March 22-28, 2002
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Top News

Parking garage plans move forward

By Matt Kelly

The Board of Visitors building and grounds committee on March 7 approved the preliminary design for a $17.5 million, 1,180-space parking garage behind the Cavalier Inn.

The garage, nine months in planning, is slated to begin construction in June and should take a year to complete. It is intended to serve University employees, students and visitors attending events at U.Va. In the short term, it will replace the parking spaces lost when the University builds the new arena on Massie Road.

The five-story garage, first introduced at the June 2001 BOV meeting, will be built along the CSX railroad tracks on a wooded site now used to store mulch. There will be entrances and exits on both Emmet Street and Ivy Road. At the recommendation of traffic consultants, new traffic lights at these two sites will be synchronized with the lights at the Emmet and Ivy intersection to help traffic flow.

The project, which recently drew the ire of some Lewis Mountain neighborhood residents, was the subject of the March 4 meeting of the neighborhood association. There they expressed to University and city officials concerns about the traffic impact on their homes.

“We all accept that the parcel is slated for development by the University,” said Jonathan Einbinder, association president. “It is a question of whether a garage is the best use for the land under the master plan and how the city and U.Va. connect on this. … We appreciate U.Va. coming to our meeting, but we wanted more input.”

Future meetings with the neighborhood association will include discussion of traffic modeling data and building design, said Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “We welcome the neighbors’ ideas on how to make this building and the site as a whole as attractive as possible,” he said. “We also want to work with them and with the city to minimize excessive traffic through residential streets.”

Samuel A. “Pete” Anderson, University architect, said the new garage would not make the Ivy Road/Emmet Street intersection any better, but it also would not make it “significantly worse. … All of these cars are coming through there now.”

Anderson said that Florida-based traffic consultants Glatting-Jackson will meet with the neighbors to show, with a computer model, the impact of the garage, as well as a new North Grounds connector to the bypass that will bring traffic to and from the Massie Road area.

While the garage’s first use is to replace the spaces lost to new construction, it fits into future construction projects, including student housing to be built in the next five to 10 years between the garage and Ivy Road. The garage eventually will mesh with another garage across Emmet Street for the Arts Grounds and a 1,500-car facility at the new basketball arena, which will be accessed from the bypass.

Hartman Cox, the firm that designed the future Special Collections library, also is working on the garage. Anderson said the project would be put out to bid in the next several weeks.


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