Traffic Light at Peter Jefferson Place

Man@Work writes: I have been commuting to C’ville for 5 years coming in from Interstate 64 West. Coming off the ramp onto 250 up to Pantops has never been enjoyable during rush hour. Now however, with the new traffic light at Peter Jefferson Place area the traffic is a complete nightmare. This morning I sat for ~20 minutes waiting to get off the exit ramp onto 250. Once on 250 and past the lights at Peter Jefferson’s traffic light the traffic evaporated. I cannot be the only commuter that has witnessed this, nor the only one put out by traffic tie up as a result of this new light. How does one open a dialogue with the county about this traffic nuisance?

When I drive back into town from Blacksburg, that’s how I usually get off of 64, and I have been similarly baffled by the placement of this light.

33 thoughts on “Traffic Light at Peter Jefferson Place”

  1. Sorry, this is just a great example between the epic war between the County and the City. They have NO open communication between each other. I think this is the county’s answer to the new light in front of Best Buy. (not serious)

    I am serious that having these two DIFFERENT governments stepping on each others shoes is going to hurt us in the long run. One wants the other to do something. The other says NO we are doing what we want to do. Then the other says OKAY we will do this so TAKE THAT!

  2. The reason why I think having 2 different forms of governments are so dated is the fact that there isn’t a real border between the two. Maybe 20 years ago, you can tell where the city ends and the county starts but that line has disappeared. Where exactly on 29 does Cville ends while Albemarle starts? I think it is near the Holiday Inn but who knows? I think we have has a WHOLE area must sit down and really rethink this whole business.

  3. You make an interesting point that I’m not going to address. But just FYI, the city line is at Hydraulic Road, where the "Charlottesville" sign is. Three corners of that intersection are in the city, and one, where the Blockbuster Video is, is in the county.

  4. The light has been up for months, and today was the first day that it caused any significant traffic back-up. The reason? I’m not completely sure, but I’ll bet this morning’s thick-as-pea-soup fog had something to do with it.

    For those of us working at PJP, the light is a blessing, as it’s now possible to make a left turn onto 250 without fear of losing life and limb in a harrowing gauntlet run.

    Also, note that the light was installed because Martha Jefferson Hospital’s outpatient facility is open now at PJP. Without the light you’ve got a high volume of sick people making dangerous left turns across four lanes of too-fast traffic.

    Take your pick. One day in a hundred with a delay, or a lot more wrecks.

  5. …how about keeping office complexes and hospitals in the city/downtown area where they belong. How much traffic would there be on pantops then…

  6. how about adding PARKING SPACES, a "EASIER" way to get in and out of downtown, and an AFFORDABLE incentive tomove your business DOWNTOWN!

    If i ever owned a business, I would keep it AWAY from downtown.

  7. Enough of the whining about parking downtown….There are PLENTY of parking spaces downtown. I have rarely ever had a problem finding a space in the three large parking lots/decks….so maybe you have to walk a few blocks to get to the business you’re going to, but that’s no different (if anything, more pleasant..) from having to walk through a sea of cars in the vast parking lots of the county’s big box stores. Having recently investigated finding office space downtown, it’s every bit as affordable as county properties, and an infinately more appealing place to work than a sterile, characterless, office complex…..

  8. I agree that PJP needs a light. I am not sure that it has been synchronized with the other lights or the level of traffic that must come through that area in the morning/evening.

    Point of fact: this light caused huge backups the week it went online. Since then it has caused at least three other major backups along the 64/250 corridor.

    The greater fear for me is the danger to me and others who are backed up on the shoulder of 64. Cars are cutting in and out of the off ramp to get back on 64 when they think they have waited long enough and find another route. Cars expecting to exit 64 onto the off ramp must use excessive braking and sometimes dangerous maneuvers to keep from hitting others already trapped out on 64 trying to get on the off ramp. This can not continue.

    The volume of traffic that passes through this area should not face undue delays due to this single traffic light.

    VDOT or whoever needs to track the traffic at this light and make adjustments to it’s timing or duration in order to allow for the smooth flow of traffic in and out of the city.

    Finally, just because PJP needs a light doesn’t mean that the rest of C’ville need pay the price in tardiness/late arrivals to work due to the backups it causes. Yes, allowing more time may help but in my initial post you will notice that I spent ~20 mins. on the off-ramp of 64. So, allowing more time does not always work.

