City Council adopts “complete streets” policy

article from The Cavalier Daily



Plan passes 4-1; aims to improve quality, utility of Charlottesville streets

 Charlottesville City Council adopted a “complete streets” resolution earlier this month to ensure future roads will accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and tree-lined roadways.

“[The new policy will] ensure that transportation infrastructure investments support the making of an attractive, healthy, and safe, walkable and bike-able Charlottesville,” according to Council’s agenda.

The street design policy was initially proposed by councilmember Kathy Galvin in September.

“Context Sensitive Streets simply means that the design, engineering and building of our streets should fit the context they’re in and accommodate the transportation modes that make sense in that context,” Galvin said.

Neighborhood Development Services Director Jim Tolbert said the increase in the number of pedestrians and cyclists make this plan necessary for the community.

“Over time the plan should lead to a system of streets that provide for all users,” Tolbert said.

Council approved the use of $50,000 from the Capital Improvement Program Contingency Account to pay outside consultants who will aid city staff with the project. Groups of staff members will work with advisers from the PLACE Design Task Force, Planning Commission, Tree Commission and the Bike/Pedestrian Committee.

Council proposed a similar policy in November 2010, however the policy was not successful.

Council’s vote was 4-1 in favor of the project. Council member Bob Fenwick, who began his term as councilor this January, voted against the project, and said there was no need to spend on outside consultants.

Tolbert said outside experts are needed to supplement current city staff members and offer specialized expertise.

The street design resolution falls under Charlottesville’s 2013 Comprehensive Plan. This extensive proposal includes plans to create streets better equipped for storm water management, cultivate Charlottesville’s “tree canopy,” create transit infrastructure that promotes a safe environment for pedestrians and cyclists, and continue to develop the Charlottesville business community.

The Context Sensitive Street Design is one of the policies included in a city-wide slated to begin in July and be completed by March 2015.