The Charlottesville and Albemarle Planning Commissions had a joint work session yesterday. As is my custom, I begged them to pay attention to our river.
Their custom regarding the river is not to see it.

Move in

There are a vast number of residential properties around the former Martha Jefferson hospital that were upzoned to B-1. The houses had their yards paved, their trees cut down and their souls replaced by medical tradespeople.
What will be the fate of all those houses?
Some of the houses fared better than others, the trees stayed, the asphalt stayed away. They still feel like residential properties. This man was moving into one of them. Urban pioneer. Eyes on the street. Will the residential life of this neighborhood return?

Urban Design

Our City is currently involved in several urban design discussions simultaneously.
Are cities gender neutral? Our city, being Charlotte’s Ville. Maybe she can multitask. Talk about redesigning her central park and her bridge downtown and not cut off the wrong leg by mistake.
I have missed the bridge-design events & discussion. Watching the video by Dan Bluestone and Brian Wimer has me playing catch-up.

Why do we allow our bad things to happen to our cities? Why do we allow our cities to be designed by autos and fire engines?
Jim Kunstler talked a bit about the Law of Perverse Outcomes in his November 2011 “Eyesore of the Month”.




The golden apple of discord was rolling up and down 11 charette tables at Charlottesville High School last night as competing interests sought to divvy up the remaining acreage of east McIntire Park.

At present the 65 acres are largely inaccessible to any citizen without a golf-bag. Programming ideas abound for the acreage in the land-bank. There were proposals for more asphalt, skate park asphalt, parking lot asphalt and perhaps asphalt transecting the park, parallel to the Meadowcreek Parkway, to connect the new northern and southern Parking lots.

Whatever the outcome, after the stakeholders get the baby divided there will be more public access.

The rectangular field, botanical garden and golf ball interests played nice with each other. Voices were not raised. Indeed, “everyone was heard”. But, I’m hoping before the Recreation Department and the City Council approve a final design they will visit Central Park in NYC for some ideas.

McIntire park was originally larger than its current size. The construction of the bypass ran through the park, with one section becoming what is now Greenleaf Park. Another section, at the southeast end of McIntire Road near the rescue squad, initially became tennis courts and more recently has been converted into a skateboard park. Of the original 150 acres, approximately 130 lie north of the 250 bypass with 55 acres on the west side of the railroad tracks, and 75 acres on the east side.– Parks and Recreation


I asked the Charlottesville Council candidates…

If your land-use and zoning preferences are followed into the future, in twenty years Charlottesville will look like ___________ (fill in the blank).

a. Charlottesville (1.3x density increase)
b. Alexandria VA (2x density increase)
c. Philadelphia PA (3x density increase)
d. Brooklyn NY (8x density increase)

None of the candidates answered the question in the format desired.
In fairness, this was the last part of a three part question and responses were cramped by a time limit.
Hoping the candidates will share their thoughts now.