Crozet Connect Launch Party 2 August

via email

As you might know, the launch of the Crozet Connect is on August 5. To promote that new service JAUNT has partnered with Starr Hill Brewery and Old Trail to hold two service launch promotion events right before the service starts.

August 2, 7-9 p.m., Starr Hill Brewery

Live music by the Crozet Jam Band (they said they’ll do some “road” numbers). CONNECT Bus parked outside. CONNECT swag and info handed out. Possible rebranding of beer with CONNECT logo (brewmaster still working that out). Raffle for monthly passes.

August 3, 12-2 p.m., Old Trail Business Center

Family-oriented, picnic-themed event featuring local artist Sarah Lopez. Businesses will have exhibits. Waylands Crossing Tavern will serve outside on sidewalk. Ice cream truck and CONNECT bus parked. We’ll have a table with swag and info. Raffle for monthly passes.

TONY, the self-driving shuttle, launches

TONY

Well, this is cool.

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, VA – Albemarle County, Perrone Robotics, Inc., JAUNT, Inc., and Smart Mobility, Inc. today celebrated the first day of service for their autonomous shuttle transit service, the first public autonomous shuttle operating in Virginia on public roads.

AVNU (pronounced, “Avenue”, an acronym for Autonomous Vehicle, Neighborhood Use), is based on Perrone Robotics’ TONY GEM autonomous shuttle platform.  The pilot will operate for three months, with routes shifting to different areas of Crozet. The first route will be within the Old Trail Village neighborhood and the second route will run between Old Trail Village and downtown Crozet. The AVNU pilot is supported in partnership by Albemarle County, Perrone Robotics, JAUNT, and Smart Mobility, Inc.

“It is with great pleasure that we launch the pilot of the next generation of transportation – autonomous neighborhood shuttles – here in Crozet,” said Ann Mallek, White Hall District Supervisor. “Albemarle County is so proud to support our homegrown company, Perrone Robotics, to bring this project to fruition and to support our development areas by providing small-scale transit service to connect residents with commercial and recreation centers.” 

This electric-powered shuttle is designed to operate autonomously on public roads, navigating vehicle and pedestrian traffic. “With over 33,000 autonomous miles traveled using our technology, TONY powered vehicles bring the highest level of autonomy available in the world today to shuttles,” said Paul Perrone, founder/CEO of Perrone Robotics.

“We are deploying an AV platform that has been carefully refined since 2003, applied in automotive and industrial autonomy spaces, and now being leveraged to bring last-mile services to communities such as those here in Albemarle County, Virginia. What we deliver is a platform that operates shuttles autonomously in complex environments with roundabouts, merges, and pedestrian-dense areas.” 

During the pilot, the shuttle will operate with an onboard safety operator that is actively monitoring the roadway and able to assume control of the shuttle if needed. 

Perrone Robotics, Inc. (PRI)

Perrone Robotics has developed a general purpose software platform for robotics and autonomous vehicles called “MAX®”.  The company is focused today on delivering its TONY product, built on MAX, to commercially deploy practical autonomous shuttling of people and things. With over 16 years of experience and over 33,000 miles autonomously driven, Perrone Robotics’ MAX autonomous engine enables standard vehicles of any size to collect input from any suite of sensors, fuse that information together into a coherent picture of what surrounds a robot, and then engage in appropriate maneuvers and actions. For more information, please visit https://www.perronerobotics.com/

Update: Answer to a Question

Question: I don’t understand. Is there a schedule? Or do you summon it somehow? I mean, if its route is within Old Trail, where is it going besides between people’s houses and the commercial block? School to Grit? Confused.

Answer: Today was the shuttle launch. Today from 10-12 and 3-5 as well as tomorrow, the shuttle will be available on a fixed loop in Old Trail. Beginning next weekend (July 20-21) the shuttle will be running on weekends on a closed loop in Old Trail. There will be a schedule that is publicized before next weekend (July 20-21).

Eventually the plan is to be able to summon it and to expand it’s range. Stay tuned!

250 Closing at Tilman for a Bit

It’s just past the blinking light on 250 on the way into Charlottesville. You know, the dip in the road that’s been getting dippier for the past few weeks?

via email:

 PORTION OF RT. 250 IN ALBEMARLE TO BE CLOSED JUNE 12-13

Crews will replace large pipe; motorists advised to follow posted detour

CULPEPER — An upcoming pipe replacement project will close a portion of Route 250 (Ivy Road) in Albemarle County in mid-June. 

VDOT will close Route 250 to through traffic to replace a large pipe located just east of Route 676 (Tilman Road). This work has been scheduled to avoid both morning rush hours. The road will be closed beginning at 10 a.m. June 12 and will reopen by 4 a.m. June 13, weather permitting. 

The large pipe must be replaced to prevent damage to the travel lanes. Crews will excavate the soil above and around the pipe. After removing the pipe, crews will install a new pipe, backfill the area and resurface the road. 

Due to the significant work required to remove the old pipe, it is not feasible to keep one travel lane open during this project. 

Motorists are advised to use Route 738 (Morgantown Road) to get around the closure. 

