Autonomous Transit Shuttles! So Cool

via press release:

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, VA – Albemarle County, Perrone Robotics, Inc. (“PRI”), and JAUNT, Inc. are pleased to announce a Letter of Intent to enter into a partnership to develop, test, and operate an autonomous transit shuttle service pilot in Albemarle County. The partnership, totaling $600,000, will launch autonomous transit shuttle service in March 2019.

“Perrone Robotics is beyond excited to apply its ground-breaking autonomous technology to deliver modern mobility in our community” said PRI founder and CEO Paul Perrone. “It’s so satisfying to apply our technology to provide a zero-emission transit approach that will benefit businesses and neighbors – right here and right now in Albemarle County.”

“This partnership positions Albemarle County to lead in the development of the next generation of transit service with a cutting-edge local business, Perrone Robotics, and a trusted transit provider in JAUNT,” Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Chair Ann Mallek shared. “Albemarle County has long supported vibrant communities and an autonomous, zero-emission transit service brings the promise of reduced parking needs and greater use of green technologies in our urban centers – allowing our community to continue to flourish into the future.”

The location of the pilot autonomous transit shuttle service is still under review, but the service will allow riders to embark and disembark along a fixed route. While the shuttle will operate autonomously, a safety-trained transit “ambassador” will be on-board to address customer questions, offer any required assistance, and step-in as driver if needed.

“Over the next decade autonomous technology will change many aspects of public transportation. It will transform how we think about providing equitable and meaningful mobility to our communities, said Brad Sheffield, CEO of JAUNT. “Being at the forefront offers JAUNT to opportunity to understand how to best position itself to help the community prepare for these changes and opportunities. JAUNT will help explore new ways to adapt autonomous technology to enhance how it offers equity and accessible mobility through customer-oriented public transportation, the professional development of our staff and explore new service markets for transit.”

As part of the partnership, Albemarle County, through its Economic Development Authority and its Economic Development office, will promote economic development and existing business expansion by supporting Perrone Robotics. Perrone Robotics will develop and adapt their technology to enable the NEV for autonomous shuttle service. JAUNT will provide their proven expertise for scheduling and operating the shuttle during the pilot. This partnership is detailed in the Letter of Intent approved on November 14, 2018.

The University of Virginia plans to join the partnership with the pilot launch. “UVA is rapidly expanding its research capabilities related to autonomous systems and their societal impact,” explains Tom Katsouleas, EVP & Provost. “We are thrilled to partner with Perrone Robotics, Albemarle County, JAUNT, the UVA Research Park, and others to continue exploring the transformative potential of autonomous vehicles. Our faculty are developing technologies for safe, efficient self-driving cars, and envisioning a sustainable, equitable urban future. We are delighted to bring that expertise to this partnership at such a pivotal moment in transportation.”

Public Hearings About Roads and Such. Fun. Important

via email from VDOT: (bolding mine for stuff that is Crozet-related, and interests me the most).

VDOT has combined six projects in Albemarle County into one $35.9 million design-build package. One contractor will be selected to both complete the final design and construct all six projects. The projects were approved for SMART SCALE and/or Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funding by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in July 2017. VDOT proposes to:

Continue reading “Public Hearings About Roads and Such. Fun. Important”

Eastern Avenue Coming … Soon?

Eastern Avenue – connecting Westlake, Westhall, Brookwood, etc. will be opening … soon.

Well, part of it, at least. Fingers crossed.

From Charlottesville Tomorrow in 2016

Eastern Avenue is envisioned by the Crozet Master Plan — a part of the county’s Comprehensive Plan — as a connection between Route 240 and U.S. 250.

In a proffer statement dated May 16, the owner is offering 15 percent of the units for affordable housing, in addition to a dedication of greenway trail space and a bike and pedestrian tunnel underneath Eastern Avenue.

Reminder: This road has been planned for years and years, and will eventually connect downtown Crozet, 240, and 250.

This is from 2006

Eastern Avenue – This is a second major north-south Master Plan road that will connect Rt. 240 and Rt. 250 generally from the area around Western Ridge and the Conagra plant to an area near Cory Farms. An alignment study of Eastern Avenue and design of the Lickinghole Creek Bridge, a major feature of Eastern Avenue, are being programmed in the County’s Capital Improvements Program (CIP). The road itself is expected to be built as part of private development, while the bridge is anticipated to be a future CIP project. The County has begun preliminary discussions with developers who control the property to determine an effective alignment of the road

From C-Ville in February 2018

“We’ve worked hard for the past 10 years, so it would be great to finally take some steps,” says Ann Mallek, chair of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors and representative of the White Hall District, which includes Crozet, where two connector road projects are in the works.

One would connect Route 240 to Route 250 through Park Ridge Drive and the Cory Farm subdivision.

The proposed Eastern Avenue Connector, which runs north-south, still has two major portions that need to be constructed, says Kevin McDermott, transportation planner for Albemarle County.

 

 

Looks like I won’t be able to get much use out of these photoshopped signs.

 

Coming soon?

