RIP Downtown Crozet?

More opinion to come … The Crozet Gazette has the story on the closing of the Square’s parking lot.

Buckingham Branch Railroad will close The Square to parking and storage of materials within the next 30 days to protect itself from liability and safety issues.

And to whomever “cussed out” the railroad employees … thanks.

More at the HooK.

The Daily Progress has more.

The more I think about this, the more I fear for the future of Downtown Crozet. If this parking lot is closed, rather than having a fence built, Crozet will cede its relevance to Old Trail. That the County didn’t continue the leases seems irresponsible, at best.

The County has a responsibility and commitment to ensure that Crozet has the possibility of a future.

The Great Valu shopping center sadly looks dilapidated; the lack of signage contributes greatly to this and the whole thing reflects poorly on what Crozet wants to be – a nice place to live.

I ask the County of Albemarle, Ms. Mallek and CSX/Buckingham Branch to work this out to the point that a fence is built rather than shutting down the entire parking lot.

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20 Replies to “RIP Downtown Crozet?”

  1. Well, it was just a matter of time. The kind of people we attract to this area, it will only get worse. Take the Post Office for example. People
    will park in the handicapped spot and walk to the restaurant next to the barber shop. Why? There are plenty of empty parking spaces further
    down. They are just not capable of any type of decent judgement. So when that parking is finally cut off the whining can start about that.
    The square is a Crozet Landmark. Downtown Crozet is not. Just like
    Fluvanna County is not a fifteen minute drive to work in Charlottesville
    every morning. Those are Realtor’s terms. Ever hear of the Estate area
    of Greenwood?

  2. If the liability issue is people crossing the tracks by the library, then an obvious solution would be to build a fence along the tracks to deter that. Closing off the parking lot would probably entail the RR building a fence anyway -which doesn’t really eliminate the RR’s liability- as there would be still be access to the tracks. It would be more pertinent and a better use of funds as well as a more neighborly act to build the fence close to the tracks to keep folks off of them and allow us to keep on parking and supporting the square’s businesses. The existence of chain link fence across the expanse of that parking lot would serve aesthetically to make downtown Crozet look like an abandoned rail road yard. If we do nothing about this we will have gone from the plan of a new down town to the promise of an abandoned industrial look for out town center.

  3. I wonder what an occasional illegitimate handicapped parking by the post office (Edward should notify the police if he ever sees that, I have never seen this and come there quite frequently, so I wonder the motives of his utterly negative statement). Besides, Edward’s comment is totally irrelevant to the problem created. The hardware store does need close-by parking for those buying sizable materials. As Leslie points out, this closure will only add more blight to Crozet that already has a (I am sorry to say) uncared-for look, almost trashy, not at all worth the notion of a “Landmark”. But maybe Strauss prefers it that way (he seems very hostile to the fact that Crozet has changed over the last 20+ years).

  4. Sadly, inevitable. I’m not sure if I would of banked on establishing a business on a parking lot that i had no control/input. Did the business owners know of this before setting up shop? Hopefully, CSX and local business can work out a plan that will not impact their businesses.

    From the CSX perspective, i guess i can understand why it probably would be wise to establish a fence of some sort near the tracks. The square attracts families with kids, and we know how
    much kids love trains. Could be a devastating accident waiting to happen. However, reading the article, seems like CSX wants to close off more than just near the tracks which seems more spiteful than cautious.
    I’m not sure what was exchanged between the railroad employees and the other person, but things like that seem to be a ’cause and effect’, although
    i’m sure we’ll never now what happened.

    unrelated to this subject, i just couldn’t resist…… “The Kind of people we attract” comment by Mr Strauss. Sounds like perhaps you have lived in this beautiful area for a long time. However, i am pretty sure you were not resident #1 (unless of course you are a dinosaur). Perhaps someone viewed you as one of those “kind of people” initially yourself? I guess, its Ok for you to say that, now that you are here, huh? Peace Mr Strauss. I do think that if you see someone parking in a handicap spot, a call to the police with the license plate number is a must, or at a minimum one of your friendly comments on their windshields.

    1. To clarify, the supposed “exchange” involved BBRR employees (not CSX) and had little to do with anything in the end.

  5. Ignore all you want but the facts seem to ignore you. Why do you think that all of a sudden, long term agreements that have had a real benefit
    to the community of Crozet are being withdrawn? Could it be that property owners are tired of being taken for granted and abused? What happened with the Methodist Church access and Crozet Square parking
    is not without reason. Close your eyes though, say nothing negative and
    maybe the problem will go away or someone will fix it for you. Crozet
    has an “uncared- for look” ? I think that you will find that people care alot more than you think… About the Handicapped Post Office spot, that will take care of itself too. Once that lot has been urbanized with all the needed rules posted in multiple languages and enforced,people will know
    whats expected of them. We have never needed this before but, times
    change. So ignore all you want, then, click your heels…

    1. Edward:

      Here’s the issue that we’re discussing:

      The mere idea of the parking lot being drastically downsized has some business owners concerned.

      “It would put just about every business in this square out of business,” said Rick Ruscher, owner of Crozet Hardware Co. “I just hope we can resolve it.”

      Regarding never needing this before, you’re right – twenty years ago Crozet didn’t need a lot of things, nor did it have a lot of things. That was fine then and today will be fine, too. We – the community – need to work together to fix the parts of Crozet that need fixing.

