About 30 community members gathered Thursday night at Cale Elementary School to give input on the future of the Avon Street Extended corridor in Albemarle County.
The 5th & Avon Community Advisory Committee has been meeting with consulting company Line + Grade to work on a study of the Avon Street Extended corridor from the Charlottesville city limits to Route 20.
“We wanted to look at the entire corridor and figure out what ... individual improvements could build up to develop the entire corridor in a way that was more in line with what the community wanted,” said Kevin McDermott, a county transportation planner.
Daniel Hyer, with Line + Grade, said the study is focused on safety, functionality, opportunities for connectivity and aesthetics and character.
“On a corridor where there’s so much change over 2.5 miles, we’re trying to find the common threads to keep it cohesive and yet meet the needs as it changes among its user groups,” he said.
The proposed potential changes include more sidewalks, pedestrian crossings and bike lanes or bike paths throughout the corridor.
One of the larger proposed projects is a roundabout at the intersection of Avon Street Extended and Mill Creek Drive.
Many residents expressed concerns about removing the traffic signal, which they said creates gaps in traffic to allow residents to get onto Avon.
“I’m in Mill Creek South and to try and pull out is going to be really tough, there won’t be that break in traffic,” said a resident who declined to give her name. “Everybody comes up Avon Street and gets across at 5th Street Station, so this section of the road is used so much.”
The roundabout also could assist those trying to make a left turn from the Southern Parkway onto Avon Street Extended, Hyer said. Instead of turning left, they would turn right and go around the roundabout.
Another substantial proposed project is a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 64, which was favored by many at the open house, according to vote that was taken at the event.
The corridor study was funded as part of the Neighborhood Improvement Funding Initiative, where each of Albemarle’s community advisory committees decided on small-scale projects to be funded through $1.4 million from the county’s fiscal year 2016 budget surplus. The Board of Supervisors ultimately approved the projects in 2017.
McDermott said the study cost about $70,000, adding that the county has a little bit of money for implementation of projects.
“We’re going to be able to do something to start with, but the rest is probably going to span out over a long period of time,” he said. “We do have a little bit of money to get started, but we’re going to need some assistance and probably some grants.”
“We’ve been looking at this through the mind of we’re not going to build it all at once, but we want to have a plan in place so, as you get little chunks of money, the pieces come together and actually over time create the master plan,” Hyer said.
Additional feedback will be accepted through a comment page that will be added to the county’s website in the near future.