BoS Approves South C’ville Shopping Center

The Board of Supervisors has OKd a big retail development for 5th Street extended, Jeremy Borden writes in the Progress. (Or, as most of us will think of it, the long-needed road connecting Avon and 5th.) It’s a standard suburban shopping center — a sea of asphalt with a few single-story big boxes — with a LEED fig leaf. We discussed it here when it was first proposed in 2006. Charlottesville Tomorrow had the details.

46 Responses to “BoS Approves South C’ville Shopping Center”


  • Not Your Drama Llama

    While I think the road between 5th and Avon is a good idea, the idea of another shopping center makes me want to throw up, “green” qualities and all.

  • So much for Ann Mallek’s campaign promise of stopping/slowing growth in the county. Her entire campaign was based on stopping uncontrolled growth in the county. Voters need to wise up and elect officials that can keep their campaign promises. I put her in the BS column.

  • I assume none of you live in that part of town.
    Nothing against the other commenters, but living in that part of town, I can attest that it is a pain in the ass having to drive up 29 to go to Lowe’s or having to drive into the city and back down Avon to go grocery shopping (I don’t go to the ghetto Food Lion on Fifth Street, for many reasons).
    There is nothing over here so some development is welcome.

  • To be fair, I think Sally Thomas protrayed the issue correctly. The mistake was made when they zoned the area, they can’t then turn around later and say “but not that”.

    Then again, there are real signs of “green washing” here. For example take the wording of this line from Charlottesville Tomorrow, “If site plan needs to be changed to meet County’s stream ordinances, further rezoning may be needed”. To me, that indicates that instead of altering the site plans for the sake of the streams, they may just adjust the zoning to make the impacts permissible.

    I know I’m sounding like a broken record here, but what ever happened to this hypothetical “neighborhood model” I keep hearing about?. I still haven’t seen a single development yet that really embodies those principles, or the ideals of New Urbanism. This does have elements of that, like the trails, but a big box with a sea of asphalt is still not even close to where we need to be.

    I am excited though that they are doing some green roof (but why not 100% instead of 25%?). I also think much of the devil is in the details. If Craig and Capshaw really put the intention into creating a quality green development then they can do it. Unfortunately, there’s also enough room in this plan to drop in a Walmart, throw a couple sedums on the roof and call it “done”.

  • Jeff,

    Why did you move there then? I’m honestly not trying to be sarcastic, I just really don’t understand. I don’t live close to a large grocery store, but I knew that was the price for where I chose to live. I would never ask someone to build a Walmart in the middle of Batesville for the sake of my shopping needs. Why does everyone else seem to think this is a logical way to plan our communities?

    Lonnie

  • Jeff is right. I am opposed to overdevelopment, and I don’t shop at big box stores, but I welcome this shopping center. I do wish it would be built in an even more eco-conscious way, not just a little nod to “green” building here and there, but I definitely am happy it’s being built. I live just a couple miles from where this will go in, and it will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Currently, I have to drive to Cville Market or Kroger to get groceries (I won’t go to Food Lion any more, it’s just too gross, the profanity used by customers in there is loud and appalling, the food is nasty, the lines are long – there is nothing good about it at all.) I’m looking forward to using less gas to get my groceries. It’ll be a little dicey on Old Lynchburg Road, but I could even ride my bike there if it’s not too big a trip or if I’m willing to load up the bike trailer with groceries. We go to Lowe’s frequently and will be embarking on a lot more DI projects over the next two years. It’ll be great to save all those long trips up to Lowe’s.

    Jeff is correct. This is a good thing. Now let’s just encourage them to do it right.

    Opposing all development can sometimes just make us progressives look silly and regressive. Supporting smart and sound development is, often, the right path. Continuing to oppose unnecessary and irrespeonsible development (which is, indeed, MOST of what we have in this city and county!) is always correct.

    ~Christine

  • Lonnie:

    With all the talk about green development, how is it green to have people in that area drive all over Charlottesville for necessities?