Drivers should check www.511virginia.org or the 511 mobile app for updated information about traffic conditions and follow @VaDOTCULP on Twitter for updates.

Input on 240-250 Roundabout – 11 June 2019

via email from VDOT … this is the roundabout at the 250/240 “Y” intersection is.

GIVE INPUT ON RT. 240-250-680 ROUNDABOUT PROJECT 

Comments invited in person on June 11, via mail or email by June 21 

CULPEPER — The Virginia Department of Transportation invites the public to attend an upcoming design public hearing for the proposed project to construct a roundabout at the intersection of Route 240 (Three Notched Road), Route 250 (Rockfish Gap Turnpike) and Route 680 (Browns Gap Turnpike) in Albemarle County.  

The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, June 11 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Field School of Charlottesville, 1408 Crozet Avenue, Crozet.  

At the open house-style hearing, VDOT staff will be available to discuss the project at the open house style hearing. The public can review project plans, ask questions and obtain information about the project’s timeline, cost and travel impacts, as well as provide feedback on the project orally or in writing. 

The proposed roundabout will improve safety at the busy intersection. Roundabouts are safer than conventional stop-controlled intersections because traffic can continually and efficiently flow through the intersection and vehicle operating speeds are lower. Additionally, roundabouts help reduce air pollution and fuel use compared to a signalized intersection due to reduced idling and less acceleration and deceleration. 

During construction, VDOT proposes to close Route 680 to through traffic between Route 250 and Route 802 (Old Three Notched Road) with a posted detour. Traffic would be detoured via Route 240 to Route 802 for about two months.  

Written comments can also be submitted by mail to Hal Jones, Project Manager, 701 VDOT Way, Charlottesville, VA 22911 through June 21. Email comments can be sent [email protected].  

Anyone requiring special assistance to attend and participate in this meeting may contact VDOT at 540-829-7500, 800-367-7623 or TTY/TDD 711.

More information about the projects can be found on VDOT’s website at http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/culpeper/albroundabout.asp.

(END)

240/250 intersection

When Are They Going to Close 240?

How’s that for a click-baity headline? 6 months closure is certainly way better than the previously-heard 12-18 months.

Via email:

PUBLIC HEARING APRIL 17 FOR RT. 240 BRIDGE REHABILITATION

Give input on preferred construction alternative

CULPEPER — The Virginia Department of Transportation invites the public to attend an upcoming design public hearing on the proposed rehabilitation of the Route 240 (Crozet Avenue) bridge over Lickinghole Creek in Albemarle County.  

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, April 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Crozet Library, 2020 Library Avenue, Crozet. 

At the open house-style hearing, VDOT staff will be available to discuss the project and answer questions. The public can review project plans, ask questions and obtain information about the project’s timeline, cost and travel impacts, as well as provide feedback on the project orally or in writing. 

VDOT proposes to rehabilitate the existing substandard bridge and is presenting two construction alternatives for public input:

·       The first alternative proposes to close Route 240 in both directions for six months with a detour in place. Traffic south of the bridge would use Route 250 (Rockfish Gap Turnpike) to Route 240 (Three Notched Road) to reach Crozet Avenue. Traffic north of the bridge will reverse the detour and use Three Notched Road to Rockfish Gap Turnpike. 

·       The second alternative involves a phased approach to construction. The bridge would be reduced to one lane and two-way traffic would be controlled by temporary traffic signals for at least eight months. Motorists would experience delays near the bridge site especially during rush hour with this alternative.  

Written comments can also be submitted by mail to Howard Tomlinson, Project Manager, 1601 Orange Road, Culpeper, VA 22701 through April 27. Email comments can be sent to [email protected].

Anyone requiring special assistance to attend and participate in this meeting may contact VDOT at 540-829-7500, 800-367-7623 or TTY/TDD 711.

More information about the projects can be found on VDOT’s website at http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/culpeper/240bridge.asp.

(END)

25 MPH on Crozet Avenue

Recently, you might or might not have noticed that the speed limit on Crozet Avenue changed, from Oak Drive (sort of near the cemetery) to Parkview Drive (Western Ridge). There didn’t seem to be any official announcement, and I’ve gotten a bunch of questions about it, so I asked VDOT, and they quickly responded. I added the link to the code below.

VDOT recently extended the 25 MPH speed limit on Route 240 between Oak Drive and Parkview Drive.

A speed study was conducted in mid-September as a result of a citizen request to the Albemarle County Police Department. VDOT traffic engineers analyzed the results and determined the road met the requirement of Virginia Code §46.2-874 to set the maximum speed limit at 25 MPH due to the density of the commercial and residential development and the multiple pedestrian facilities and crossings along Route 240.

The speed limit extension was approved and implemented in mid-October. The changes are intended to slow traffic down to improve safety for everyone including pedestrians and bicyclists. There are advanced warning signs of the 25 MPH speed limit near Oak Drive and Parkview Drive to notify drivers of the speed limit before it begins.

VDOT traffic engineers recently reviewed the signing plan for the extension and will be installing an additional 25 MPH sign on westbound Route 240 near Union Mission Lane.  (near Starr Hill)

Now … about bike lanes and sidewalks …

 

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”