Update on the “Safe Routes to School” Grant

Remember the Walk to School grant for the part of Crozet near Crozet Elementary?

So did a concerned parent who asked the County for an update, and received this response.

From Jack Kelsey with Albemarle County:

Regarding the Safe Routes to School Project, the short answer is that it’s being designed by David Anhold & Associates and I’m expecting a progress print this week.

The long answer is that a lot has transpired to get us to this point. Our original plan was to provide this simple design in-house, we hired a surveyor, and had the project area surveyed.  We were in the process of addressing VDOT’s environmental requirements (required by all projects funded by VDOT), when VDOT informed us that we could not do the design in-house due to the project being funded by the grant.  

The design fee was expected to be small and well below the procurement limit where we may request 3 fee proposals from consultants, then choose one and move on with design.  However, VDOT’s procurement rules required this project have a public advertised “request for proposals”, formal interview of the candidates by a committee, selection and negotiation of the fee, and lastly VDOT’s approval of the selection process and chosen firm. Fortunately at that time we were just completing our procurement process for civil engineering “on-call” design services contracts.  We had to submit our procurement process information to VDOT for review and did receive approval to select from our new “on-call” consultants.  

This took time, but far less than then going through a formal project specific “request for proposals”.  We provided Anhold Associates with a project scope and requested a fee proposal.  The fee was reviewed/approved, a project order routed for signature, and a notice to proceed was issued 10 August 2011.

I hope this information is helpful.  Please contact me if you have any questions.

Jack M. Kelsey, PE
Transportation Engineer
Office of Facilities Development
County of Albemarle
401 McIntire Road
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902-4596
(434) 872-4501 office; ext 3376
(434) 760-1272 mobile
(434) 972-4091 fax
[email protected]


The award was announced in 23 April 2010, but the required VDOT-County agreement wasn’t approved by VDOT until 25 August 2010.  What needs to be kept in mind is that with State-Federal grants there are inherent processes and procedures that must be followed, so a portion of this time is allotted to these tasks.  However, overall the time frame is conservative to allow adequate time to get the project scheduled and completed.

As for our schedule, we plan to have the plans, plats and bidding documents completed by the end of the year.  Then have the right-of-way/easement dedication acquired this winter.  The construction will then be publically bid late winter/early spring 2012.  Construction could then begin in spring 2012 and we estimate it will take about 3 months to complete.

Update 3 October 2011: Aaron Richardson at the Daily Progress has an update on this story.

How Many Residents in Old Trail Walk to School?

I’m just curious. With so many families and rooftops in Old Trail, and it being less than a 30 minute walk, how many kids in Old Trail walk to school?

The above is a question that I am asked frequently when I am working with buyer clients who are considering buying homes in Old Trail.

This isn’t a slam on Old Trail, but a question to which I’d love an answer.

I would love to see a story about the restrictions that Western Albemarle, Brownsville and Henley place on walking to school … from someone who has the time to investigate such things. I know whom to talk to and have the story outline, but don’t have the time.

More kids should walk to school.

See the map? It’s not that far! Is a mile and a half really too far for an able-bodied kid (or parent!) to walk? Sure there aren’t sidewalks, but I don’t think anyone would be harmed by walking on the path that has started to be worn into the grass.

Every day that I drive through Old Trail, I see several kids waiting at the Old Trail Town Center for the bus.

As of September of last year, there were 129 kids who attended Brownsville Elementary that lived less than two miles to school. I’d bet quite a few of these are in the Old Trail neighborhood.

And here’s the thing – I know that the schools have prohibitions against kids walking to school (schools, jump in and correct me if I’m wrong) but if parents stepped up and advocated for their kids’ rights and their rights as parents to allow their kids to walk to school, the schools would have to listen.

Have a look at some the the population/density/walkability data yourself.

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I’d be interested in seeing more “walking the walk” – it’s one thing to walk around one’s neighborhood; it’s another to exercise that option beyond. Continue reading “How Many Residents in Old Trail Walk to School?”

