UVa Rejects Garage Arbitration

The University of Virginia has rejected the city’s request for non-binding arbitration over the planned Ivy Road parking garage. The city believes that UVa has violated the Three Party Agreement in their handling of the garage. In the response letter by John Casteen, he dismisses the concerns, neatly summarizing UVa’s perspective in saying that “the Code [of Virginia] does not provide for localities to pass judgment on state agency projects.” In related news, an attorney for the area residents opposed to the project is claiming that UVa does not own a 32’x32′ portion of the planned garage site, as per an 1895 deed. Eric Swensen has stories on each subject in today’s Progress.

8 Responses to “UVa Rejects Garage Arbitration”

  • This is a two-fer.

    First of all, in reading the article in the Daily Progress, it sounds to me like Casteen said that the city knew all along that there was a garage (and I’m not getting into the size, shape, or anything else — just the fact that a garage was going to be built) long ago. From what I can remember, the Lewis Mountain people (LMP for short) got wind of the garage as late as April. So, my question is this: did the city screw up in not saying anything to the LMP until April or, more importantly, how exactly did the LMP find out about the garage?

    My other part of my two-fer is this: since Cvillenews.com was down, the LMP have been reported as requesting that any students in the garage be prohibited from leaving the garage during rush hour. What’s your opinion on that? I’m an employee so what will be criteria to determine if I’m a student or an employee? Will P/T employees be allowed out or will they have to wait patiently until the rush hour curfew is lifted? And, what about the TAs who work for the University? Will they be prohibited or allowed to leave during rush hour?

    Quite frankly, the LMP strike me as bunch of NIMBYs. Ivy Road is already a commercial strip and is not a residential area, no matter how many exulted pillars of the community live nearby. Also, on some of these side streets off Lewis Mountain Road, there are a LOT of students renting very nice houses. And, there are a lot of trusts, corporations, and limited partnerships who own houses in this area (not to mention several churches, fellowships, and UVa). It’s not like it’s Mom and Dad’s house under seige — this garage is not in their backyard — it’s off Ivy Road aka Route 250.

    PS Welcome back Waldo!

  • No one in the Lewis Mountain neighborhood thinks that the garage site should remain undeveloped. The only question is what should be there. Until April 2002, the University’s master plan had a residential college there, which the neighborhood fervently hoped would be built. People would also be pleased with academic or administrative buildings. Throughout this process, the neighborhood has done its best to stress that this is a community issue. The University can and must grow, but if students continue to drive everywhere, the area will soon reach total gridlock. Why not build dorms and classrooms near the Rotunda, so that students need to drive less? The garage is a hot issue because Charlottesville is at a crossroads: will it follow the Northern Virginia growth pattern of massive traffic jams and hostility to pedestrians, or will it do something more attractive and sensible?

  • UVA has still not explained why it is using this site for a garage instead of for student housing or academic buildings. This is a great undeveloped space, and UVA is giving up the chance to reduce student dependence on automobiles, and build a real academical village. I don’t think they have thought this through.

  • I just don’t get it. Why MUST the University grow?

  • Here are some graphics — new to me, at least — showing the garage project.

  • What about the employees who currently park at U-Hall? The suggestions that I’ve seen from opponents of the garage (and by looking at the web site) include:

    –Move everyone out to Fontaine (i.e., let’s pave over some more ground and let the traffic go through another neighborhood).

    –Restrict departures from the garages (how are you going to do that?)

    –Restrict departures because as Bitsy Waters said in her op-ed piece, “Employees will come and go from the garage and tie up traffic in our neighborhood”

    –Ride a bike to and from work (from a letter to the website from an opponent). Nice if you are able to do this; it’s bad enough to have orthopedic problems and ride U-Hall buses.

  • Well, thanks for answering my questions…NOT!

    I wrote: When did the LMP first hear about it? Did the city drop the ball in even telling the neighborhood association about this?

    No answers from you on this score.

    Some opponents believe that the parking garage should restrict departures during rush hour onto Ivy Road. What is YOUR opinion on this? It seems rather hard to control.

    Ivy Road vs. Lewis Mountain Road. Since when is Route 250 a private neighborhood road? (Keep in mind that Route 250 is not a private lane; it is a public road.) How many students (since you are obsessed with STUDENTS, never mind that there are EMPLOYEES displaced who will need parking) DRIVE THROUGH YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD? And aside from rush hour, how much traffic is there really?

    I park over at U-Hall. I’m an employee. I have NEVER EVER driven down Rothery Lane or any of the side streets on Lewis Mountain Road. I will admit to driving down Lewis Mountain Road (the scene of some extensive traffic calming equipment already) to go to the gym — but it’s usually around 8pm. I’ve worked as late as 6:30 pm; there’s no traffic there at U-Hall-Ivy Road intersection. It’s usually not bad by 5:30. Try living in other parts of the city that DOESN’T HAVE the city holding the neighborhood association’s hand. Try living off Park Street, try living off High Street or any other area around 5:30–by 6 o’clock it’s over. Why are YOU special?

    Nope, you won’t answer my questions because you’re so affronted by the idea of students driving near you. Well, then, why did you live near the University? Why not complain about the University Forum that’s on Ivy Road? Why not complain about your fellow neighbors who rent houses to students? Jeez. You’re special all right.

  • Please calm down. We are all on the same side, and want good land use choices. There is no need for you to demonize a neighborhood of very nice, friendly people. If you want specific answers to your questions, I’m happy to provide them. Here goes:

    1. When did the neighborhood learn about the proposed garage, and did the City “drop the ball”? My understanding is that the former head of the Lewis Mountain neighborhood association received an email in December 2001 from the University’s director of community relations, stating that the University wanted to set up a meeting with the neighborhood. After some missed communications, the meeting occurred in early March, which is the first I (and every one of my neighbors I know of) learned of the site and size of the garage. I do not know what the city knew or when they knew it, but it is important to note that until April 2002 the garage site was owned by the University’s Real Estate Foundation, which is subject to zoning laws. As a result, the City would reasonably have thought that the garage construction was several years off, due to the time it takes to go through the city approval process. If that was indeed the case, then the City would have had no cause to think that it was urgent to inform the LMN about the garage.

    2. What about restricting the number of cars that leave the garage? If you read the University’s traffic analysis prepared by Glatting Jackson, you will note that UVA assumes that only 175 cars will leave the garage between 5 and 6. Some of my neighbors have asked the University why they are confident that only 15% of the cars will depart during that hour, and have yet to receive a good answer. A few residents of LMN (I am not among them) have suggested that UVA take steps to limit the number of departing cars. I am of the view that such restricitons would be hard to enforce, and are not a good idea.

    3. Far from being affronted by students and employees, I like both groups enormously. I’m certainly not suggesting Route 250 should not be a public road. But I believe in sensible land use decisions, and a 600 foot long, 1240 car concrete blob would be, in my view, an unfortunate mistake. Nothing the University has said over the past three months justifies this decision. On the contrary, the fact that the University’s own consultants state that the garage “works” only if 175 cars or fewer depart during afternoon rush hour indicates that, if built, the garage will cause major problems for the community.

    4. Over 1300 residents of the area, as well as the City of Charlottesville, have asked the University to review its decision. I see no downside to UVA to rethinking the garage. Their refusal to do so, even in the face of strong, reasoned community opposition, is puzzling. The only conclusion I can draw is that the Board of Visitors has decided the garage must be build ASAP so that the Arena construction can begin, and are forcing UVA employees to implement a course of action that everyone knows will lead to significant harm.

Comments are currently closed.