Transcription of City Council's public hearing
September 18, 2006
Regarding proposed direction change and through truck restriction
for Franklin Street
between East Market and Carlton Avenue.
DB Next on the agenda is another public hearing on designating Franklin Street as one way and restricting through truck traffic. Angela Tucker.
AT Good evening, City staff has been working on traffic calming issues throughout the Woolen Mills Neighborhood. Traffic calming on Fairway Avenue, Chesapeake Street, East Market Street and Franklin Street is listed as their number one capital improvement priority.
Because of a recent truck accident we have been asked to address truck traffic on Franklin Street at tonight’s meeting. Depending on the outcome of how Franklin Street truck traffic is handled we will address cut through traffic in general along Franklin Street when we talk with the neighborhood on October 26 regarding overall neighborhood traffic calming plans.
Provided in your packet is a staff report outlining the pros and cons of three recommendations for action. The first recommendation suggests that both concerned residents and business owners work together to create a voluntary plan that minimizes the mix of industrial traffic along a residential street. We believe it’s important that all parties understand each others’ needs and work to fix them cooperatively.
The second recommendation allows by amendment to city code section 15-73 to put in place a through truck restriction on Franklin Street between East Market Street and Carlton Road. This restriction will prohibit those trucks not conducting business directly on Franklin Street to use an alternative route. This also restricts those trucks greater than two axles.
The third recommendation offers to restrict all traffic along Franklin Street between East Market Street and Carlton Road to oneway traffic only, southbound. This will cut the daily total traffic volume of approximately 1700 vehicles in half.
And we’re available to answer questions now and after the public hearing.
DB Are there questions, clarifications before we have a public hearing?
DN Just to clarify, the ordinance before us only addresses the truck traffic issue, not one way traffic?
GO’C The current ordinance requires that you address it through an ordinance change. If you have an interest in pursuing the one-waying, that can be done by a simple motion. (unintelligible) That’s why it’s not listed. It probably should have been.
DB Other questions? I have a couple of questions just for clarification before we have the hearing. There was a recent truck accident but in addition to those, neighborhood concern for a while has just been the noise and perceived danger of cement trucks and other big trucks. It’s not just the issue of a truck accident kind of causing this to come to our attention.
AT That’s what we understand, yes. We understand that as well.
DB Can you talk a little bit about if the street was closed to trucks, how that would work and what our experiences are, I mean exactly, more specifically what trucks that would effect and what our experience is with enforcing that on other streets where trucks are prohibited?
AT I probably can’t offer but so much with regards to enforcement. The city has about a dozen other streets throughout the city restricted to through trucks and these would be trucks without business directly on the restricted street. They are also trucks greater than two axles. Generally that doesn’t include delivery trucks and panel trucks. It also doesn’t include pick up trucks and what they call dualies which are pick ups with four tires on the back axle. But it would cover the tractor-trailers not conducting business at the van lines at the end of East Market. It would certainly cover the cement trucks and that is what we understand generates a lot of the noise, particularly early morning noise.
DB Do you receive complaints in your department about truck traffic on streets that are supposed to be closed to through trucks?
AT One street we’ve discussed recently is Jefferson Park Avenue between the Maury-Fontaine intersection and Harris Road and that currently is restricted. Of course there’s also a weight limit restriction to the bridge, the Jefferson Park Avenue bridge but we are going to follow up to make sure that there’s adequate signing in place for these existing truck restricted routes. And we’re going to also remind the police about enforcement that may be needed. We don’t necessarily know the history of why those actual routes are in place. They’ve been in code for a while.
DB Ok. Any other questions?
KH I wanted to just get some quick clarification because I think that there have been…I know that there was a truck accident that was in the newspaper that looked like a tractor trailer was sitting on a neighbor’s porch. But then there was also a truck accident was there not...so which house was that?
BE That was actually the one next door to Betty Lou Scrugg’s.
KH OK got it.
NO ID This is the truck accident…
KH Thank you.
DB And that was a pick up truck. Is that correct?
KH That was a pick up truck. I just wanted to make sure there have been two accidents.
DB And was this an accident or was this where the person couldn’t make the turn?
NO ID They couldn’t make the turn.
BE They broke the man’s front walkway and did a little property damage.
KH I remember.
KA This was a second pick up truck in the last six months
KH And that was the one involving the drunk driver.
KA I don’t think it was it was just the (unintelligible) in the accident.
DB Ok. Other. People we’ll probably have the public hearing one at a time and then we can talk. Mr. Norris?
KH I was trying to get it clear how many truck accidents there have been.
DB Excuse me, people have a chance come up and make any comment they want but for right now I’d like to ask people to not just respond from the audience although a little clarification was very helpful there. Ok?
DN First of all I think, you made a good point, we’re not just reacting to a couple of accidents. We’re reacting to a pattern of activity that I think a lot of the residents have brought to our concern. You mention through trucks to Allied would be exempted? Is that correct?
AT No they would not be. The concrete trucks would be restricted.
DN Ok. But you had said something about Allied on East Market.
AT The vans, I don’t know if it’s Allied.
KH Allied Van Lines. Allied Van Lines
AT It is HT Ferron Concrete that would be restricted.
DN So Allied, wait, so?
AT There is a van line, that eighteen-wheelers access that would not be restricted.
KH All the way down at the end…
DN I know where it is. I am asking if
AT No. They would not be restricted
DN Those would not be restricted. So they could continue to use Franklin even if we out...
AT I don’t know why that particular eighteen wheeler was using Franklin. Generally that’s not a path that this business would use.
AT We’ve not heard that that would be an issue with them. Unless I suppose an eighteen wheeler if it had business with the storage it would be allowed. If it had a destination on Franklin Street it would be allowed.
DB Mr. Taliaferro?