Albemarle County Announces Safe Routes to School Grant for Crozet Elementary

Earning/winning this grant was the result of collaborative work by the County of Albemarle, the Albemarle County School Board, 250 West group, Crozet Community Association, the Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation and a few others. Readers of RealCrozetVA know that I have long advocated for walkability and bikeability in Crozet, and practice what I preach.

(Bolding mine.)

From the press release:

Chairman Ann Mallek, School Board member Barbara Massie Mouly, and Crozet school officials and parents. The grant will fund construction of a new sidewalk north of the school connecting to neighborhoods where many students live and a crosswalk with activated flashers and a warning sign to alert approaching motorists. This project will be funded entirely by grant funds.

The project is intended to provide a pedestrian-friendly environment in the area surrounding the school, and will significantly increase the number of students who can safely walk or bike to school. Approximately 177 of 305 students live within two miles of Crozet Elementary School and there are over 200 homes in neighborhood located within one-half mile of the school that will be able to take advantage of the new pedestrian features. In addition, the private Field School located directly across the street from Crozet Elementary will also be linked by the new sidewalk to neighborhoods north of downtown Crozet and will be served by the new crosswalk and warning sign features.

Continue reading “Albemarle County Announces Safe Routes to School Grant for Crozet Elementary”

Albemarle County to Announce Pedestrian Safety Grant

From the press release:

Pedestrian safety near Crozet Elementary School will get a major boost thanks to a state grant award that will be announced on Wednesday, May 12, at 1:00 pm at Crozet Elementary School by Board of Supervisors Chairman Ann Mallek, School Board member Barbara Massie Mouly, and Crozet school officials and parents. Details of the grant and the specific improvements it will fund will be outlined at the press conference.

I’m looking forward to seeing how “near” is defined. And “major.”

Either way, walking to Crozet Elementary is a good thing. As is “walkability” for home prices.

Streetscape Concerns in Crozet

Perfection is the enemy of the good.
Gustave Flaubert
French realist novelist (1821 – 1880)

The Daily Progress has a good article about the stalling of the Streetscape project. Please read the whole thing.

“We don’t want the charm of downtown to die away,” Trigo said. “That’s why we have to keep the businesses alive and work together.”

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors already has appropriated the money as part of its capital improvement plans, but Marshall said he and other CCAC members are worried the money will be spent on other county projects if property owners don’t get on board.

“Downtown needs this to happen and time is slipping away,” Marshall said. “This is a project that will benefit everybody, [but] the county needs to find a way to reassure [property owners] they are going to hold contractors to a schedule and stick to it.”

My question is this – if we don’t take advantage of this opportunity now, when will we? We’re not going to get a perfect plan – but we need to insist on getting this started and finished as soon as possible. What better time than the midst of a recession to prepare for the other side?

Secondly, I’m going to borrow tfjtolson’s comment from the Daily Progress in its entirety:

I want the business owners of Crozet to know that while they build it (the streetscape) we will keep coming. I want them to stay in business and I want Crozet to have the improvements.
Therefore, as a Crozet resident, I pledge to keep patronizing their stores during the construction.

Who will join me in this pledge?

Update: More at C-Ville.

Walking to School in Crozet

It’s really not that far from home to Crozet Elementary, and while I wish there were sidewalks the entire way, it’s a pretty good little walk. Better yet, my small one and I stopped at Mudhouse on the way back home …

Personally, I’m grateful to live in such a walkable place.

Do you walk your kids to school?

Even better, I had my camera with me and took a few shots along the way:

** If you take pictures in or of Crozet, upload them to flickr and tag them with “crozet” – then they will be displayed in the slideshow on the homepage of RealCrozetVA.**

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Continue reading “Walking to School in Crozet”

Crozet Community Association Meeting Thursday 10 September

At the Old School House this Thursday from 7:30 pm to 9 pm. Anyone who wants to write a story for RealCrozetVA will be thanked loudly, roundly and I’ll buy you a cup of coffee from one of the three local coffee shops.

One suggestion – if we really want to and intend to invite Old Trail into Crozet, we (really the CCA) should put signs at the entrances to Old Trail as well as at the intersections of Crozet Avenue and 240 (and Jarman’s Gap Road).

Photowalking between Crozet Elementary and home