Side balk: Install of ped-stopping fence begins

Pedestrians got their first look at the black-painted aluminum structure that will keep them off the eastern sidewalk of the Belmont Bridge, as a crew from Howardsville-base Orme Fence Company began raising the 620-foot-long structure on Wednesday, May 25. The project began a day earlier as a workers began drilling anchor holes into the allegedly dangerous sidewalk. On April 4, a 3-2 majority on City Council decided to pay Orme $14,530 for the fence. However, a Hook investigation found that repairing the sidewalk might cost less than building the blockade.


nice, it looks like a prison

They paid more for the fence than to repair the sidewalk; sounds like Charlottesville. Could they uses it for "Art In Place"?

What are Szakos, Huja and Brown thinking ---or maybe not .

Please Charlottesville vote for new councilors that understand what it really means to be a green city - maintain your infrastructure. Look for individuals that understand 21st century ways of doing things and elect them, so we don't keep going down the path of paying consultants to tell us what to do and then paying them to do it.

Something is amiss in Camelot .

" Anthony McFadden drills the 49th four-inch hole into the steel-reinforced concrete sidewalk " and exactly who is destroying the sidewalk ?

It is EXTREMELY hard to believe the lowest bid on this fence was $14,530.

Or was this a project simply handed to a friend of a friend in City Hall?

I don't understand why they don't issue an RFP and get a bid to find out the cost of fixing the sidewalk from firms that have a reputation for doing this type of work. Over and over the city fails to do this and simply hands the work to the consultant designing the project. Does anyone else see a problem with this ?


"Does anyone else see a problem with this?"

Yes, a very large and all too typical problem.

P.S. Meanwhile, there are far more dangerous sidewalks -- cracked, heaved, obstructed, ad inf. -- all over town.

Has anyone visited downtown Howardsville recently? I have never seen this business anywhere near Howardsville?

That sidewalk is simply not that bad... there is no reason why it couldn't be patched for less than 5k. We could at least then use it. I hope that when someone DIES jaywalking because it is closed the city gets sued, the taxpayers have to pay for the suit and they WAKE UP and realize what kind of people they have elected.

If they can drill holes to bolt down fencing they could have bolted down decking.

They could have bolted down boards against the curb and poured concrete another two or three inches over chicken wire. and then ramped the ends.

They could have done minor patching, put in posts at either end and blocked off bikes.

They could have poured asphalt.

This should have been the last choice.

They need to ask themselves " WWMD" (what would McGyver Do?"

There may be sidewalks in disrepair all over town, but this is a major entrance to downtown and walking route for many people coming to the Mall. They're not talking about keeping it closed for month, they have no money planned to replace the bridge for years. In fact the 6 year road plan for state funding has no money allocated for this project.

Page wire and some concrete ,3 inches maybe or the asphalt . That fence looks very dangerous in that it is ripe for picking by a truck box or a late night errand car . Lots of guardrails off the edge of the road shoulder get pranged . This will surely be hooked by something heavy or fast. The fence is not very strong and will be a real mess . Surprising solution to remedy a safety hazard : Erect a more dangerous hazard .

Frank Speaker, if this solution is a surprise to you, you must be a new arrival to town.

Ignore, ignore, ignore and then spend way to much to fix what could have been fixed more cheaply is standard operating procedure in Charlottesville. Examples of that approach abound everywhere from the failure to dredge the reservoir to the outrageous cost of replacing the bricking on the long neglected Downtown Mall. That's why many of us were hoping for the hiring of a city manager who could finally straighten things out and make the city run efficiently and safely.

Unfortunately, for reasons only known to themselves, our city councilors decided to hire a sportscaster with no experience or apparent qualifications for the job. The terrible mess that is being made of the project to replace the bridge on Stribling and this, another typical hacked together "Third World Class" approach to problem solving demonstrate unequivocally what a disaster that hiring is for the city. And, I've only selected two from a very long list of examples.

Charlottesville was recently award a silver medal for being a "walk friendly community." I suggest that anyone who finds this sidewalk closure to be outrageous contact the organization that gave that award to let them know what it's really like here. They've been fooled this time. To do that, click contact under about WFC here:

almost $15,000 FOR THAT!?!?! hmmmm. i kinda think that money could have been spent somewhere the SCHOOLS?!


My point in mentioning the disrepair in sidewalks all over town was that if the very slighly deteriorated Belmont Bridge sidewalk is too dangerous to be walked on, then lots of other sidewalks are far too dangerous to be walked on and should be closed as well..

I have said here that I support repairing the bridge soon and simply. I have suggested here that Bob Fenwick -- an experienced solver of such practical problems -- be given the contract.

Beyond that, I can only sigh mightily as I recall the Belmont Bridge of my childhood -- the one I crossed with my mother (who never learned to drive the car we didn't have until I was almost 7) many times a week to get from Goodman Street to the eminently useful shops downtown. That bridge's decking was made of creasoted planks that oozed shoe-trapping black goo on hot days -- days when its black iron guard rail could fricassee fingers on contact. Given a choice, we'd have opted for the odd patch of crumbled concrete any day.


There is money to fix the bridge in the City, just like there is money to fix a number of things in the Count, if priorities were straight.

Take away City funding giveaways to developers, call of the YMCA project, and viola. Money is there. The City took money from the Belmont Bridge, and gave it to JPA. As usual, those people still all live on the wrong side of town, meant only to be the rowdy playground for people on the right side of town, or in the County.

