Don't build it: And people will come... to party

Walkabout loves… well, walking about. And in our rambles we find that the gridlock that has become Main Street from the University to the Downtown Mall seems more like a big city traffic jam than a small avenue of interesting shops and restaurants. The gleeful grins that pedestrians wear as they pass and re-pass the bumper-to-bumper vehicles bespeak a joy not found in a solitary commute. 
Charlottesville has become a city of car-bound prisoners locked in the endless loop between the Mall, Route 29, and the Corner. And while we like to boast of the magnificent pedestrian-friendly boulevard that is the Downtown Mall, most people end up driving to it. Certainly we have not yet achieved the truly legendary traffic jams of Northern Virginia and D.C., but we spend more and more of our time sniffing the fumes of cars stretching endlessly in front of us.
In the spirit of exploring and promoting alternatives to car-centric development, the organization Alternatives to Paving is hosting an “un-road” show Saturday night, November 9, at the Nature Space on Water Street. The evening will include a community fair featuring maps and drawings of current development plans, and of course will offer fewer car-oriented alternatives. Participants will see what building for people, instead of cars, can mean for Charlottesville and Albemarle– making the phrase “pedestrian-oriented development” more concrete.
Representatives from local environmental, housing, and transportation groups, as well as government agencies, will distribute information and be available for questions and discussion. The community fair includes activist theater performances and free activities for children, including sand art, face painting, and puppet shows. As the evening progresses, a benefit concert featuring Paul Curreri, Devon, and Stratton Salidis will entertain, and for the late-night crew who can’t leave a good shindig, a DJ dance party wraps everything up.
Whatever your predilection for partying, and no matter the ages of your group, the Alternatives to Paving want you there. And who wouldn’t want to go? After spending many years in the Pacific Northwest, I can wholeheartedly support all attempts made to make downtowns walker-friendly. Small communities thrive, locally owned businesses thrive, and sitting in your car is relegated to teenagers on deserted roads.

Alternatives to Paving’s Un-Road show takes place Saturday, November 9, from 6:30pm-12:30am in the Nature Space, 111 E. Water St. Community Fair from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, benefit concert from 8:30 to 10:30, and dance party from 10:30 on. Suggested donation for the concert and dance party is $5. For more information, visit or call Stratton Salidis at 977-2855