    Christine has it right. Opposing irresponsible development is good. The knee-jerk opposition to anything corporate is not.

  • I guess my point was, do we really need a big box to satisfy your and Jeff’s shopping needs? For that matter, there are businesses I wouldn’t mind seeing in Batesville, but to me nothing is a better alternative than something really irresponsible that might damage the fabric of my community.

    Wouldn’t a Kroger and an Hardware store a la Blue Ridge Builders work? (Incidentally, has anyone ever heard the song East Asheville Harware by David Wilcox that addresses this topic?)

    I suppose that this is one of the real problems with implementing new Urbanism. It seeks to recreate those towns like the one my grandparents lived in with a local drugstore, hardware store, and grocery stores within walking distance. Unfortunately once those are gone, it’s really hard to go back in time and recreate them. You can have them create a small retail space, but it’s more likely to be taken by some kind of boutique that doesn’t sever everyday needs. I’m not sure how we could convince someone like Capshaw to create a space and reserve it at a fair price for a local hardware store. If not, then what’s the next best thing?

    For that matter, even if we could convince them to build it, what’s to stop people from driving up to Lowes instead? I friend of mine’s nursery just went under, just as many other local nurseries seem to be going. (Those that aren’t might as well since they only carry Monrovia). People somehow prefer plants that are dead before they even bring them home, or that aren’t even hardy for this zone but, hey, they are cheap!

  • Yikes, sorry about the editing (or lack thereof).

  • Lonnie,

    We chose to buy a place in that part of town about 4 years ago because A) we wanted to live close to downtown which is where me & my wife work, B) at the time when real estate was rediculous this is the neighborhood that we could afford without moving out of town (before the real estate market went cold) and C) under no circumstances were we moving up 29 North.
    Just to answer your question.
    If I lived in Batesville (I assume you live there), I probably would not want a big shopping center there either but we live 500 yards away from the city limits, so I would expect there to be city amenities to go along with that.
    Also, the point that ChrEliz made is correct, it would save a lot of gas.
    And I would never want another Wal-Mart anywhere in town.

  • Thanks for your honest response Jeff. So as ChrEliz put it, how do we now “encourage them to do it right”?

    I have some simple thoughts about things that would greatly improve it in my eyes, but what features would you like to see? After all, it’s in your neighborhood so how do you feel it could best represent the values and needs of your community?

    How do we then get folks like Capshaw and Craig hear those ideas?

  • In this day and age I would like to know what people think are “acceptable” stores. You don’t get to choose- sorry it does not work that way-it’s anti-capitalist and undemocratic. If it is zoned correctly (and it is) the people who buy the land can put up what they want as long as they follow all the rules and regs. The ideas for how a development fit into a community already exist and they have been worked on for many years. We have the planning commission, the ARB, and the BOS. Do you really need more than that? or is it just easier to complain then be part of your solution.

    If you don’t like Walmart then don’t go there. Do you think there is ever going to be a locally run big box? It can’t happen because of distribution, transportation, and other business factors that should seem obvious. The internet has had as much or more to do with killing small retail then Walmart. Come and join me in the 21st century world of commerce, it’s survival of the fittest but it better than anything government has ever come up with.

  • Would that be the same free-market commerce that has now caused a recession? Unregulated growth is not just environmentally unsustainable but also not economically sustainable. We can’t always just wait and let the free market sort everything out. Some regulation is necessary.

    That said, you perfectly summarize the dilemma of the BOS. They can only zone, they can’t really do much about what actually goes there as long as it meets the zoning. At this point we are somewhat dependant upon the good will of Capshaw and Craig to build something of lasting value. The BOS can choose though to uphold their highest standards with existing ordinances, and should be encouraged to do so where it’ll improve the project.