Nancy! Do some real investigating and less complaining. The JPA Bridge project is State funded. The City is only putting in a small fraction (2%) of that project.

The Belmont Bridge is not a State owned bridge, and the City is already having the replacement designed.

All of the City's infrastructure is at least 50 years old. No roads, pipes, etc. can ever be designed to last longer than that, regardless of how much maintenance you give them. After that period of time, everything has to be replaced. It was all built in the late 50's during the post war stimulus, and here we are - 50+ years later. I'm sorry you have to live here and now while everything built by our grandparents is considered old and outdated.

However, all that being said, I would even agree that a more reasonable solution is available to the sidewalk issue that would keep it usable.

" 50 years old. No roads, pipes, etc. can ever be designed to last longer than that, regardless of how much maintenance you give them. After that period of time, everything has to be replaced. "

@ Informed - Tell that to the Europeans and the rest of the world .

The City is depending on state funding to replace the Belmont Bridge and I wasn't complaining about the JPA Bridge, accept to say, an 18 month replacement window seems unreasonable.

If a big truck box catches that contraption of a fence ,either the bolts in the concrete will snap off or the concrete itself will be broken apart. Then back to square one after the clean up is paid for .It will be essential to repair the concrete sidewalk at that point .

P.S. Just another point . The concrete needs repointing anyway to keep water out of the cracks and crevices . Otherwise water gets in freezes and expanded ice breaks the concrete into little pieces expotentially . A couple of workers with a mixer ,sand,mortar mix and about three weeks you would have a spiffy useful sidewalk free from freezing damage .

The city should sell lottery tickets to guess which day the fence gets clipped, the first person gets hit crossing the road, and how many times it needs to be repaired in the first year.

They could sell the tickets and use the proceeds to rebulid the fence and hire lawyers for the lawsuits.

If that sidewalk was on private property, the city would give the property owner a citation demanding that the problem be fixed in 15 days or else. Their own problems,they just ignore it seems. This is another problem I bet Oliver Kuttner could fix in a day or two. We have numerous citizens with the brains to take care of these problems all around us. They just don't happen to be the people in charge. Election time is coming though.

And say no to Huja and any other would be councilors that support wasteful solutions for our infrastructure issues. Ignoring maintenance and then claiming we have to start over with a bridge or a dam is no longer an option when our citizens are losing job and many are trying to get by on fixed incomes.

Gee willikers! Now I have to cross the street and walk an extra 150 feet to get around a closed sidewalk. Grow up. Stop complaining and get up and do something if you want things to change.

Good Morning Charlottesville Residents,

James Halfaday here and I wanted to chime in on this sidewalk project that is being done on the Belmont Bridge. I would like to go on the record and state that I would have NOT supported the funding for this fence. This is unacceptable that we have allowed our city infrastructure to dwindle down to this Deterioration status. I am deeply saddened to see that we as residents have funded over $14,000 for a project like this. I am against this project and this has to stop here in our City. I have to wonder is this $14,000 if it could have been able to fund another project in our city or to create a job.

Thank you for your time,

James Halfaday
Official City Council Candidate for Charlottesville

So James, what's you plan? Can you elaborate, with better writing skills, about what you would do, and how you could make this change on other projects? I am sure the Charlottesville Citizens here might appreciate knowing your approach.

I am writing from Cell Phone in between meetings and Auto Spell feature sometimes is not that great!

Thank you for your time,

James Halfaday
Official City Council Candidate for Charlottesville

Knowing he can see the idiocy of this project makes him better than what we have now.

I second that bill marshall. Far better than what we have now when we consider that idiocy is among their redeeming qualities.

And Councilors that say they will not listen to facts and new information that impact infrastructure decisions should be eliminated from consideration.

City residents will see higher utility bills and taxes if they don't elect councilors willing to protect city interests. So besides Huja , say no to Galvin and McIntosh. whose plan of action is - let's get on with it because county developers say so .

We need councilors who put city residents first, not county growth !


I am very glad to see you now show your true colors. You'll make an exellent politican, should the residents of Charlottesville be foolish enough to vote for you.

Make excuses instead of just giving the information.

I wasn't talking about spelling, I was talking about written thought process. You could have gone to your computer and responded with a plan. Instead you just made an excuse. Good for you.

Oh give him a break . He is against this stupid solution for fixing a little bit of concrete . Isn't that enough ?

No. Unless you think what we have coming out of Congress right now is enough.

How long are the residents of Belmont going to be deprived of this sidewalk? Until the new bridge is built? That could be a decade from now. It isn't such a simple matter to cross the street twice--for those of us who want to stay on the eastern side of Avon--since crossing Avon St. at that point can be tricky. That is one of the worst crosswalks in town--you could stand there for ages and no one will stop for you. Crossing at that light isn't great either because there is often turning traffic from Gleason St. Crossing Avon at Market St. isn't that great either, also because of heavy turning traffic. If pedestrians are going to be forced to cross the street, the least the city could do is make crossing easier.

James Halfaday gives a DIRECT statement regarding the Belmont Bridge Fence to Charlottesville City Council.

Click on the following hyperlink and go to:

Click on City Council Meeting for 06-06-2011 and fast forward to 40:40 mark and hear the stance.

James Halfaday

I want to know who's going to be responsible when a Belmont cyclist is run into that fence by a groggy morning motorist.