Planning Commission: No More Paving

A Road Less Traveled

A southern Albemarle road. By David Gellner. (CC)

The Albemarle Planning Commission has recommended that the county stop paving rural roads, Jeremy Borden writes in today’s Progress. The planning commission is trying to support the county policy of building in the urban ring, and just can’t see spending the money on paving back roads. The Board of Supervisors will be discussing their priorities over the next month, and one of the things they’ll have to consider is whether they want to move towards paving the county’s two hundred miles of dirt and gravel roads.

Borden interviews Allison Mitchell, who lives on Gilbert Station Road (just off 20N, in Stony Point), who complains that her road should be paved, and it’s just not safe. Thing is, Mitchell isn’t from Stony Point. So she moved to Gilbert Station knowing full well that it’s not paved, and she ought to know by now that most people who live on Gilbert Station don’t want it paved. I live on an unpaved road near Gilbert Station, and I’d actively oppose any efforts to pave my street. People move out to the country and then complain that they have no urban amenities. Suck it up or go away.

01/10 Update: Lonnie provided some enormously useful information on this topic on his blog last month.

10 thoughts on “Planning Commission: No More Paving”

  1. There’s a beautiful old road in Free Union. If they pave it, they’ll have to remove all the trees on either side because it’s so old it has sunk way below its banks. One bigass neighbor has a paved driveway, but most of the other people want it to stay gravel.

  2. I totally agree!!!Gravel is fine! Plus has anyone really looked at what they are talking about wanting paved??? It is wetlands and a railroad bridge!!! Talk about totally ruining the environment! The folks said they would pave Gilbert Station, and they did rural route paving. Leave the rural routes as they should be–country roads. If you want city living, move to town! The roads were gravel when you moved here.

  3. I’ll be writing up something on the Board of Supervisor’s discussion later on today, but a quick preview of the timeline for this decision. There will be another Board work session on this matter in February, which is actually tied to a discussion of the County’s Six Year Plan for Secondary Road funding from VDOT. Then there will be a public hearing in March, most likely on March 12.

  4. I know someone who lives in the Ashleigh subdivision which is just off Gilbert Station, and she said that a Real Estate agent told them that their property values jumped tremendously just after the portion of GS Road that was recently paved was finished. I think that for those who want the paving to continue, it’s probably more about dollars than about safety.

  5. Thanks Jim for noticing my post! I’ve also communicated with the BOS on this matter especially as it would affect the Charlottesville Track Club. Two of the roads proposed to be paved are some of the most highly used by runners and cyclists in the county. For example, Dick Woods is used frequently by the Western Albemarle cross country team as a safe place to train. There are THOUSANDS of runners in the Charlottesville area that contribute huge amounts of money to the local economy and local charities. My proposal is that if roads that are highly used by runners be paved that the county needs to commit to create mile for mile of safe trails, or abondon the idea of paving.


  6. Lonnie,

    You’re onto something. Runners World recently named the Charlottesville Marathon one of the top ten best new marathons in the U.S. Destination runners will be coming here to compete in the marathon and they’ll be spending money in hotels and restaurants, while they’re here. What’s so great about Charlottesville’s marathon? Ridge Road. A challenging, scenic part of the route, where a large number of runners can pass without significant concern about traffic. And, it’s unpaved. Take that away and we’re just like every other marathon around the country.

    I put in lots of training miles on the unpaved roads around my Free Union home. Ballards Mill. Wesley Chapel. Fox Mountain. Chapel Springs. I feel safe (except for the odd scary dog) on these roads.

    Keep rural Albemarle unpaved.

  7. I live in rural Albemarle on Decca Lane. I want to keep rural Albemarle unpaved (especially my little slice of unpaved heaven).

    I have contacted my supervisor and emailed the rest at to ask that our gravel roads remain unpaved.

    Thanks to Waldo and Lonnie for bringing this issue up.

  8. Won’t paving cause more storm water run-off problems that the federal government is increasingly asking localities to ameliorate? If so, why create another reason to raise taxes?

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