A post shared by RealCrozetVa (Jim Duncan) (@realcrozetva) on

 

Crozet’s Infrastructure Needs

Good story from C-Ville. We need roads, bike lanes, sidewalks. No report yet on when those will appear.

Good comments on the facebook post.

From C-Ville (read the whole thing)

A fire along Old Three Notch’d Road caused a rush hour roadblock February 1 on one of Crozet’s main thoroughfares: Three Notch’d Road, aka Route 240. Instead of being able to drive to downtown Crozet, drivers had to make a U-turn, return to U.S. 250 and make a right, then another right onto Crozet Avenue/Route 240, only to be part of a massive backup at the light and four-way stop near the railway trestle at Crozet Square.

High-density growth area Crozet surely has the homes, but roadways have lagged behind. Will 2018 be the year several road projects begin in earnest?

“We’ve worked hard for the past 10 years, so it would be great to finally take some steps,” says Ann Mallek, chair of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors and representative of the White Hall District, which includes Crozet, where two connector road projects are in the works.

One would connect Route 240 to Route 250 through Park Ridge Drive and the Cory Farm subdivision.

The proposed Eastern Avenue Connector, which runs north-south, still has two major portions that need to be constructed, says Kevin McDermott, transportation planner for Albemarle County.

The northern piece may break ground soon. “The private developers of the Foothills-Daly development are responsible for making a connection onto Park Ridge Drive and onto Route 240,” McDermott says, and they have submitted all of the required applications.

To the south, a bridge that is needed to cross Lickinghole Creek to complete the connector road “is the sticking point and has been for many years,” says David Stoner, a member of the Crozet Community Advisory Committee. “It’s such an expensive proposition that it hasn’t risen to the top of the county’s list of projects to be funded.”

The southern-portion work is No. 12 on the county’s priority list of road projects, McDermott explains. “Because other priorities are already under way, No. 12 will be a priority in the next year,” he says.

Possibly Related:  President’s budget threatens local transit projects.

Cities and states stand to lose billions in funding for projects that are already moving toward construction. Nationally, more than 70 projects are waiting for funding from the New Starts program, and only about a dozen have been approved.

Loving the Crozet Trails

It’s fun riding the Crozet Trails with someone new to Crozet, as I did this morning. Even more fun when I discover something new … the pull up thing at the back of Claudius Crozet Park, near the Crozet Dog Park.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again … the more trails connections the better – for the community, environment, and property values. And … thanks, Crozet Trails Crew!

Where is the Crozet Express?

The demand is seemingly there for the Crozet Express (bus service between Crozet & Charlottesville), but there’s no where to park?

Thank you to all those who completed the survey. In a nutshell, the delay in implementing JAUNT’s Crozet commuter route is due to planning a safe and convenient park and ride location in your community. We’re looking forward to giving Crozetians a smooth, carefree journey to work as soon as those details can be worked out with Albemarle County, VDOT, and other parties.

Parking is a problem for Crozet, and one that will have to get addressed at some point.

I wonder what percentage of users would be able to/open to riding bikes to park and ride.

A(nother) Bad Day on 64

Another bad day on 64 led to a bad day on 250, which led to backups on Garth … basically, today was a day to stay in Crozet if at all possible.

I learned about the wreck, and immediately retweeted … and was able to get to Charlottesville earlier than I’d planned.

And then …

From the CCAC Meeting recently

The tweets from this morning …

We have a great community of people on the Crozet Twitter.

Continue reading “A(nother) Bad Day on 64”

Roundabout Coming to 250 & 240 — Sooner than Expected

Sean Tubbs at Charlottesville Tomorrow reports: (bolding mine, read the whole story).

Albemarle supervisors were briefed on several transportation projects Wednesday, including the news that a roundabout will be coming to the intersection of U.S. 250 and Route 240, east of Crozet and near the Mechums River bridge and railroad trestle.

“It did not get funded through the SmartScale process,” said Joel DeNunzio, administrator of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Charlottesville residency. “But we got an opportunity to re-do the [Highway Safety Improvement Funding application], and it looks like, as of today, we have been notified we have the funding.”

DeNunzio said the planning work can get underway in the next fiscal year.

I wonder … will they every widen 250?

 

Temporary Signal at 151/250

via email:

To improve safety, the Virginia Department of Transportation is installing a temporary signal at the intersection of Route 250 (Rockfish Gap Turnpike) and Route 151 (Critzers Shop Road) in Afton, near the Nelson County line.

An advance warning flasher on Route 250 eastbound, which has a steep downgrade, will accompany the signal to alert motorists when the signal ahead is yellow or red.

Beginning this week through late April, motorists should stay alert for intermittent lane closures controlled by flagging.

A more extensive project is in development to convert the intersection to a roundabout. The safety improvement project will address a history of turning-related crashes at the high-volume intersection. Route 250 carries 6,700 vehicles per day and Route 151 carries 10,000 with about seven percent truck traffic daily on both routes. Pending funding approval, preliminary engineering on the project will begin in 2018.

But y’all knew that if you followed RealCrozetVA on Instagram. 🙂