Coordinated: New lanes, lights help flow

By making such a stink about it, the Lewis Mountain neighborhood seems to have transformed the "1,200-car monster" into a million dollar road-fixer. And UVA's footing the bill.

Last September, the state agreed to let UVA proceed with construction of its planned Ivy Road parking garage– considered a linchpin in the nearby U-Hall replacement effort– as long as the school conducted a new study and paid for all traffic and safety improvements directly related to the garage.

What the study found was that traffic was already slightly botched, with cars waiting about 66.5 seconds to get through the Ivy/Emmet intersection during afternoon rush-hour.

UVA agreed last week to provide

*a traffic signal and right-turn-only lane at the Ivy Road entrance,

*barricades to prevent left turns from the garage onto Emmet Street,

*an additional west-bound lane between Copeley Drive and the garage, and

* coordination of 11 nearby traffic signals.

The bill comes to $1.2 million, which UVA spokesperson Carol Wood calls "in the ballpark" of what the University was expecting.

"UVA has literally gone the extra mile to help improve our community," says Chamber of Commerce president Timothy Hulbert, who served on the seven-member steering committee which drew up the recommendations UVA accepted.

Such effusive praise may be in shorter supply in the nearby Lewis Mountain neighborhood, where "Stop the 1,200-car monster" signs seemed ubiquitous. (In a letter to the Daily Progress after site-clearing began, one neighbor said the site was being "strip-mined.")

The committee, however, worked "harmoniously," says Jim Simmonds, the neighborhood's representative to the committee. "We put up the good fight, we lost, and we have to move on," says Simmonds.

The $17.5 million, 1,180-space parking garage hugs the CSX train tracks at the rear portion of the 7.2-acre site, and UVA's long-term plans call for adding dormitories on the site's Ivy Road front.

 

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