Roads and Traffic
Crozet is filling up with cars and its past time to get serious about road design and traffic. The county’s recognition of its ownership of, and therefore responsibility for, The Square (see the story on page 1) means that we can finally get going on an effective plan that will make the heart of old Crozet into an attractive entry to future development of Barnes lumber yard. There’s no budget for it, but there must be.
The county also needs an earnest financial plan for the construction of the bridge over Lickinghole Creek that will allow an arterial road to be built from Cory Farm on Rt. 250 to Westhall and other neighborhoods in eastern Crozet. Given the number of houses that now rely solely on Tabor Street for access, a choke point, this bridge is an urgent project. The Crozet Master Plan dubs this conjectural road “Eastern Avenue” and portions of it are now being built. But the bridge is the key segment and the county’s capital budget must include it.
Which brings us to the Milestone Partners plan for Phase One of the lumberyard development. The strong possibility that The Square will be converted to a one-way street means that Oak Street, which connects The Square to Library Avenue and is now partially built as part of the construction of Piedmont Place, should be a regular two-way street and not a parking lot as the proposed plan currently shows. The temptation to cut through the parking lot will be too strong. It should be conceived of as a street from the start and the parking needed should be shifted behind the buildings that will be built on the new block formed between Oak Street and High Street.
This solution is shown in the plan for downtown offered by retired landscape architects Warren Byrd and Susan Nelson (local residents) who offered it (free, as good citizens), with an explanation of its hows and whys, to the Crozet Community Advisory Committee last August. That meeting is the only occasion in the memory of your editor when the CCAC responded to a presentation with spontaneous applause. It was appreciation for an elegantly simple resolution of a difficult location to build on. For a report with plan illustrations, see the September 2015 issue of The Gazette.
Relegating the parking, as the urban planners call it, will mean that downtown’s public space, the plaza, won’t fit in the new block but will have to shift to the east side of High Street, where, with characteristic foresight, the Byrd/Nelson concept shows it.
This wise plan, with a grid of roads connected with tucked-away, large landscaped parking lots and a shady walking loop around the new blocks, deserves another inspection by county planners as the question of roads in downtown goes to a vote by the planning commission later this month.