      I agree that a lot of people care about Crozet, and most people can agree that the shopping center needs to be addressed asap; that’s not just caring, that’s a financial decision of survival.

  6. How very very sad, I hope the business owners can figure something out! SO MANY people frequent these places of business! Build a fence with a gate, put some railroad crossing signs up! With warnings…

  7. If they take away this parking the businesses might go as well ( I mean if only a limited amout of cars can park as it has BEEN SAID business owners will loose customers!)
    Very frustrating, I know that Crozet is no Charlottesville or Richmond but to be honest it would be lovely if we had more parking more businesses, more sidewalks and maybe just possibly a new library! But I am not originally from around here so hmm I guess Edward will tell me to move away.. go back from where I came from lol!

  8. I think it is interesting that with all the talk and meetings about recreating downtown Crozet from the blog level to the county level that no one considered the parking in the Square an issue. What if the recession had not hit, and the new master plan was going on as planned with eliminated parking spaces and this happened? Good parking is important for all the little Crozet businesses—not just the ones in the Square.—much more important than sidewalks from Old Trail and Parkside to downtown.

    At lease since the renovations have not started, the business owners in the Square are in a better negotiating position than they would be if the entire town counted on that parking lot to do its business. Maybe now people can understand the danger of losing convenient access and parking for all of downtown Crozet

  9. I am very saddened by this. I rely so much on the convenience and friendly service of the pharmacy. Even with the “gravel” parking, sometimes I have a hard time finding a spot to park during busy hours. I have already started to consider my alternatives the next time the doctor asks where to fax a prescription for me or one my children 🙁 . I want to continue using the local services, but it may become too difficult and stressful if the parking continues to be a problem. I hate driving to Waynesboro, but I will do it if I have to.

  10. Most responsible business owners know the extent of their business including parking spaces. For them to go public over something they should of known about is pathetic but typical. This is not a problem for Govt. to solve. It is simply a private property issue. The same laws that protect you from people parking in your yard protect the Railroad. Is there really a problem? I can think of several close by parking choices
    that would work but, must people do not want to walk. Thats why I feel that getting County Govt. involved in remaking Crozet laughable. They
    and the self important, self appointed,”Crozet Leaders” want Streetscapes
    and a “walkable Crozet” while the less important cry out for parking spaces. Why is all this happening now? No one is interested in this simple
    case of cause and effect?? Or, is it just simplier to just ignore or blame
    anything else… And, I have to add this, 20 years ago Crozet was a thriving
    Community with jobs and business. Now we are a bedroom community.
    With so many other needs in Albemarle County, we are truly a pearl, yet
    you can not see it. “Stressful parking”????

  11. Mr. Strauss,

    I respect your opinions and you should respect mine. I work full-time and have a 1 year and a 2 year old. I don’t have the luxury of parking across the street and walking to pick up a prescription when my children are sick. That is not a realistic solution.

  12. I totally understand the railroad’s liability fears in this litigious society. I could never believe the tracks were right there …. open!

    I already keep on driving when i can’t get a parking spot at the video store or one of the restaurants on that strip across from the post office … business lost. additionally, i wonder why the owners of the “Great Valu” shopping center (I know that’s not the true name) don’t dedicate any of the money from their tenants’ rent to at least have signage?!

  13. Like Edward, I have watched the changes in Crozet for OVER 20 years. We once had a Southern States store. Morton foods and Acme once employed much of our non farm labor. The Assisted Living building once was cold storage for apple harvest. Urban sprawl has been creeping in for years, however the most troubling development is from the north.(before you start bashing me… I was born in Delaware) Hoards of those disinfranchised by high taxes and govenment corruption are choosing to flee to rural Virginia only to begin demanding the same conveniences and services which created the taxes and growing civil government be recreated here. The city and the country stay apart for a reason. Once the whiners from the city figure out what that reason is they will take off their shoes and walk in some fress tilled soil and breathe a sigh of relief.

  14. Just an FYI. I have lived here for 22++ years. (I only left for college and then returned here right after). Yes I do live in a new house that was built in the last 4 years, but I consider that progress and have embraced it in this area I call home and have for the majority of my life!

  15. Putting up a business sign detached from your building in Albemarle County is a major deal. It has to be approved by the ARB which can be
    a long drawn out and costly affair. Since the term “realistic” was used
    walking accross the street is far simplier than driving to Waynesboro
    or Charlottesville regarding prescriptions. I would think that the time involved would matter too.
    Crozet Foods, which used to be on Main St in front of what is now the Post Office used to deliver groceries and the Crozet Drug Store which is now a
    Coffee Shop used to deliver your prescriptions. Since “twenty years ago”
    was brought up this is relevant. Ain’t progress great!! And, kids still walk to school. This area can still be saved. Learn to love what you like. And, if
    you prefer structured urban type govt. & services instead of community
    you can find these just a few miles down the road…

  16. Amen Edward! C’ville is just up the road a bit and we make a list and do the whole months shopping and paying bills all in the same trip. This takes a little planning, which appears to be too much for some, but saves gas and time. Crozet fills in the gaps with milk, mission home baked goods, and local produce in between. The square’s merchants fill the same nitch in our daily lives. This has worked well for us local hillbillys livi’n over yonder for years and we embrace the slow pace Crozet affords us. I will take cows over crackerbox housing any day.

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