CAMBC Membership Update – November 2019

Project Updates

Pump Track

CAMBC is prepared to offer the City to fund the design, materials, and construction of a small pump track in the city to promote biking and provide a place for kids and adults to work on bike skills and help with the maintenance of it in partnership with the City’s Parks and Rec team.  We intended this to be our major 2019 effort, and we had planned to do fundraising for the track, and solicit membership support for the build and maintenance of it.

City Parks and Rec leadership did not respond to our communications.  The board decided to wait for things to settle down politically in the city before starting again to propose this offer.  Now that there is a new City Manager, and soon to be a mostly new City Council, we plan to begin our process again, hoping to make some traction in 2020.  It will involve a presentation to City Council at a public hearing, meetings with the new Parks and Rec leadership, petitions and other advocacy if needed.

This is an important initiative for us, and we’d love your help when things get going.  Our town needs a pump track that is accessible to everyone.

Advocacy

There are a variety of ongoing trail access and funding initiatives in play right now.  CAMBC is monitoring them all and will provide updates and calls to action as needed.  MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD.  If you like the way things are going with trails in our community, and feel it can be better, don’t complain, DO SOMETHING.  We provide several suggestions below.  :-).

Ragged Mountain

Good news and bad news.  We’ll start with the bad.  Our understanding is the mediation effort between the City and County failed, and it is now back in line for a court hearing.  We’re not aware of any dates, and don’t expect much.  This means no clear understanding of what is and isn’t allowed on the trails, no movement to build the hiker-only trails and no movement to complete the Council approved trail plan that was a result of multiple well attended public hearings.

The good news?  The City did acquire 140 acres of land adjacent to Ragged Mountain, which they will call a forest preserve, with hopes to put in several miles of shared-use trails.  We have already partnered with them to flag and build the first trail in the system, which connects the lower parking lot at Ragged to the Dam, bypassing the steep climb out of the lot.  Trails in this area are not in the scope of the pending litigation between the City and County, so we expect to see some good progress on a trail plan and building.  This is a lovely bit of land, within riding distance of the city, that will expand the already amazing network of local singletrack trails in our area.

Also, Chris Gensic authorized Dave Stackhouse to flag the proposed shared-use trail (as approved by City Ordinance that allows biking) that will form a sustainable re-route from the east end of the floating bridge over to the dam, eliminating the current extremely steep climb and offering a sustainable grade option that avoids the muddy switchbacks.  CAMBC presently has no calendar in mind for building this new trail but getting it flagged and approved by Chris is the first step.

Our position:

  • Biking should be allowed at Ragged Mountain.  It does not pose any threat to the water supply (as stated by RWSA).  
  • We support the City plan to have both shared use and hiking-only trails at Ragged.  

If there are any updates or action needed, we will let you know. 

In the meantime, biking is not not allowed at Ragged Mountain.  County code says only hiking, picnicking and birdwatching are allowed.  Interpret that as you like.  

Biscuit Run

With the approval of the FY20-24 Capital Plan for the County, $2.2 million originally allocated for Hedgerow was re-allocated to Biscuit to accelerate its opening initially as a trail park.  This is good news.  Most of these funds will go to the public parking area at the Rt. 20 and Avon Extended junction, which is needed as there are currently no formal public access points to the Park.  

The County is working with the Foxcroft and Mill Creek HOA’s to get permission to use the existing connector to connect 5th St. Station to Biscuit.  People in the Foxcroft and Mill Creek HOA’s are resisting and we’re not sure why. In the meantime, it is “not officially legal” to use that existing trail to access Biscuit Run (from the 5th st area). 

We will continue to work with the county to be included in the Park trails planning.  

Our position:

  • Allocate funding needed for a Soft Opening (which requires a minimal public access location, and allows the use of existing trails).  We want it opened now.  We don’t want to wait for years until a huge parking lot is built.
  • Allow parking on Hickory street.  Put in a trail that crosses biscuit run on temporary stepping stones that connects to the existing trail system.
  • Open the park as a “trail park” like Preddy, then incrementally add in the other features per the Master Plan as funding becomes available.
  • Have the County work with us in trail planning, building, and maintenance.

Action Items

  1. Write the bos@albemarle.org and state your support of opening the park officially, and to begin building the new trails per the trail plan, and to begin clearing away the invasives at the center of the park to open up the back half trails
  2. Even better, show up at a County Supervisor public meeting, sign up for a public speaking slot, and say what you’ve written. 
  3. If you live in Mill Creek or Foxcroft, or know anyone who does, please get active with the HOA’s to pressure them to allow the county to get an easement to use the path by the river to allow access from 5th St/Wegmans.