    To quickly answer the issue regarding the big box stores, while I do have issues with some of the companies themselves I do support consumer choice. The question though is more about how you design a community that is more walkable and less car centric? The best way to do that is to mix residential and commercial space, but who would want to live immediately next to Lowes? Also, these stores depend somewhat on attracting people over a larger geographic area as opposed to serving just a neighborhood. That necessitates really large parking lots. That can be mitigated somewhat by using parking garages or underground parking, but that’s expensive and I haven’t seen anyone willing to do that so far. So, purely from a design perspective big box stores create some significant challenges as well as additional strain on infrastructure.

  • The question though is more about how you design a community that is more walkable and less car centric?

    In short: you can’t. American culture and way of thinking would have to change for a city like Amsterdam to become a possibility here. This is why I generally scoff at all the talk of mass-transit being the cure-all Charlottesville needs.

    What you’re describing is basically the Downtown Mall (residential commercial) times at least 20. That should be able to have enough mix of commercial to meet the majority of people’s needs. However, obviously — there would be no parking. So then you have another issue to tackle. Even if gas goes to $6 a gallon and people have 95% of what they need in walking distance, it will take a long time to get people to give up their cars.

  • I might agree with you except that it’s already been done in cities across the U.S.. There may indeed be models of development that are superior, but it’s also true that fully implementing this one would be at least an improvement over the status quo.

  • I only paged through a couple of those, but most of those are not on the scale that we’re ideally talking about here it seems.

    Charlottesville already has something on that scale, it’s called the Downtown Mall.

    I mean, really: http://www.cnu.org/node/1798

    what’s the difference here?

  • Lonnie, I wasn’t argue for the removal of regulations. Quite the opposite, I was stating is that what we have is enough and additional restrictions are unwise and unwarranted.

    And what you call a dilemma is actually government getting out of the way after setting the minimum standards. Governments are lousy at picking out the winners in any commercial marketplace but it does have legitimate concerns that are best addressed by zoning and design regulations.

    Your are also wrong about large parking lots and garages. The University and Brown Auto has already built them and it’s rumoured that the new Whole Foods (next to Kmart) will have one as well. It is not the governments concern to get people out of their cars unless that is why they were elected. No one ran on those issues until they do and win, the marketplace of voters have spoken. Democracy at work to be sure

  • I mean, really: http://www.cnu.org/node/1798

    what’s the difference here?

    There are some really big differences, actually, though I appreciate that they’re not immediately obvious. Those structures are multi-story (five, by the looks of the rendering), the land is publicly owned (so it’s a public space, not a faux public space), it’s mixed-use, there are a variety of unit sizes (rather than monoliths suitable only for megastores), and it’s substantially pedestrian oriented. It looks great, actually.

  • It is not the governments concern to get people out of their cars unless that is why they were elected.

    Of course it is! Reliance on automobiles is a source of tremendous expense to local, state, and national governments. It’s very much their concern, as well it should be.

  • Nice try Waldo- concern is one thing but where is the mandate for getting people out of their cars. The marketplace and $4-5 dollar a gallon gas will do more to accomplish that than any government edict will. It’s about democracy. When politicians getting elected on that platform you might have a point- until then you only have your wishes being forced on a majority who seem to be ignorant to the fact that you know what’s best.

  • From 5th St – you are 10 minutes from Harris Teeter/Greenberrys at Barracks Rd via I-64/250 by-pass and 10 minutes from Giant/Starbucks at Pantops….the problem is that MOST people want to pass by “conveniences” like grocery shopping, etc. on their way to and from work….you don’t like the Food Lion * which I LOVE because they ALWAYS have my diet Coke with Lime.

    I live in Keswick and drive 40 minutes to Short Pump to the Home Depot with a side visit to Ukrops if not on a Sunday.

    There is convenience and then convenience…there will be a connection from 5th St. extended to lower Avon in conjunction with Biscuit Run and the Southwood properties when they are developed……SOUTH is where planners are suggesting builders build…..schools are not overcrowded, roads are already in and utilities are close.

  • “Would that be the same free-market commerce that has now caused a recession?”