  9. i went to best buy last week, and don’t recall having to pay for parking.

    big boxes > downtown stores

  10. everytime I go downtown during the day I see more signs like the following:


    -towing enforce-

    I remember working downtown for one summer. I recall my co workers having cars towed or they would have to pay for parking. And they still got towed! Heck, we had a better then normal turnover of people quitting because they couldn’t afford the honor of working downtown. It was like their paychecks were going to the towing companies and parking tickets. And don’t give me this garage about them taking the bus. If I recall, most of my ex coworkers lived in the county or *gasp* in other counties. And I don’t think they WANTED to live in the cities to be closer to their job.

  11. I’ll concede that the timing may be off on the light. I personally don’t know because I never come at the intersection from the west. I do however routinely curse at other lights around town (and the county) because they’re not completely prescient and/or AI-complete.

    But I’ll repeat my theory that yesterday’s delay had much more to do with the unusually heavy fog than with anything else. My wife spent ~5 minutes trying to exit I-64 onto 29 (at 118B), a move that normally is instantaneous. And my boss saw absolutely no delays coming to PJP from the west this morning (sans fog).

    Traffic is funny. Perhaps even mathematically chaotic. I don’t pretend to understand it, and I can only hope that VDOT’s finest have a decent handle on it and are quick to reconfigure lights and traffic patterns when they’re performing sub-optimally.

  12. "The cost of being a mall vendor may increase next month

    Charlottesville appears ready to update its regulations for the mall vendors, AND increase their costs of doing business. Some downtown merchants have complained about weekend vendors who make the mall resemble a flea circus. Besides having new standards for their appearance, the City wants to charge mall vendors a 400 dollar fee every year. That will help pay for enforcement. The City Council will take a final vote on the matter December first"

    hummm, that looks like they WANT people to move downtown.

  13. Is getting a parking stub validated at CVS or a bank or a movie theatre or a store that hard….I don’t recall having to pay for parking downtown either.

  14. Flea MARKET not flea circus. The flea circus is with the latest contingent of transient vagrants that have been hanging out on the mall.

  15. well when I shop at Circuit City, Fashion Square, and Wal Mart I don’t have to seek out getting my ticket stamped at CVS. That is a pain in the arse.

  16. i will and I will take my CAR and I will DRIVE down there and not take the bus or ride my bike or walk.

  17. You don’t have to pay to park at big box stores because it comes out of your wallet in the form of taxes. The cost of maintaining the roads and car-culture in order for you to shop at Best Buy with unfettered parking comes out of the county’s coffers. If you can fool yourself into thinking that it’s somehow easier for you to pay for parking in the form of taxes than getting a ticket stamped, then I’m not one to trample on your delusion, I suppose.

  18. so, am i going to get a tax refund if i give the city treasurer a handful of validated parking stubs? yeah, i didn’t think so. your arguement makes no sense. you pay taxes regardless of where you park. if you pay to park downtown, you’re giving your money to private companies, not the city (unless you’re using metered parking). and you’re still paying taxes. so it’s a double whammy.

  19. you are paying taxes EVERYWHERE. Taking out the garage from eating out from buying food. Who cares?

  20. oops :P, i just mad when we have this ‘realists’ people whose again for the traffic is to shift ALL major business to the Downtown which IMHO is the WORST place in this area to put them out. Why do you think NGIC haul a$$ for the county? Why do you think new small businesses that arn’t ‘trendy’ avoid the Downtown like the it was a cancer?

  21. maybe you’ve got the $$$ to drop on the overpriced crap they sell at specialty shops like the ones downtown. but my last name isn’t kluge or rockefeller, so i’ll take my pinched pennies to the fashion square mall over the downtown mall any day of the week.

  22. I never once in my 17 years of living in Charlottesville paid for parking downtown. The vast majority of the time I’ve managed to not park in one of the pay lots/garages, but on the rare occasion when I did, I easily averted any cost through the totally painless act of getting my ticket validated. Sure it’s not as brain-dead easy as parking out on 29, but it’s totally pointless to compare the two because in the city, not many businesses want to, leave alone can build huge, sprawling, ugly parking lots for every store.

  23. In all of my 7 years of driving, i can tell you that I have 3 parking tickets and also had my car towed. Lucky for me, I was leaving. So wow the downtown is great.

  24. Perhaps I was not clear when explaining the difference.

    Think of it as two different paradigms of transportation funding. Allow me to invent numbers, understanding that they’re borne out conceptually in development models.