Hedgerow

Hedgerow had funding in the 2020 County budget proposal, which was re-allocated to Biscuit.  The County is in the process of doing an environmental assessment of the property.

Our position:

  • Allocate funding only for a “soft opening” to provide basic public access and an initial trail loop.  
  • Have the County work with us in trail planning, building, and maintenance.

Action Items

1) Write the bos@albemarle.org and state your support for a soft opening of the area, and to encourage the county to come up with a trail plan. CAMBC is willing to partner with the County to get these trails open, and maintain them.

Rivanna Trail

CAMBC continues working closely with the RTF, and we’ve contributed significantly recently to trail work and re-routes.  Some recent news:

  • With the Woolen Mills development comes a promised pedestrian bridge across Moores Creek at Woolen Mills.  The bridge plan has been approved, and as we understand it, in the last stages of state approvals before it starts getting built.  The developers did ask the county for a time extension of 6 months.  We expect to have some trail days there helping open the trail in preparation for the bridge opening.
  • The bridge across Meadow Creek just below Locust Ave. is in place to connect to future trails to Penn Park, but apparently needs more work on the footings to strengthen them against future flooding and erosion. 
  • CAMBC members participated in multiple trail days and brushing activities to keep the RT trails open this summer.  As far as we are concerned, the RT is in the best shape it ever has been.  Thanks for your support and participation.
  • Consider becoming a member of the RTF if you use the https://www.rivannatrails.org

Funding for Bike/Ped in local government budgets

City

The CIP (capital improvement projects) budget proposed by Dr. Richardson (new City Manager) ELIMINATES ALL FUNDING for bicycle infrastructure, while it REDUCES funding for city sidewalks from $500K to $200K, a reduction of 60%!.  See the Daily Progress article.

  1. See Peter Kreb’s letter the council that states why we should be INCREASING bike/ped funding.
  2. Write or even better, speak publically to Council stating your support for bike/ped.
  3. Other items we feel are worth advocating for:
    1. We want a tunnel under Railway connecting the Meadow Creek Trails to the John Warner Parkway trails.  
    2. More Bike lanes.  More greenways.  More separated bike lanes.  Safer streets for biking.

County

The County’s 2020 capital budget did include ~$6 million for parks/bike/ped in the 2020-24 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).  Most of this goes to sidewalks in various spots, and to complete the northway bike lane route (Berkmar to Rio) to connect the Berkmar Parkway greenway to the Warner Parkway greenway.  There was also ~$4million for Biscuit Run, most of which will go to the parking lot build on Rt.20

  1. See above for Biscuit Run and Hedgerow action items, which are future trail parks for singletrack.
  2. Other items we feel are worth asking or advocating for:
    1. Best use of spending for Greenways. Why go through the expense of building a bike path along Rio?  Why not explore alternate routes that won’t involve so many property acquisitions, right of ways and utility/driveway/road crossings?
    2. Bike lanes!  More separated bike lanes on all the entrance corridors to the City.  More bike lanes in the Urban Ring that surrounds the City.  More bike shoulders on key connecting roads used by bikers (53, Old Lynchburg, 250, Garth, Woodlands, etc.)
    3. We want a tunnel under Railway connecting the Meadow Creek Trails to the John Warner Parkway trails.  
    4. Withdraw the Ragged Mountain court issue (see below). Adjust the county codes to accommodate the usage proposed by the City.  The county adjusted the Chris Green Lake codes in weeks.  They can do it for Ragged.  Biking and running pose NO threat to the water supply.
    5. Don’t fund gravel road paving.  Gravel roads are safer for bikers.  Here is the county list of paving programs.
    6. Don’t treat the greenspace surrounding the Albemarle High School complex as future building sites.  Formalize it as green space and a trail system.

Trailwork

Trailwork is an important part of what we do as a club and helps establish our reputation as trail advocates and trail stewards.  CAMBC is now considered a resource for trail design expertise by the local land managers.  We have established a monthly trail work schedule, on the third weekend of every month.  

We’ve had several recent trail workdays. Thank you to all of you who have participated.

  • June – We rerouted the Wegmans connector down to the Biscuit connector.  Thanks, Sam Lindblom for leading, and getting the CATS runners to participate.
  • July – Preddy Creek trail maintenance. Thanks, Bob Newman and the Tevendales!
  • August – Walnut new section preparation.  Thanks, Jenny Whedbee, Eric Magrum and Dave Stackhouse
  • September – Walnut new section finishing.  Thanks, Dave Stackhouse
  • October – Preddy creek advanced loop maintenance.  Thanks, Bob Newman.

