Apparently, some think the African American community of Charlottesville should not worry about bicycle infrastructure because African Americans don’t ride bikes. As a long-time cyclists in Charlottesville, I know that isn’t true.
This is the first of what I hope to be many interviews of Charlottesville cyclists that some believe don’t exist.
The following are the opinions of one individual and do not represent the opinions of stance Cville Community Bikes.
February 28, 2014
To: GoWestMain Design Group
From: Chris Gist, City Resident (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Re: W. Main Design Proposals Feedback
My name is Chris Gist. My family and I live in the W. Main St. corridor. I am a daily multi-modal user of W. Main. I ride my bicycle to and from work daily on W. Main. I walk to businesses on W. Main and make many foot trips to the Downtown Mall via W. Main. I am a user of CAT. I also do occasionally drive a car on W. Main. I am a LCI (League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor), a member of the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and serve on the advisory board for Charlottesville Community Bikes.
Assertions (in no particular order)
W. Main is a major travel corridor between downtown and UVa Central Grounds for motorists, mass transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
- W. Main is the only relatively flat route between downtown and UVa Central Grounds.
- W, Main is dangerous for cyclists. Many cyclists cite safety as the reason for not using it.
- W. Main is the backbone of a bicycle network infrastructure with soon realized and planned connections.
- W. Main should be a destination for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. Accessing business along W. Main should be paramount.
- W. Main should maintain as much parking as possible.
- W. Main should become the site of the Charlottesville City Market.
- W. Main should be a safe place for pedestrians and cyclists with children to traverse.
- W. Main is part of the US Bike Route 76 from Yorktown, VA to Astoria, OR.
- W. Main needs to have a street scape that includes public places, plantings and trees.
- W. Main is only 60 feet wide from building to building.
- W. Main needs to have comprehensive, holistic zoning.
- W. Main is to become a major population center of Charlottesville.
- W. Main storm water management must improve.
- W. Main users should be encouraged to seek alternative transportation.
- W. Main has far exceeded design volume because the University of Virginia continues to expand and concentrates parking at the west end of the corridor.
- W. Main is bypassed by motorists during rush-hour by cutting through adjoining neighborhoods.
- W. Main will face additional motor vehicle pressures once the extension to Rio Rd. is complete.
- Sharrows are a tertiary option (behind separate facilities and on street bike lanes) in location where other bicycle facilities cannot be used to alert cyclists and motorists to cyclists right to use the whole lane. They were not designed for use in major bicycle corridors!
Review of Option 1
This option would only work if there is no through traffic on W. Main. I like the shared street concept in theory. However, people with children will not feel safe riding in any traffic regardless of volume or speed.
Review of Option 2
This would only work if there is no through traffic on W. Main. People with children will not feel safe riding in any traffic regardless of volume or speed.
Review of Option 3
The idea of a cycletrack is good because it creates a protected lane for cyclists. However in this case, it is not advantageous. Since W. Main is a destination, a bicycle lane should have multiple locations to enter and exit the lane. Also, the beginning and terminus of the cycletrack are problematic because it requires cyclists to cross lanes of traffic to enter and exit. As presented, cyclists heading west must not only look over their shoulder at overtaking traffic coming from their right, they have to watch directly in front of them for oncoming vehicles turning left on 9th Street.
Overall Impression of Three Options
Pedestrians, trees and parking seem well accommodated in at least two of the designs. In all the alternatives, bicyclists lose ground from current conditions. In none of these plans will beginning or youth cyclists feel comfortable using W. Main. That is a shame since geography and topography dictate that W. Main is the central corridor for bicycle travel.
The only logical conclusion is that W. Main must no longer be a thoroughfare for motorists between points west and east. Motor vehicular traffic must be removed or diverted to other streets.
I propose putting in a barrier (a al McCormick Rd. around UVa Central Grounds) that keeps through traffic from crossing the rail road bridge. The barrier would allow pedestrians, cyclists, CAT, and emergency vehicles to pass through. This should include a turn around on each side to divert traffic back the way it came.