    Charlottesville has a car transportation structure that costs $50/year/resident to maintain. This is because Charlottesville is designed in a manner that permits people to travel on foot and bicycle, and has residential and commercial districts located close to each other (or sometimes they are one and the same) such that it is not a burden to walk. On the contrary, it would be silly to drive. The downside of this is that parking is not as obviously simple as it is in the suburbs; it requires entering a garage, which some people find to be challenging, for whatever reason.

    Then there’s Albemarle. Their car transportation structure costs $75/year/person to maintain. This is because the entire planning structure keeps uses located in pods. There’s a few residential pods and a series of commercial pods along a strip. Even when the two interface, they are separated by a barrier (such as a six-lane divided highway) that it would actually be dangerous to walk between the two. No matter, a car is required to get most all services, so people are simply in the habit of driving. In order to accomodate this method of transportation, increasingly-wide roads must be constructed, with demand ever increasing to make them wider still. Commercial areas have vast seas of parking. In fact, parking lots are designed to be so huge that they are never, ever full, except for the day after Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas. The $75/year/person cost doesn’t even include some of the other costs that come from this — the pollution from the vehicle emissions, the tremendous cost of vehicle ownership to the residents (a teenager living in the suburbs must have access to a vehicle, whereas a teenager has no such need), the runoff from the huge parking lots, the open spaces lost to asphault, etc., etc.

    There is absolutely no question that the Albemarle model of development is far more expensive than the Charlottesville model, both long- and short-term. This model is perpetuated because of people so short-sighted that they consider it a personal insult to have to pay a couple of bucks for parking on the occasions when they forget to get their ticket stamped, and don’t understand that the cost of living in the Albemarle car culture is what’s really draining their wallets.

  25. The thing that is bad about shopping at a national chain store is that you are sending your money out of Charlottesville. When you spend your money at a local store, you are supporting a friend or a neighbor, who may, in turn, spend their money in town. When money stays in the local economy, it enriches everybody, including yourself, ultimately. When you spend your money at a chain, of course, your money goes straight out of town, never to return.

  26. Local people work in the chains and get paid by them. That money goes all over the place as some of it is spent in local businesses some at national businesses. Both national chains and local stores buy products manufactured all over the world. They both pay local real estate taxes, business license fees and other local government fees. Local people receive income from investments in multi-national companies and then spend some of that in national chains and some in local businesses. Like it or not, we have a global economy.

    I spend money where I get the best deal. It might be at The C-ville Market or at Sam’s Club, our family budget is what matters.

  27. supporting a local mom and pop doesn’t necessarily mean the money is staying in town. what if those shop owners live in fluvanna, or nelson, or augusta, and commute to c’ville? what about the hundreds of city and county residents that big boxes and malls employ, as opposed to the one or two who work at each “locally” owned business? yeah, the national corporations take their cut, but they also give back to the community by providing jobs, filling local coffers with property taxes and rental fees to local developers who build shopping centers and malls. not to mention bringing shoppers in from other counties and outlying areas that don’t have wal-marts, or circuit cities, or best buys.

    you may say that shopping at a big box lines the pockets of corporate bigwigs on madison avenue, but i say shopping at overpriced mom-and-pops lines the pockets of local entrepreneurs just the same. either way, i’m giving someone else my money. but i don’t feel obligated to give it to anyone in particular, neighbor or not. especially if that neighbor is charging me 20 percent more than the guys up the road at the big box.

  28. They both pay local real estate taxes, business license fees and other local government fees. Local people receive income from investments in multi-national companies and then spend some of that in national chains and some in local businesses.

    Indeed, but the profit — the bourgeois money, if I can pretend to be a Marxist :) — goes out of town. It is patently obvious that the town/area/state in which a large business is headquartered enjoys far more of the fruits of that corporation’s success than the towns across the nation that get just a small slice of that pie.

    If you spend $1.00 at Whole Foods, something like $0.90 of that is gone. If you spend $1.00 at Integral Yoga, $0.95 stays in the area.

    Look at the protests against NAFTA — not just by lefty Democrats, but by pro-business Republicans. Expanding areas of economic influence is ultimately bad for the vast majority of localities, as workers and businessowners are gradually discovering with NAFTA.

  29. Whole Foods 365 brand of soy milk is cheaper and tastier than any other in town so I buy it. Integral Yoga has cheaper Italian Herb tofu than anywhere in town so I buy that from them. My budget and my tastes determine where I shop.

    Would you support laws that prohibit national chains from locating in Charlottesville?

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