Trail worker volunteer of the summer?  BOB NEWMAN!  He lead numerous workdays at Preddy Creek, fixing all the drainage issues on the advanced loop off the Preddy Loop.  Plus he also showed up for all the trail work days at Walnut Creek.  Bob Newman rocks!

Next workdays

  • November 23 – David Stackhouse – Ragged Connector trail finish work

Trail Champions

We are looking to find people who are willing to be the formal “trail monitors” for our area trail systems.  Our hope is that these monitors can act as liaisons between CAMBC and the trail system land managers, as well as keeping an eye on the trails, reporting issues, recommending work and leading workdays.

  • Jenny Whedbee is our Champion for Walnut Creek
  • Bob Newman is our Champion for Preddy Creek

Your Dues at Work

List of accomplishments this year.  We’ve been so busy we’ve probably missed some!

  1. New Reactor Trail on Ohill
  2. New “mtb easy trail” on dam loop at Walnut.
  3. Repair drainage issues at Preddy Creek.
  4. Designed/flagged new parking lot connector trail at Ragged Hedgerow property.
  5. New connector trail at AHS (John).
  6. New trails at MHS and PVCC (Sam).
  7. New playground singletrack at Greenbrier Elementary.
  8. New entry trail at Wegmans for Biscuit Run.
  9. Sponsoring of 5 local scholastic mtb teams.
  10. Expansion of mtb clinics and adventure rides through Parks and Recreation (64 kids total).
  11. Purchase of 60 new rogue hoes. (Lending of these to City was key in recent trailwork at Ragged Hedgerow.
  12. Participation in multiple RTF workdays.
  13. Funded and built a Kiosk at the parking lot at Blue Ridge School
  14. Ran Aid Station 2/6 at the SM100 race
  15. Monthly meetings with local government land managers
  16. Representation at local Bike/Ped meetings, advocacy groups and workshops.

Upcoming Events

Socials

We are starting with having monthly socials, starting with the third Thursdays of every month at Peloton Station.

  • November 21.  Several board members will be there to answer questions, get feedback, and talk about advocacy opportunities.  Come join us!

Rides

Mitch Sims and Bobby Casteen are organizing Wednesday night rides.  You’ve seen the emails in the list.  

Micky Hall occasionally leads rides on Monday nights at Forest Lakes.

Morgan Cruthirds led a bunch of Thursday Night rides from Belmont.  These are on pause for the winter.

Events

Pantani –  February sometime.  It will be cold.

BRS MTB Fest  – March 28-29

SERS Rides

Matt McClelland graciously volunteered to organize this year’s SERS rides.  There were some really great, well-attended rides.  A huge success.  Thank you, Matt and all the ride leaders for helping showcase some of the region’s great trails.

Stokesville

CAMBC supported the SM100 Aid Station 2/6 for this year’s 20th SM100 race.  THANK YOU to all the volunteers who participated.  So much fun to watch all the racers, and the crazy fans.

We are looking to lock in a weekend in June to have a CAMBC weekend at the Stokesville Campground, with organized rides etc.  More as we get details.  

ABOUT CAMBC

Mission

A reminder of our Club’s mission: Our goal is to promote sustainable multi-use public trail systems within Charlottesville and surrounding counties. We emphasize responsible trail use and bicycle safety. We strive to foster positive relationships with other trail users, clubs and municipal and federal land managers. We also ride bikes!

Who We Are

CAMBC is a community of mountain bikers and trail advocates.  We are an affiliate of IMBA, who help manage our membership.  The club currently comprises of 179 paid members.  Our main club mailing list has almost 400 subscribers.  We have a shed with a variety of trail building tools that we use for our trail building and maintenance efforts.

Leadership

Shannon Tevendale has stepped down from the board due to an ever increasingly busy life.  Thank you, Shannon, for all your idea, energy and time!

Annette Dusenberry will be stepping up to take Shannon’s place.  Many of you know Annette and her passion for riding, leading and encouraging others to ride, and taking pictures of riders.  Welcome aboard Annette!

Our board of directors currently comprises the following biking and trail advocates:

  • John Lewis – President
  • David Stackhouse – Treasurer
  • Sam Lindblom – Vice President
  • Annette Dusenberry – Secretary
  • Shawn Tevendale
  • Bobby Casteen
  • Eric Magrum
  • Jip Palakawongs
  • Will Sanford

We meet every other month to vote on club decisions and provide updates on ongoing projects. 

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