graffiti

freedom of speech wall
The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression installed a First Amendment Monument in our City, it is a monolith, 54 feet long, 7.5 feet high.
Faced with slate. It was a good idea. But the execution, the slate is very roughly finished,
not like a chalkboard at all, it is a difficult surface to write on. Try writing on toilet paper with a quill pen, it’s like that. The wrong surface. What was the architects’ intent?

City Standards and Design

utility poles in sidewalk
In November I heard that Dominion Power (aka Dom.Com, VEPCO, Dominion) had indicated to a Charlottesville City Councilor that utility poles located in the middle of sidewalks could be addressed. Dominion was interested in a list, an inventory of such poles.
HEY Dominion! Are these two more sidewalk poles in the making? 1000 block of East Market Street.
Decrease the width of the street to 36 feet, keep the sidewalk, move the poles?
Put the lines in an underground utility bus?

Three Notched


Charlottesville City staff join personnel from Rhodeside and Harwell for a walk up and down a portion of the Three Notch’d Road. At the west end of the 4,000 foot segment are the grounds of University of Virginia, at the east end of the segment, is the Charlottesville pedestrian mall.


Of the area in-between the West Main subcommittee of the PLACE Task Force comments:

The subcommittee’s preliminary discussions about the corridor suggested that there were several impediments to its success that related to: the design of many of its discrete elements; the codes and design guidelines that govern both the public right-of-way and the adjacent properties; and the review process for new development. Several of the design problems include, for example, the conflict between street trees and overhead utilities, sidewalks that are too narrow, poor lighting, excessive off-street parking along the street edge, and unsafe intersections (particularly the intersection of west Main Street and Ridge/McIntire).

The different character of West Main along its length was not reflected in the planning guidelines and codes governing the corridor, and the expectations for redevelopment were not clear, creating a difficult review process for those wishing to build along the corridor. Property owners and developers also indicated that many of the issues they face need to be addressed collectively, and would support efforts from the city to coordinate the actions of individual property owners. These issues include parking, stormwater management, maintenance and security.


Pictured above, Elliot Rhodeside. Behind him is the awesome pedestrian no-man’s land formed by the intersection of South Street, Water Street, Ridge-McIntire, Ridge and West Main. How about the Poynton approach?




A great deal of activity on W. Main these days. How will the commons fare? Commons is the space shared by cyclists, trees, fire-engines, pedestrians, parked cars, gas, water, stormwater and sewer lines, overhead utilities, street lights, street furniture, signage, student BMW’s, public transit, local freight, skateboarders….


Sustain!

To learn more about the history of W.Main download the PLACE Annual Report.
PLACE Report 2013

Charlottesville Tomorrow’s Sean Tubbs reports

Cooking in Belmont

franklin street looking south
At 10:15 this morning members of the JADE task force executed a search warrant at 706 Franklin Street. Three individuals were detained. Materials were removed from what appeared to be a operational laboratory engaged in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Franklin cordoned off
Traffic control cordoned off 500 feet of Franklin Street and established a perimeter. The Fire Department and Hazardous Materials Team handled decontamination.

inbound or outbound?
View from Mason Street looking east. Not able to say what is in the containers. Mr. White?

taking down the decon tent
The operation was winding down around 1330 hrs.

windblown footware
Found this footware just outside the Police perimeter.

last picture show

vinegar hill theater exterior
Sunday 2100 hrs. Moviegoers approach Vinegar Hill Theater, one last time. A very different experience than the multi-screen, acres of asphalt Movieplex.

vinegar hill theater blackboard
Not the place you go to see Wolverine. Human scale. Vinegar Hill Theater manager James Ford thanked long time supporters in advance of Frances Ha, the final movie.

audience watches final credits roll
Credits roll. The lights go out on independent cinema in CHO.

mice and men

installing pipe beneath Carlton AV
All manner of development activity afoot in Charlottesville. One of the Planning Commissioners commented on it last night, I didn’t write the exact number down, but there are something like a thousand “dwelling units” fixing to appear on the real estate market. Another Planning Commissioner asked how we were coming on meeting the proposed Comprehensive Plan goal of having 15% of that new housing affordable. There wasn’t an answer readily available to that question. Most of the housing being built near UVA is constructed to do liposuction on the students’ parents wallets. No one ever builds affordable housing for UVA workers near the U. There is some affordable housing coming on line, JABA’s Timberlake Place in the Woolen Mills and Habitat’s Sunrise Park, 1/4 mile south of Timberlake, in east Belmont-Carlton. (so roughly 5% of the 1000 units are affordable)

MJH redo
Not all the development is residential. CFA remodeling is rocking along at the former Martha Jefferson.

holding ponds
Not all the development is roofs for sleeping/working people. Over on the sewer side of town Big doings. RWSA has been successfully addressing multiple issues. They have increased Phosphorous and Nitrogen removal from their effluent, an excellent development for the Rivanna River, the James and the Chesapeake Bay. Additionally, they’ve constructed a wetland, they are fixing to unleash a tunnel boring machine and they have made major strides in odor control, keeping the stink on site.

Lee Quill
In every direction there are people planning…

vortex participant
…tackling long range issues. How do we reconnect the people to the river. How do we make the street a place that’s good for more than squashing possums and exercising fire engines? How do we restore streets to their commons status?


How do we incorporate green infrastructure and low impact development practices into our cheat the cookie building culture?

background Monticello foreground Harry A. Wright's INC
How do we move to excellent urban planning?