2nd Mall-Cross opened Monday

blog-mallCross.JPGYes, we were busy polishing our latest issue, so we forgot to tell you this three days ago, but the 2nd automobile crossing over the Downtown Mall opened on Monday, May 1. Long-requested by business owners on the Downtown Mall who felt vexed by the closing of 7th Street in front of City Hall as well and vexed by numerous nearby construction projects including the Pavilion, the Holsinger condos, and the City's President's Plaza/Transit Center crossing there, the crossing was briefly denied but eventually approved in April by City Council as a one-year test project on 4th Street.
Unlike the debate from the fall of 1994, when developer Lee Danielson urged the initial Mall crossing, this discussion included few impassioned speeches or placard-carrying protestors warning that children would be killed by vehicles. To date, there have been no reported auto-pedestrian deaths or injuries at the 2nd Street crossing which opened on August 28, 1996.


Wow. Lee Danielson and the 2nd Street crossing. Ah, weren't those Charlottesville's salad days? Now, you (Hook) say that Charlottesville has "jumped the shark." Isn't the Hook one of the **reasons** that Charlottesville has jumped the shark?!

I'm not sure how you think the Hook is one of the reasons for the decline of our fair city; can you elaborate?

My writing here turned out to be a bunch of thoughts about this week's cover story, but this latest blog post about change inspired it. McNair points out one big reason for the shark-jump: it used to be cheap to live here, so people with money came because their bucks went farther. Coran made a pile and started spending it to make the town what he wanted. What he wanted is not the C'ville I had growing up.

If I wanted to see a famous band like Ween, I would make the effort to go to DC or Richmond. I do not want a Ween concert intruding on my otherwise perfectly enjoyable evening stroll downtown. So now I don't take that stroll, and as a result I don't always support the local independent shops as much as I used to. Give me back the more interesting local acts and a grassy space in front of a pretty little bandshell, and I'll return. Though you won't find me eating at Five Guys. Doesn't anyone remember that Foot Locker and Baskin Robbins went out of business down here?! Chains are the same everywhere, that's the point. The Downtown Mall is uniquely Charlottesville, and it should stay that way, thanks. It's a pedestrian mall; that means we can do without more cars crossing it. (see, tangentially related to the post at hand. :-)

Plain old overpopulation is another big factor -- older people are living longer than anyone thought they would, and the kids of the 80s (the next big population wave) are leaving college now and want jobs and a place to live. I've met more than a handful of those in the form of newlyweds visiting the top three "best places" towns to pick where to live. Like Charlottesville is a china pattern.

Finally, the technology changes of the last decade have allowed the upper-middle-class and above to gain tremendous geographic flexibility. "You mean I can telecommute, earn an Arlington-size salary, and own five acres?? Honey, call the movers!"

Charlottesville has been home for most of my three-decade existence. I never thought I would want to leave this place, but I have spent the last few years now wishing all the Yankees would just go home, and that includes those folks from what Rita Mae so brilliantly terms "occupied Virginia". This place was not built to hold the population of Loudon County, so why are developers now trying to make it do just that?

This place is where I grew up; it is home. I once loved Charlottesville because it was small, beautiful, culturally rich for its size, and inexpensive -- even though you couldn't earn much, at least you could live comfortably on what you made. All of that is gone except the low pay, and I feel ill every day as I watch the Albemarle countryside turn into a bunch of cheaply made (regardless of selling price) buildings and chain stores I never needed before so why would I now?

I am not against change that improve what exists, but for me personally, the way growth has happened around here has deteriorated, not enhanced, the quality of life I had back in the 80s or 90s. Really, the most positive thing I can think of has been the traffic light syncing on West Main. But then, without such rapid growth, would traffic ever have gotten bad enough to make a difference?

Enough with the rhetorical questions. There aren't any good answers that will get me back what I loved best about C'ville, but for me and many others I know, it's a big loss. This is not just an "oh for the golden days" thing; the world is changing everywhere, but it's not changing in metropolitan areas to the dramatic degree it is here. Don't mind me, I'm just grieving. Past denial, onto anger; I am begging acceptance to come quickly...

People like C-Ville? I don't believe it. Why can't WCAV, WAHA, WVAW, and Adelphia all go high def? If that happened, and the average temperature was decreased by about 15 degrees F throughout the year this place might become be decent. Oh..it also needs a stadium seating theater. And it needs to ban smoking at all bars and restaurants (including outdoor seating). After all that it might migrate to the almost tolerable level.

As for the current issue of The Hook...outstanding. I laughed during the entire read.

My camera batteries weren't charged yesterday but some "event" occurred here on 4th. A fire engine and ambulance were both here taking someone away. Did someone get hit? That might be the first. It is rather odd to see 18 wheelers roll through the mall now, along with gigantic VIP tour buses. So pedestrian. I hope the VaVino customers are enjoying the proximity to diesel exhaust while eating cheese. Mmmm....cheese....

As you well know, Doc, there are plenty of places to live where people share your HDTV values. I know why you don't move, though -- what would you do with the empty space currently filled by your demeaning blog posts? You might actually have to stop trolling and get a life!

Internet repartee aside, I feel sorry for you. I've seen you around town (it's not hard to track down your real identity, complete with photo) and you look as miserable as your writing implies. Granted, I've never seen you parked in front of a TV, but I hope you have happiness somewhere. We villagers have a bad habit of wishing the best for others.