    Yes. You get your choice – free markets and the occasional recession, mitigated by sound monetary policy, between long spells of prosperity, or a command economy and one long, continuous recession with spells of mere stagnation. Free markets look awfully good to me in that comparison.

    Some regulation is necessary.”

    Very few people would argue with that, but you aren’t talking about “some regulation,” you’re talking about government dictating an entire lifestyle to the public. What if people just don’t want to live the way you think they should?

    “Of course it is! Reliance on automobiles is a source of tremendous expense to local, state, and national governments.”

    So what? Governments have no legitimate interests of their own, only a duty to look after the interests of the citizens as defined by voters.

    If your complaint is that the self-interest of some citizens takes unfair precedence over the legitimate interests of others, welcome to the era of big government. People vote their own narrow interests on everything else and are encouraged to do so by just about every politician; why should drivers be different? The problem is one of our larger civic culture, not one specific to drivers and roads. “Green” interests are no different; just look at the farce of ethanol subsidies!

  • There are some really big differences, actually, though I appreciate that they’re not immediately obvious. Those structures are multi-story (five, by the looks of the rendering), the land is publicly owned (so it’s a public space, not a faux public space), it’s mixed-use, there are a variety of unit sizes (rather than monoliths suitable only for megastores), and it’s substantially pedestrian oriented. It looks great, actually.

    Oh, it *is* great, I’ve been there. My point is I don’t think it’s the size that is needed to have real change — people giving up their cars, walking around to most of the stuff they need, using flex/zipcars when needed, etc. It’s a shopping plaza, it’s not a .. not sure what the word I want is. Confined neighborhood?

    That being said, you have to start somewhere — not like we can clear out a couple square miles around the mall and continue to add to it.

  • Very few people would argue with that, but you aren’t talking about “some regulation,” you’re talking about government dictating an entire lifestyle to the public. What if people just don’t want to live the way you think they should?

    First of all, this kind of zoning only applies to new developments. It’s not like they are going to kick you out of your house and force you to live in a New Urbanist development. People will choose to buy there or not. What we shouldn’t do though is allow developers to build massive fields of cheap homes that look all alike just because someone from out of town might enjoy that sort of thing. If they want that, then Waynesboro already has plenty.

    Also, I don’t think it’s a question of people not wanting to live in these kinds of developments. (In fact, one criticism of them is that even though they are supposed to be “mixed income” they often become so popular that many people can’t afford to live there.)

    I’d compare this whole thing to the Hybrid situation. GM, Ford, et al faught tooth and nail for years against building hybrids and more efficient vehicles despite the fact that consumer demand is now very well established. In fact, if the government had forced them to build efficient cars then they’d be in a much better position now that gas prices have risen. Whenever anything requires more upfront investment, or a long-term viewpoint, then companies are reluctant even when consumers will support it.

    Some developers around here just want to slap up some instant homes and big boxes and then get out of town, even though they know they could sell something better for a decent profit. In those cases, someone has to be forward thinking and plan for the future. We certainly can’t expect most developers like Charlie Hurt or Wendell Wood to do so out of the goodness of their hearts. Thus, unfortunately, we do need intervention from local Government on these issues.

  • Chad, I totally agree. It’s only a beginning.

    In fact, I’ve said myself that there are better models out there than New Urbanism. In fact, I was horrified to hear that Charlottesville was actually using Reston as our model for development. We can do so much better.

    That said, so far, we can’t even get New Urbanism right. Partially implementing something can often be worse than doing nothing at all. (For example, high density without green space defeats the whole purpose.) Until local government really shows they can pull off this model, I don’t have high hopes that we can do anything more progressive. Maybe I’ll be surprised by Biscuit Run… I really hope so.

  • Getting people to stop being totally dependent on their cars is like getting them to stop demanding antibiotics for colds and flu. It will take a long time, and make a lot of people angry, but ultimately will benefit everybody.

    On the other hand, living without a car, or without needing to use one for all your needs, is really in the realm of the privileged nowadays. In order to find affordable housing, people live further and further away from their community centers, which is ironic, because it used to be that the affluent were the ones moving farther out of town.