This has multiple benefits:
- It reduces pressure on the travel lanes along W. Main.
- Makes for the possibility of more creative urban design and corridor space sharing possible including a protected bike lane.
- Creates an opportunity for a park setting on the bridge which has the best scenic views in the corridor.
- Makes the bridge a destination.
- Creates possibility for more vehicle parking.
- Separates commercial and residential zones of W. Main.
- Reduces physical strain on bridge.
Short of shifting to a dedicated bike/ped path along the railroad right-of-way which is unlikely, any solution for W. Main must include a protected bicycle facility.
Traffic flow must be diverted from W. Main to Preston and Cherry. Roosevelt Brown Blvd. was designed for just this purpose. Cherry and 10th St. must be improved to handle volume of traffic diverted from W. Main.
Traffic flows in and around adjacent neighborhoods must be addressed.
The University of Virginia must shift the concentration of parking from around the hospital. Currently, hospital employees en mass overload the street grid at rush hour. If the parking concentration were near a high volume road that can handle that volume, city grid lock would be avoided. This would be possible if the University would concentrate parking around the Ivy Road and US 29 intersections. If all hospital employees were accommodated there, they would be more likely to use US 29 and avoid the city grid.
The needs of residents, businesses, alternative transportation users, and other affected parties must take priority over through users of W. Main. W. Main is a destination not a thoroughfare.
The City of Charlottesville has done a great job of clearing W. Main Street for motorists. How about the other users of this corridor? Not so much. A full week after the storm, motorists have clear sailing and bicyclists are still forced into the motor lane.
It’s time once again for Charlottesville’s annual Valentine’s Day tradition, the Bake ‘N Bike Valentine Scone Sale! This year marks the 10th edition of Bake ‘N Bike. You — yes, you! — can order a half dozen heart shaped chocolate chip scones to be delivered via costumed bicyclist to someone special on Valentine’s Day. And the best part? All proceeds go to Books Behind Bars (a program that donates books to prisons) and Charlottesville Community Bikes.
For each order, there is a requested $20 donation. All scones will be made fresh on Valentine’s Day. Most deliveries will be made between 9:00AM and 5:00PM on February 14th (though we can discuss alternatives for special circumstances).
Here’s how it works: If the recipient is in the City of Charlottesville or on UVa Central Grounds, you have the option of choosing free delivery which will be made by a festive costumed bicyclist (think a wacky version of cupid on a bike!). Each order consists of a half dozen (6) heart shaped, chocolate chip scones along with a letterpressed card. If you are outside of the city limits or would just rather deliver the scones yourself, pick-ups can be made at the Quest Book Shop at 619 W. Main St. between 10:00AM and 5:30PM.
After you place your order, you will be rerouted to an online form where you can enter in the details for your delivery. (This form is where we’ll ask the name and address of the lucky person receiving the scones, any personalized message you’d like to add, whether the order will be delivered via costumed bicyclist or picked-up, and any other special instructions. We can even make your delivery anonymous!).
Please note that we are accepting online payments this year. If you cannot make an online payment and wish to pay via cash or check instead, please call Melissa at (434) 361-1618 to make arrangements.
Because Bake ‘N Bike is a labor of love by volunteers, we can only bake a limited number of yummy scones. That means we will stop taking orders when we reach our maximum. Otherwise, we will continue to accept orders until 5:00pm on Thursday, February 13th. So, hurry and place your order today!
Please note that there is also a small processing fee for online orders and donations are non-refundable.
Questions? Please email email@example.com.
Our roomies, UACC, are holding a fundraiser by raffling off this beautiful handmade quilt on Sunday, 12/15. For more information call 434.977.7189
Volunteers are needed to help with the art print distribution effort via bicycle as part of SURPRISE. Distribution will take place along certain routes during January 17-19 and you can sign up for a shift on a day that works for you. As a thank you, each volunteer will receive a set that includes one of each print in the exhibit. Please email long (dot) victoria (at) gmail (dot) com with “SURPRISE volunteer” in the subject line if you are interested in helping out!