Franklin Street, ongoing

2005 WMNA President Allison Ewing
Ten years ago in May we marked up maps of the Woolen Mills talking about safety and quality of life as it relates to the City right of way in our neighborhood. There have been many entries in this discussion.
There was a moment of hope a year ago 6/16/2014:

Ms. Szakos moved to approve a six month pilot from Market St. to the driveway of the existing business with appropriate signage, conduct a traffic study, and engage citizens and businesses. Ms. Galvin seconded, with the addition of a clearly marked pedestrian pathway. Ms. Smith said we should be sure we give adequate notice to the neighborhoods. The resolution passed. (Ayes: Ms. Szakos, Ms. Smith, Mr. Huja, Mr. Fenwick, Ms. Galvin; Noes: None.)

Never happened.
Since that time the Bike-Ped master plan revision has been recommended for approval by the Planning Commission. County and City meet to discuss the Rivanna corridor and planning issues along their joint boundary.
Last night as part of its consent agenda Council approved funds for a sidewalk on Franklin.
The Code audit, Standards and Design Manual revisions, the Streets That Work initiative, these hopeful initiatives seem to be MIA.
The new director of Neighborhood Development has a very full plate.

horse race

election signs
Charlottesville Democratic Primary candidates are wearing out the shoe leather. Walking the relatively shadeless streets of our city,
meeting voters in preparation for June 9 Democratic Primary.
When the new Council is seated in November, I hope that they look back and ask themselves why the 1975 Street Tree plan was never implemented.
Revise and adopt that plan in the first one-hundred days!

Coragyps atratus

vulture profile
The black vulture (Coragyps atratus) also known as the American black vulture, is a bird in the New World vulture family whose range extends from the southeastern United States to Central Chile and Uruguay in South America.–Wikipedia


vultures on the roof
Humans like to anthropomorphize animals. In that vein, the vultures are very mannerly. They wait their turn at the table.


vulture eying morsels
Density (check) City services (check) Food options (check) Walkability (not really a concern) Sustainability (check)


at the table
Connectivity (check) Mixed use and diversity (check) Traditional neighborhood structure (check) Smart transportation (check) Quality architecture and urban design (?)

pair formation

anderson brothers building
Spring is here. Pair formation. Grackles abound. Students move into spring territory, on the ledge of the Anderson Brothers Bookstore building.

Oh! On the subject of Architecture! Read about Andres Duany’s visit to Charleston where he takes on Preservation Groups, the Fire Marshall, the B.A.R., the Zoning Code, Charlotte and Atlanta , Architects and Traffic and Parking

Our Town

4 of 5 Council members
City Council came to our neighborhood Thursday night. They brought a delicious dinner, a good audio system, and a complement of City staff. Staff and Council engaged in an extended (1:29:00) exchange of substantive information with neighbors. Many people-hours go into holding such an event. People out on the town at night investing their time, the elected and the citizens, striving to make their City a place worth caring about Audio is available on the Woolen Mills Neighborhood Association website.

Tale of Two Cities

XXXXXXXXXXXXX
Keeping up with the ADA, installing curb ramps with detectable warnings.
radiused granite!
Many different ways to install an ADA ramp in terms of workmanship and materials. This photo is from a northern city
which finds economy in using cut radiused granite for its curbs.
asphalt sidewalk
There are doubtless advantages to asphalt sidewalks. They are easier on tree roots? You can make them out of oil? They are cheaper to install? They are better to fall on?
They don’t seem to be durable.
Our town installs these in neighborhoods with a lower socio-economic profile.
30 x10208 px box
G. What are Detectable Warnings, Why are They Required, and Where Must They be Provided?
The ADA Standards require that curb ramps include features called “detectable warnings.” Detectable warnings consist of a series of small domes that contrast in color with the surrounding sidewalk or street. They must be integrated into the walking surface, and there are specific measurements for the size and spacing of the domes.13
What is the function of detectable warnings? Detectable warnings are intended to function much like stop signs for pedestrians who are blind or have low vision. The warnings, which are intended to be felt with pedestrians’ feet, alert blind individuals and those with low vision that they are about to enter a street or other area where cars pass. A detectable warning alerts pedestrians who are blind or have low vision that they need to stop and determine the nature of the hazard – such as whether there is passing traffic – before continuing on their way. 
Under the ADA Standards, curb ramps are required to have detectable warnings that extend the full width and depth of the curb ramp.14 An example of a perpendicular curb ramp that complies with this requirement can be seen to the left. 
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), however, is encouraging the use of a different design for detectable warnings.15 Under this design, detectable warnings extend the whole width of the ramp, but cover only the two feet of the ramp closest to the street. DOT has deemed this departure from the ADA Standards to be permitted under Title II of the ADA.16 An example of a curb ramp that complies with the DOT’s design can be seen on the right.ADA Best Practices

Jim Tolbert

Mr. Tolbert at work
Neighborhood Development Services director Jim Tolbert is headed south to a new job in Georgia.
Jim has been in charge of the department that oversees the fate of neighborhoods so we’ve had much contact over the years.
His is a critically important, tough position which he has handled with grace and good humor. I will miss him.

Jim’s last official words to me were encouraging, about getting long standing zoning issues rectified. That work now falls to his successor.

Following Mr. Tolbert’s departure I hope we can find an owner’s manual for the City.


30 x1028 px box

The city, sixth-largest in the state with a 2010 population of 93,853, wanted to separate itself from what it saw
as wasteful government spending in surrounding communities. The city benefits greatly, though, from the number of Fortune 500
companies headquartered there, boasting an extremely high per capita income, with the median family household income,
according to a 2008 census estimate, approximated at $129,810, and the average family income $169,815.–Huffington Post

Sandy Springs, Mr.Tolbert’s new town, has a considerably different socio-economic profile and governmental services structure than Charlottesville.

Water Street

south water street edge Tuesday
Tuesday this was the south edge of Water Street


Thursday edge of Water
In the 48 hours between Tuesday and Thursday the city had the trees cleared.


multimodal path City walk
The City is hoping to establish an off road, 10 foot wide multi-modal path between downtown and Meade Park in the Woolen Mills. The path and the fence (to keep pedestrians off the railroad tracks) have been planned for years. This is a section of the path and fence adjacent to “City Walk”. The scarified area pictured above will receive treatment similar to this in City Walk in the coming months.

How best to handle the commons, the City owned right of way throughout town, 156 miles of street?
Tomorrow, the City is holding a community engagement event for the “Streets That Work” project that will address this and other questions related to streets.
Be there!

Streets that Work Public Input Meeting – Saturday December 13, 2014
City staff invites the public to be a part of the process and come out to its Streets that Work Public Input Meeting. Please join us on Saturday, December 13 from 8:00 am – 11:30 am at the Carver Recreation Center Gymnasium to share your ideas and join the conversation.