Can a Giant New Development be Part of Charlottesvilles U.S. 29 Traffic Solution?
CHARLOTTESVILLE – Whoever picked this burg as the nations best place to live probably didnt drive on U.S. 29. The city has plenty of college-town charm, and surrounding Albemarle County showcases Virginias beautiful piedmont. But north of the city, the eight-laned U.S. 29 runs like a scar across the landscape. A jumble of banks, restaurants, gas stations, old and new shopping centers are so poorly stitched together that you cant get from one to the next without first getting back onto U.S. 29 and clogging the traffic there. This stretch of U.S. 29, which carries about 57,000 vehicles a day at the Charlottesville city limits, is among the worst thoroughfares in Virginia. Yet thats exactly where Albemarle County planners have OKd plans for a whopping 1.9 million square feet of new development, including 780 residential units, a 150-room hotel, big retailers and a 14-screen cinema. By traditional planning logic, the Albemarle Place project is in the worst possible location: The trips gene