Report: Connector to ease
By Matt Kelly
the Lewis Mountain Road Neighborhood Association has been protest-
ing the construction of a new parking garage behind the Best Western
Cavalier Inn, a study commissioned by the University says that
several building plans, including the parking garage, will not
impede the flow of traffic in the area.
report, from consultants Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin Lopez
Rinehart Inc., examines the impact of several proposed projects,
including a new arena, an arts precinct with its own parking garage
and a road connecting the North Grounds with the U.S. 29/250 bypass,
as well as the parking garage. The initiatives can be undertaken
without causing unacceptable or significant adverse traffic
operating conditions for any phase of the development program,
the report says. In addition, traffic flow through some intersections
would improve and, in others, delays would increase only marginally.
North Grounds Connector is cited in the report as the siphon that
will draw much of the traffic from arena events and, in calculating
traffic impact, the report assumes the existence of this connector.
The proposed connector would reduce traffic at the Emmet Street
and Ivy Road intersection, and Massie Road would be blocked during
arena events, redirecting traffic out Copeley Road to routes 29
and 250 and out the connector to the bypass.
consultants recommend that traffic signals be synchronized and
the University modify its traffic control plan to allow for human
traffic directors at several intersections during events. The
University also should work with the city and the neighbors to
minimize traffic impacts.
allowing access to and from the north only at the Emmet Street
entrance to the garage, a measurable component of garage traffic
is not allowed into the Emmet/Ivy intersection, the report
consultants were brought in about two years ago when the University
was exploring ideas for the arts precinct and began concentrating
on the parking garage and arena projects a year ago. The design
for the garage and the parking study developed hand in glove,
Samuel A. Pete Anderson III said.
Walker and Lawrence Lewis, representing the consultants, joined
Anderson at a May 29 meeting with residents of the Lewis Mountain
Road neighborhood to explain the report.
consultants said delays on Emmet Street and Ivy Road would not
be enough to push drivers onto neighborhood streets, which has
been the concern of many of the Lewis Mountain neighborhood residents.
Poor access to main arteries from the neighborhood streets would
create additional delays for drivers, instead of shortening their
study measures delays as the difference between the time it takes
for a vehicle to go through the intersection without stopping
versus how long it takes while having to stop or slow down.
reports analysis indicates that the delay at the Ivy Road-Emmet
Street intersection, near the proposed Emmet Street parking garage,
is currently 26.4 seconds, which will decrease to a 26.2 second
delay from 2003 to 2006. Then the delay will increase to 32.6
seconds without an event and to 58.9 seconds with an event, during
the peak hour of traffic. The 2006 estimates are factoring in
the North Grounds Connector.
proposed five-level garage would be 600 feet by 120 feet and 53
feet high, which Anderson said would be shorter than the Cavalier
Inn, and it would be built on land that is below the street level.
He said the view of the garage would be blocked by trees in warm
weather and later by student housing.
said a dormitory would still be built between the garage and the
street, housing 600 to 700 students. U.Va. plans to build a walkway
bridge, he said, over Ivy Road connecting the four-story building
with the International College.
Some people at the meeting questioned when the data of the current
traffic flow was taken. Some neighbors said the rush hour starts
at 3:30 p.m., while Walker said peak hours of traffic through
the area are from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., as determined using VDOT and
city traffic figures.
Mountain residents were skeptical, questioning the data collection
and conclusions. University officials agreed to examine traffic
reports from the City of Charlottesville and from the Lewis Mountain
Neighborhood Association and try to reconcile them with its own
traffic study. Anderson said the University would welcome a peer
review of its traffic study.
states environmental impact study on the traffic should
be completed next week.