the new routes?

Covert: They haven’t told me what the new routes, I mean, yes, if they keep the timing the way it is now.

Councilor Szakos: Which route is this?

Covert: It’s One. And you miss the downtown buses by two minutes they won’t sit around and wait for you. And so you miss another 15 minutes worth of ..

Councilor Szakos: that may change.

CATS route changes
Market Street had bus service for 60 years

Covert: It may. But all I’m saying is those kinds of choices over the course of time and with these additions of new people are not, that’s not helping. That’s not helping promote transportation, using public transportation. It needs to be more together. I mean this, somebody’s got to get their hands wrapped around having once an hour service and having – it takes me you know. It, it used to be, it used to work great. It used to get me to work in 20, minutes, 25 minutes. It used to get me home in 25 minutes. And now it takes much, I can’t, I actually can’t use it anymore when I have to be at work at a particular time.

SPEAKER: You’re talking about two miles maybe or?

Covert: Maybe, maybe three, yeah. And you know 25 minutes is fine because by the time you park and all that I get it. But it, it cannot get worse. And when the transportation becomes easier, people will use it. And until it becomes easier, people will not use it. And will end up clogged up on the streets and people not being able to walk and bike safely. I’m, I just encourage you to really put some thought into this. I was super disappointed in the last consultants that came in. They basically did no, they did no information searching as far as I could tell. They used information from a previous study and, and it seems like if we had taken that hundred and whatever thousand dollars that we spent on that consultant and asked the bus drivers and gave them bonuses for increasing ridership, you know of $2000, I think you could have gotten a lot more out of your money for that. So I encourage you to think about some alternative ways of making this better. Because until it gets better people are still going to not use it. And we have a lot of people who are going to be in the center part of town, which is what the goal is as far as I can tell.

Mayor Huja: Be sure that Council are interested in improved transit system. And we are spending more and more money. But if there are ways to improve it, we’d definitely like to hear them.

Covert: I think that the cost of consultants is poorly spent.

Councilor Szakos: Which bus do you transfer to?

Covert: I go from the One to either the Seven or the Trolley. And there’s a two-minute delay and they will not wait for you.

City Manager Jones: Right and I specifically asked about that issue at a Council meeting (talking together)

Covert: And they said maybe in January but we don’t know. It might be June.

City Manager Jones: Well, I got the sense that they , if it was something as minor as two minutes that it was going to be something that they were going to be able to adjust.

Councilor Szakos: But if it was the Seven we were told that it would be changed.

Covert: I haven’t gotten that feedback

City Manager Jones: Who have you spoken to?

Covert: I can’t remember the person I emailed a long time ago. They said, yes, we’re looking at it and that was several months ago.

Mayor Huja: Can you leave your name and number with this young man and we will follow up with you?

Covert: Okay.

Mayor Huja: Thank you. Anybody else who would like to speak?

Collins: Good evening. I’m Brandon Collins. I live at 418 Fairway Avenue. I’ve lived in Charlottesville my entire life. This little one has as well. And her brother and their mother and also the teenage daughter who lives here. I’ve never met this lady but I love the way she thinks and I know you’ve heard all this stuff before. What I, what is extremely unfortunate is the Route One is being further reduced and so access for people who use transit and particularly people who are transit dependent in our neighborhood is, it’s going to be harder. So, particularly Saturday the bus route is out and that’s, that’s problematic and this was brought to you all’s attention and I know it was a lot to process when you were looking at the transit changes but that is one of them. And I can say where we live on Fairway, there are three households on our block of transit-dependent blind people. And this is, they rely on that. And they, from you know what’s going to happen it’s going to be rerouted from Fairway down Chesapeake is my understanding. And I would really hope you would take a second look at that. My bus stop that I use pretty much every day, there’s a steady four or five people that use it every day. Now I know the route itself has low ridership and, but our stop in particular serves a lot of people. And I, think it’s really important to, to maintain that. I did want to put in a plug for traffic calming on Fairway. It’d be great if you drove through Fairway on your way home tonight. Where we’re at, it’s almost a cul de sac but it goes straight through and people come zipping around, it’s like this weird corner. A whole lot of families, tons of kids. Again there’re visually impaired people in the neighborhood. And it’s intense there. And we, you know we love the idea of this sort of cul de sac neighborhood feel. When we moved into our house, which wasn’t that long ago, people we had barely met came in and cleaned our house while we were, while she was giving birth to our children And so that’s the kind of neighborhood and atmosphere we have. And we want to maintain that you know. And it’s also not just a cut-through for traffic but it’s a cut-through for pedestrians. So we would love to see that sort of cut-through, walking through our neighborhood thing emphasized over cars cutting through out neighborhood. And I think that’s really important.

And, yes, I think it’s always great to hear that the Housing Authority, as well know, can’t fix a basketball net. And I think it’s a shame that you have to get people from outside to bring up this issue and actually do the work that the Housing Authority should be doing. And I commend your attention to this and I, I hope you’ll give me a call when you drop by.

waiting to be replaced
On the CRHA to-do list? Dead tree, 319A Riverside Avenue. Deferred maintenance.

Mayor Huja: Anybody else like to speak?

Councilor Szakos: We don’t impose a three-minute limit but babies just sometimes do.

Mayor Huja: Anybody else would like to speak who has not spoken so far? If not, let me make a few comments. We’re going to take these ideas and follow up on your concerns. And it will be on our website right Maurice? Are there any comments other comments Councilors want to make?

Councilor Szakos: I just want to as always thank everybody for coming out. This is, you know you could be home watching TV or you know sitting on your porch and enjoying the smell of the sewer, but here you are. And the way that a City runs well is when people take citizenship seriously and so thank you for doing that.

Councilor Smith: Special neighborhood.

Mayor Huja: Thank you.

Councilor Galvin: Thank you very much.

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