  • “So what? Governments have no legitimate interests of their own, only a duty to look after the interests of the citizens as defined by voters.”

    Wow. What utter nonsense. It’s why we have representative democracy rather than direct democracy. We do indeed expect our legislators to do better than pander to the flavor of the month as defined by voters. Unfortunately, being a legislator has become a career rather than a service. Doing the unpopular thing that is actually good and useful is what I expect of a legislator.

    “Interests of the citizens as defined by voters”? !!! Women wouldn’t have the vote and civil rights wouldn’t exist in a codified fashion. I expect better.

  • “Interests of the citizens as defined by voters”? !!! Women wouldn’t have the vote and civil rights wouldn’t exist in a codified fashion.

    Are you equating basic civil rights with getting people out of their cars? What part of the bill of rights is being violated. Democracy is how things get decide unless the courts determine the need for judicial relief. While the courts have ruled that California can impose stricter pollution laws the the feds that is still democracy in action. I will further state that if the congress wants to impose higher CAFE standards that welcomed. Again the marketplace will take care of fuel efficentcy better than the government.

    So for those of you who demand the new urbanism feel free to tell this to your elected officials and lets have the discussion. This shopping center however has followed the rules and won unanimous approval. That is also a powerful statement – either it has met a high bar or Rooker, Thomas, and Slutsky have finally sold out to “the man”.

  • I want to join the argument that yes, having this new shopping center would be nice. It was bound to happen.

    To say, well, there’s already a grocery store out that way…both the 5th Street and the Avon Ext Food Lions are horrifying. I like a good redneck grocery store as much as anyone, but both of those stores are grimy, weak and questionable. Why is it a new Food Lion can look nice for only a year or so, then it looks like the rest of the them…with scuffy floors, hapless employees and produce sections that look like an explosion in a silo?

    Sorry. I’ll stop ranting.

  • Dr. Zoidberg, Harris Teeter is only a few blocks beyond the food lions you so detest. Get on the bus, bike, walk or call Jaunt, or drive your big SUV or Volvo and go on over to H.T. and shop if you must. The rest of us “masses” will have to get by on what is provided since we don’t have the money or resources of you few elitest. You people with your wants as opposed to your needs make me sick and I wish to hell you would pack up and move on to some place other than Charlottesville/Albemarle. You all seem to know where better places are. Well, move on. You people are so concerned about the container, whether it be buildings or packaging, your products come in and in the final result it all ends up the same.

  • Shopping in big boxes often save me money and time.

  • I think what people have been trying to say is that its the type of shopping center or development at this site that is the issue, not whether there should be one at all.
    I see the argument that people who live near that area should have something close by.
    A shopping center,yes, but why does it have to be a big box? Why not a grocery store, a hardware store,drugstore, dry cleaners,gas stations, and other things people need clustered around the area? Different businesses, not one mega-center.
    I do not set foot in Wal-Mart or Target. Locally-owned businesses, or older businesses even if national chains are what I prefer. Timberlake’s for prescriptions, the City Market for as many of my food needs as possible. Rose’s.
    As for Food Lion, I shop at the one on Pantops occasionally. Its hard to screw up canned veggies or household cleaning suppplies. But I think the Giant on Pantops is the nicest supermarket in the area.
    I have heard the 5th St Food Lion referred to as “the ‘hood”, the ‘hood for hoods from what I understand.
    I have seen us lose Safeway, Woolworth’s,Standard Drug,Anderson Brothers and numerous other businesses that were long part of the fabric of the community. Reid’s once had 3 stores, now down to one. Not the fanciest grocery store perhaps, but it was located next to residential neighborhoods where people could walk to it in many cases.At one time, there was a Reid’s and a Safeway on West Main st, near the 10th and Page neighborhood, Westhaven, and the University. so convenient for so many people.The Corner was not dominated by bars and restaurants like it is now. There were drugstores, bookstores,cleaners,a cafeteria,gift shops, etc.

