Virginia's rules of the road:
New to Virginia? Within 30 days of arrival, you must apply for a Virginia driver's license and obtain state registration for your vehicle through the DMV (800-435-5137) which is located at 2055 Abbey Road near State Farm on Pantops. Also within 30 days, your vehicle must get a state safety inspection from any private garage offering the regulated service– it always costs $15 for cars and $5 for motorcycles, unless there's something wrong, and then you have to pay for repairs.
Bad news: Unlike the other 49 states, Virginia bans the use of radar detectors.
Good news: Virginia just hiked the speed limit on many portions of Route 29.
More good news: State Code allows a right turn at a red light after stopping.
Another important state law: If your windshield wipers are on, your lights must be on.
Charlottesville car misdeeds and their fines:
You'll pay $47 in court costs in addition to all these fines:
Pedestrians– even lollygagging UVA students– always have the right-of-way: $77 fine.
Don't park in a handicapped parking space: $185 fine with no appeal.
State law effective July 1, 2002: All children under age six must be properly secured in a child safety seat or booster seat. $97 fine.
Illegal: Speeding tickets cost $3/mile-over-limit plus $47 fee and add some "points" to your driving record.
More illegal stuff: radar detectors: $62 fine;
Window tinting: $77;
Neon lights: $77.
Just drinking a beer– even one beer– while driving is illegal: pay $72 and do not pass go.
We have two separate bus systems: one for UVA students and employees and one for the rest of us.
UTS- Rides, which are free, are intended for students, faculty, etc., but drivers don't typically check IDs. 924-7711
CTS- Regular fare is 75 cents (children 5 and under ride free), but you can buy a book of 40 tickets for $21, 10 tickets for $6, and a special unlimited-use Day Pass for $2– available at the local visitors centers. The elderly ride for half-price. The service has 16 routes and welcomes bicycle riders by offering bike racks on many buses. 296-RIDE.
The best central city free ride is the CTS free trolley which looks like a San Francisco cable car but travels on rubber tires between The Corner, JPA, and Downtown every 15 minutes from 6:30am until midnight every day except Sunday.
For inter-city bus transportation– Greyhound/Trailways, as well as trains and planes– we have more information on our travel page.
Census data recently revealed that Charlottesville, with 16.5 percent, is second only to Lexington– with a whopping 26 percent– among Virginia cities in the proportion of commuters who walk to work. In addition, the pedestrian-friendly Downtown Mall was cited in early 2002 by the Pew Partnership as a "Solution for America." Charlottesville sidewalk planner: Steve Wright or Dan Clark, 970-3182.
Charlottesville and Albemarle have made great strides in increasing the number of bike routes. The Charlottesville-Albemarle Bicycling Association has a nice map showing the routes as well as a handy explanation of bikers' rights to use the full traffic lane when needed. BEWARE: Riding a bike on the Downtown Mall is punishable by a $62 penalty. In Virginia, bicycles must follow the same laws as motor vehicles, including riding on the right side of the street, obeying all traffic signs and signals, yielding to pedestrians, and using signals for turning and stopping. At night, bicycles must have a white front light visible for 500 feet and either a red rear-reflector visible for 200 feet or a red tail light visible for 500 feet.
Free-use community bikes
Through a novel program administered by the City and funded with private resources, about 80 bright yellow bikes were placed on City streets in March 2002. Within a few weeks, pretty much all of them had disappeared. In response, the city has inaugurated a "community bike" program, similar to the first but with a twist: the bikes (not painted yellow) are still free, but if you want one you have to work to recondition it.
Thanks to the area's long history, many roads have different names along a single path, usually changing as a city street moves into the county and becomes a road. Here's a handy tip-sheet:
Emmet Street=Seminole Trail=Route 29
Park Street=Rio Road (pronounced "RYE-oh")
Ivy Road=University Avenue=Main Street=Downtown Mall
Avon Street=9th Street
Garth Road=Barracks Road=Preston Avenue=Market Street
Fifth Street=Ridge Street=McIntire Road
Road rules- local licensing
Owners of all vehicles garaged in the City of Charlottesville (970-3146) on January 1 are required to purchase and display a City Decal on or before midnight, January 31. The decals cost $28.50 for cars and $33.50 for trucks (usually for trucks over 4,000 pounds), $8.50 for motorcycles, and various fees for boats and trailers. Albemarle County (296-5851) also requires a $25-$30 decal (varies depending on weight) every January 31.
Average commute time: 22.8 min (national average is 22.6)
Working at home: 3.6% (national average is 3.9%)
Things get busy around here during traditional rush hours– not to mention around noontimes when things clog pretty heavily. Companies that engage in RideShare programs like car pools and van pools can get juicy tax decuctions. 295-6165
To save room for residents, some neighborhoods near downtown and UVA require $25 per year parking permits. You'll know because you'll see the street signs. The permits, which expire August 31, are available through the City Treasurer's Office. 970-3146