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Background On Emmet Street / Ivy Road Traffic Study

March 26, 2003-- In August, the University accepted the city of Charlottesville’s recommendation that the University pay for a new traffic study to be done before the Emmet Street parking garage opens.

  • On Sept. 4, Sandra Bowen, secretary of administration for the governor, issued a memo regarding her actions on the Environmental Impact Report of the Ivy Road Parking Garage.
  • She wrote that “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, which may be indicated by the new traffic engineering study.”
  • She also specified a role for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) in assuring appropriate mitigation of direct impacts on traffic and safety specific to this project, and asked that VDOT be included in the steering committee that would oversee the traffic study.
  • The University already had committed to pay for several improvements related to traffic in the area, including the expansion of one lane west from the garage’s Ivy Road entrance and synchronization of six traffic signals on Ivy Road and Emmet Street.
  • In an Aug. 29 memo to Bowen, Leonard W. Sandridge, U.Va. executive vice president and chief operating officer, further agreed “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 seven-member committee composed of representatives from the city, the University, VDOT, and the Lewis Mountain Neighborhood Association began working with Carl Tewksbury of Kimley-Horn, the hired by through an RFP process conducted by the City. They since have met nine times, and members call it a model of cooperative work between entities.
  • Kimley-Horn collected traffic data in the fall.
  • In mid-December, Kimley-Horn made a presentation of early findings, including the fact that the current longest delay at Ivy and Emmet was 66.5 seconds between the peak rush hours of 4 and 6 p.m. An earlier study by another consulting firm had put the delay at 52.4 seconds, but it had not been done during peak rush hour while school was in session.
  • Since December, the firm has been looking at current traffic conditions at 17 intersections near the garage as well as looking at projected growth in the city.
  • In a recent note to neighbors, Art Lichtenberger, president of the Lewis Mountain Neighborhood Association, wrote: “ . . . the Study/Steering Committee was done in good faith by all parties involved … the study was not rushed in any manner or for reason of ongoing UVA construction schedules. Considerations and ideas of all parties involved were taken seriously and pursued until consensus was had.”

On Tuesday, March 25, Kimley-Horn will make a presentation of the findings and steering committee recommendations to the community.

Overview of consultant’s findings:

1. This second traffic study looked at the cumulative impact of the University’s proposed projects in the North Grounds area on the metropolitan road network.

2. The study showed that the traffic at the intersection of Emmet and Ivy is presently at or near failure during the rush hours between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and that the traffic would continue to be in failure at those times in the future -- whether the garage was built or not.

3. In order to isolate the effect of the University’s new development projects from the impact of general regional growth patterns, the consultants studied a “no build” condition in 2003 and 2006 as well the impact of garage, arena and arts precinct projects.

4. From a slate of possible improvements suggested by the consultant, the steering committee has developed a set of mitigation measures that they recommend the University undertake to mitigate the traffic impacts of the new garage. These include:

  • Traffic signal at the Ivy entrance (not Emmet St. entrance)
  • Barricades in the pavement to prevent left turn from the Emmet entrance onto Emmet St. and through movement from the garage to Rothery.
  • Right-turn-only lane into the garage entrance on Ivy.
  • Additional west-bound lane between garage entrance and Copeley Rd.
  • Improving the radius on eastern corner of Copeley Rd. to facilitate transit use of this route to North Grounds.
  • Signal coordination of six traffic signals in the Ivy Emmet network (on Emmet from JPA to Barracks Rd. and on Ivy from Old Ivy to Rugby)

Construction costs for these items is approximately $1.2 million, and the University is committed to taking care of them.

"The University is committed to paying for all traffic and safety improvements directly related to the construction of the Ivy Road/Emmet Street garage that have been recommended by the traffic study steering committee. We intend to go beyond the minimum required. To that end, we also are providing funding for the synchronization of 11 traffic lights and the improvement of the turn radius on the eastern corner of Copeley Road. We will continue to work with the City to find ways to make other changes that will improve traffic conditions in our community,” said Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officer at U.Va.

“We are grateful to the traffic study steering committee and Kimley-Horn for their excellent work and the recommendations that they have presented. This has been an extraordinary example of how representatives of the City of Charlottesville, the neighborhood, the business community and the University can work together to improve the quality of life we all enjoy. This community is the University's home and the home of our faculty, students and staff -- it is critically important that we and our neighbors work together to address our common challenges.”

5. The cumulative effect of these measures prevents the intersections from getting worse after the garage opens.

6. The reason why the recommended improvements do not have a greater impact due to the fact that there simply are not enough lanes to handle the traffic – a fact that can be seen at numerous intersections in the study, not just at Ivy-Emmet.

7. The committee accepted the notion that the University’s responsibility is to keep conditions from getting worse because of development projects, not to improve an already bad situation.

8. The final report will provide recommendations for long-term improvements for all the 17 intersections that the city can use as a basis for budgeting and planning purposes.
**********************
Committee members include:
Mary Hughes, University of Virginia, 924-6015
Tim Hulbert, Regional Chamber of Commerce, 295-3141
Jim Simmonds, Lewis Mountain Neighborhood Association, 984-0428
Jim Tolbert, City of Charlottesville, 970-3182
Angela Tucker, City of Charlottesville, 970-3182
Don Wells, VDOT/Richmond, 804-786-2981
Rebecca White, University of Virginia, 924-6763
Note: Art Lichtenberger, Lewis Mountain Neighborhood Association, attended meeting when Jim Simmonds was out of town

 


Emmet Street / Ivy Road Parking Study Report
UNIVERSITY ENDORSES RECOMMENDATIONS OF STEERING COMMITTEE RELATED TO PARKING GARAGE

Statement from Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officer, University of Virginia.

"The University is committed to paying for all traffic and safety improvements directly related to the construction of the Ivy Road/Emmet Street garage that have been recommended by the traffic study steering committee. We intend to go beyond the minimum required. To that end, we also are providing funding for the synchronization of 11 traffic lights and the improvement of the turn radius on the eastern corner of Copeley Road. We will continue to work with the City to find ways to make other changes that will improve traffic conditions in our community.

"We are grateful to the traffic study steering committee and Kimley-Horn for their excellent work and the recommendations that they have presented. This has been an extraordinary example of how representatives of the City of Charlottesville, the neighborhood, the business community and the University can work together to improve the quality of life we all enjoy. This community is the University's home and the home of our faculty, students and staff -- it is critically important that we and our neighbors work together to address our common challenges."

Contact: Carol Wood, (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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