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U.Va. Gets State Approval For New Parking Garage

September 5, 2002-- The University of Virginia can proceed with its proposed parking garage, the state’s secretary of administration announced late Wednesday.

“My actions allow construction to proceed at the university’s discretion, but under condition that the university pay for all traffic and safety improvements directly related to the garage,” Sandra D. Bowen wrote to U.Va. President John T. Casteen III. She noted that the nature and cost of those improvements will not be clear until a new traffic study being commissioned by the University and the City of Charlottesville is complete.

The city is advertising for traffic engineering firms interested in conducting the study, to be paid for by the University. The deadline for submitting bids is Sept. 13, with the study to be completed by Nov. 30.

The University already has committed to pay more than $5 million for several improvements related to traffic in the area, including a new connection between Massie Road and the U.S. 29/250 bypass, the expansion of one lane west from the garage’s Ivy Road entrance, and synchronizing six traffic signals on Ivy Road and Emmet Street.

Leonard W. Sandridge, U.Va. executive vice president and chief operating officer, further agreed, in an Aug. 29 memo to Bowen, “to cover the reasonable costs associated with implementing any traffic mitigation measures recommended by the new study related to traffic flow generated by the garage, and the vehicular movements into and out of the garage.”

A second condition of Bowen’s approval is that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) have a continuing role in the process. She said that VDOT must approve the scope of the new traffic study and must review the completed study to be sure it has been properly conducted.

In addition, “I strongly recommend that the university and the City of Charlottesville include VDOT in the steering committee that will oversee this project,” Bowen wrote to Casteen. The University has agreed with her recommendation.

The University’s contractor will begin preliminary work next week to prepare the site for construction, said Colette Sheehy, vice president for management and budget.

“Now that we have learned we can proceed, we hope to move forward as promptly as possible,” she said. “Our goal has always been to have this garage available next fall, so the students and employees who now have permits on the north side of Massie Road will have an off-street place to park when those spaces are eliminated.”

Contact: Louise Dudley, (434) 924-1400

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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