  • “The Southwood Mobile Home Park, just south of Charlottesville off Fifth Street Extended, currently has 353 trailers on 100 acres. Habitat intends to transform the trailer park into a higher-density, mixed-income community with the potential for 500 to 900 homes, including many designated as affordable units. The group expects to file for rezoning in two or three years, with construction wrapping up in five or six years.” from: http://dailyprogress.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=CDP/MGArticle/CDP_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173354982588&path=!news .Wouldn’t the 900 homes in this Habitat development and the residents of the larger Biscuit Run development be potential users of this new commercial center?

  • Jogger, I’m a hundred percent sure I make less than 75% of the people in Charlottesville. I cannot afford a home here and can barely make ends meet some months. All I can say is that it comes down to CHOICE. I choose NOT to spend the money I have at those stores. I don’t have an anti-development monkey on my back like you seem to. Why should people on small incomes be forced to shop in a depressing atmosphere?

    I do not like the haves. I don’t like the Volvo driving masses (I drive a Pontiac that’s over 14 years old). I don’t like any elitist attitude. I was making a statement about the lack of pride these business have, and that everyone shrugs their shoulders and says “What can I do?”.

    That “pack up and move on” mentality is what’s going to sink this town. What do you want, a town with no job prospects in 15 years? Or a place that tries to control growth but keeps convenience in mind as well.

  • The Corner was not dominated by bars and restaurants like it is now. There were drugstores, bookstores,cleaners,a cafeteria,gift shops, etc.

    Then I take it that you applaud the possible inclusion of CVS on the corner

  • I have no real problem with CVS on the Corner. After all, Starbucks is already there.
    CVS, incidentally, used to be Peoples Drug, and goes back a long ways here. I go to the one on the Mall sometimes for various “convenience store” type items-drinks, snacks,paper products,etc. Its the closest thing to Woolworth’s for practical everyday items that is there.

  • I didn’t notice on the linked sites, but does anyone actually know what stores will be going in?

  • There is another factor in green development that people are growing more aware of: parking

    http://www.emagazine.com/view/?2418

    A newish book called The High Cost of Free Parking (by UCLA professor David Shoup) has opened many eyes to the wastefulness of free parking. This is the part of car culture whose impact everyone forgets. Any of you who are local green activists should absolutely read this revealing book.

    The premise: we pay directly for most spaces we regularly occupy, except for parking. Parking is a highly-subsidized commodity that, directly, we pay next-to-nothing for, but indirectly we pay highly for.

    Example: The shopping mall. Parking is free…or is it? A parking lot can take up as much as 5 times the land area as the buildings it serves. Retailers have to pay for this land, and pass the cost to you in their products. Offices have to pay for this land, and pass the cost to you by losing profit, and having that extra expense instead of compensation for employees and stockholders.

    Example: The apartment complex. Same problem. Free parking, often required by the municipality to have 1-2 spaces per unit. But developers have to pay for that extra land that the local government *requires* them to include in their plans. Again, the cost is passed on to you, the tenant.

    Let us not forget that we have a great example right amongst us of a town whose transport is based on the human and not the car: UVA.

    They house and feed a whole town’s worth of people, yet a large percentage of those townsfolk don’t own cars. Most of their dorms and buildings don’t have parking lots at all. All their needs: food, shelter, supplies are within 30 minutes walking distance. Their public transport is ample. They use satellite parking and charge for parking, which encourages many of us to (if not walk *to* UVA), then at least walk/bike/bus while we’re in its confines. Not only is a less car-full life do-able, the 25,000 of us associated with UVA are already participating in some way in that lifestyle.

    As you can tell, I REALLY loved this book. It opened my eyes to an issue that was right under my feet the whole time.

  • LaGrape, really interesting. I work at UVa, and yet I had never considered the extent to which the typical university campus embodies an anti-car ethic. They do it out of economic necessity, not wanting to give up any precious land for parking spaces, of course, but whatever works…students do take the bus, both around Grounds and to Barracks to shop. Shoot, when I was a student at Illinois, I took the bus all the time, even though we had a car, because as a grad student I had no free parking. Or I walked. And I lived about a mile from the main building I had to work in.

  • Change that 25,000 to 40,000, the number of people who occupy UVA on a daily basis according to a fantastic article I just read in The Hook that not only focuses on local parking, but also quotes heavily from the very book I just posted about. GMTA.

    http://www.readthehook.com/stories/2008/03/06/COVER-decks-C.aspx

  • Uva LaGrape,

    I can’t say I agree about UVa being a car-free culture. Have you noticed Charlottesville on breaks? Roads clear up, and parking spots become available everywhere. Most of the cars on the roads are students and faculty.

    If UVa was really as progressive as you think, then it would drastically reduce the number of parking permits issued to students, or raise the rates significantly.

    Even the layout of where UVa Chooses to build Garages makes no sense. If they really wanted to maximize mass transportation then the garages would be on the perimeter of the growth areas, so that commuters could park there and then take the bus. As is, you drive right into the middle of the City before getting to a garage.

    I’ve got a whole list of other examples too. For a real car free campus, visit Virginia Tech, or any number of other universities.

  • For a real car free campus, visit Virginia Tech, or any number of other universities.

    I went to VT as a student, while I work at UVa only as an employee. That said, I don’t perceive any significant difference between the use of cars at each. At Tech, Student parking was a pretty good distance off from the central campus. Employee parking was scattered about. If there were any garages, I never noticed them, but that’s only because Tech is surrounded by farmland on two sides, so it’s preferable to have enormous open lots to building up garages.

    What VT does have that we lack here is a unified bus system. The city and university buses are one and the same, and the small town has good coverage of bus routes and frequency of trips. I owned a car while I lived there, but I primarily used it to travel back and forth to Charlottesville each weekend.

  • Waldo, I’ve never been to VT so I’m not clear on the meaning of “…only because Tech is surrounded by farmland on two sides, so it’s preferable to have enormous open lots to building up garages.” Is this decision in keeping with some kind of rural esthetic? Is there anything about Blacksburg that has an urban look?

  • Well, no, it just doesn’t make any sense to spend a lot of money building a parking garage when there’s oodles of pastureland to pave.

    The only thing urban about Blacksburg is about a four square block area of downtown (where I lived).

  • When I lived in Blacksburg I just got the feeling that more students used the buses to get around, walked, or used bikes. Part of this is because the campus is all together, not spread out in chunks across town. Plus Tech has many more bike lanes.

    Speaking of which, did you know that the same bike route goes through both C-ville and BBurg? In Charlottesville, there’s not a single section that I know about that has lanes, while in Blacksburg it has lanes far out into the rural area.

    Another advantage was how they did parking. If I remember right, parking was in a tiered system so that staff could park anywhere students could, but they also had their own lots. Faculty could park in the student lots, staff, or their own spaces. At UVa I constantly feel that I’m put the same level as students in priority for parking (and sometimes below) even though I maintain critical systems. I think if they make you carry a pager, then parking should come with it.

    Alas, I opt to just park illegally and pay the tickets. Believe it or not, it’s cheaper than paying for parking.

  • Hi Lonnie!

    1. I didn’t say “car-free”, I said “less car-full”. So what that means is that as bad as you think the traffic is around UVA, it would be worse if UVA were not designed on the human scale instead of the car scale. All of my points about how UVA is designed are still true. Travelling within Central Grounds is centered on bussing and walking. You can’t refute that, considering there are bars that physically stop cars from entering Central Grounds during the day.

    2. Yes, most of the cars on the road are students, faculty and UVA staff. Duh. Most of the *people* in a 20 mile-radius are UVA students, faculty and staff.

    3. UVA already denies parking to all first-year undergrads. I think that’s drastic enough. How ’bout they deny parking to all employees with pagers next? The absence of a sense of entitlement would save on many ozone-depleting gases.

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