JT Yeah. I know you’ve talked to the neighborhood association. Have you all talked to any of the affected businesses down there?
AT We’ve had limited discussions with businesses. Hence our initial recommendation that we more fully understand what these impacts would mean to the businesses community. I do know that the businesses on Franklin would not be impacted necessarily by the truck restriction, but the one way is of concern.
And I do believe certainly any business that sends their trucks to places north and wants to do so by Carlton Road is concerned about the wait at the railroad tracks. It’s a grade crossing and there are approximately nine trains per day and the worst of that series of trains we’re told is upwards of 120 empty box cars being sent from the Richmond area through, and it could take anywhere from ten to twenty minutes to pass. That is what we’re told is the worst case. Generally they can’t really tell us a schedule per se. They say those fluctuate daily and they’re determined upon the workings in Richmond.
DB Ok any other questions?
KH One last question. Has there been any conversation with the trailer communities that are on either side of that network on Franklin or Carlton because if we restrict, I mean, all the traffic will be pushed to the southern side communities. And has there been any effort to engage them, to get input, to you know to find out which of the three options would be most favorable to their view?
KH Thank you.
DB All right. Any other questions? If not, I’m going to open the public hearing. Same rules apply. Three minutes. We have a bunch of people signed up. So if anyone wants to speak less than three minutes it is allowed. And Preston Coiner is the first person to speak.
PC Thank you. My name is Preston Coiner, I reside at 411 Second Street Northeast. I do have a business interest on Franklin Street. I happen to be an owner of the Woolen Mills Self Storage and a residential duplex, which are the only two developed parcels on the section of Franklin Street between Carlton Avenue and Market Street.
A couple of weeks ago I was made aware that a traffic study was being done. I really didn’t get the results until this afternoon. I don’t do well with the City’s website.
I was under the impression that the only recommendation was to make Franklin Street one-way. I was not aware of this option number one, which seems to be a viable option for voluntary reduction and to study the situation. If I misled anyone by saying that the recommendation was one-way only I apologize. But my information was based on city staff. I choose not to eat crow on it because I’m a vegetarian.
I would urge you to at least consider option number one. I would also urge you to keep the group small and I don’t see that the neighborhood planner really needs to play a role in it initially because I think we, everyone involved would be working towards the same goal. And I think there could be some voluntary reduction. Everyone would not be pleased but I think that it would be a workable solution.
Not only would we do work with the truck traffic but also pedestrian walkability. And I would hope that this group would also address some of the concerns about Market Street as Security Storage is concerned.
Just one, a closing comment, there’s been a number of comments about energy savings tonight. Not being a professional traffic person I would only guess that one waying causes you to use more energy. Thank you.
DB Thank you . Next is Tommy Adkins.
TA My name is Tommy Adkins and I live on 766 Tanglewood Road in the county. I run H.T. Ferron Company, located on 1335 Carlton Avenue. Been in business seventy some years. We are in the ready mix concrete business. We have not caused any accidents that I’m aware of that has been brought up. Just a little bit about our business, we make ready mix, we produce ready mix for concrete, put it in trucks. From there they go out into the community, city county.
Same with block, concrete block and other materials like that. Our normal hours are from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. A few times a year for commercial jobs we start early and go late. Once in six years we’ve gone twenty-four hours. It’s not something we like to do but commercially it’s required in order to do the job.
We use Carlton Avenue, Nassau, Franklin, East Market. We use all the roads in the neighborhood.
I’m against the designating of Franklin as a one way and restricting through traffic, through truck traffic. We or I am willing, I do run it, so I am willing to talk, and open to neighbors’ discussions about traffic. In six years there’s been one lady that’s come to our office and discussed our truck traffic. She lives on the corner of Franklin and East Market. We had a nice discussion. But as a neighborhood no one’s ever come to me and said anything as a group. I’m more than willing to talk to these people about voluntarily rerouting trucks. I can tell my dispatcher where to send trucks, which way to go. Right now I don’t, but I will start.
One of the things that Miss Hamilton said about Carlton and it’s a great point and one I had down here. If we can’t use East Market, we’re going to overload Carlton I think. Sunrise has been sold to Habitat. There’s going to be a lot of construction traffic on that road. This morning at 7:08 just from a safety standpoint there was one child on 1326 East Market, or that’s the mailbox I saw, to catch a bus. There was 23 at 7:10 a.m. on Carlton and the two corners of Nassau that go down. So from a safety standpoint I just want everybody to realize. We’re all about safety and we want to do the right thing. We are willing to work with the neighborhood and discuss this with them. But at this point in time we have not had that opportunity. Thank you.
DB Thank you. Next is Laura Covert.
LC Hi my name is Laura Covert and I live at 1809 East Market Street and I’ll be mercifully brief. Tonight, first of all I’d like to recognize the Woolen Mills neighbors who are here today in case all of you don’t want to speak. Would you like to stand please so that you don’t all have to speak. If anybody’s here and standing who’s not in favor will you just sit down? So these are the folks who are from my neighborhood who are in favor of making the Franklin Street one-way.
And I thank you tonight for hearing this because this is an issue that has been going for twenty years. What I want to point out to everybody here tonight is that the Woolen Mills is not trying to push all of our through traffic onto another place. I mean we know that people live on the other side of the train tracks. We respect that.
What we’re trying to do is restrict half of it. We’re asking for one way. That means those trucks can come one way through our neighborhood. We think it’s a compromise. We think it’s one that is reasonable. We’re not asking every business owner on Broadway to make their guys sit at the however many trains go through between eight and five for twenty minutes every single day. It’s half of those guys. They can come back the other way.
It’s a reasonable request. We’re asking for half of the traffic that comes through our neighborhood to be reduced. Most of it is through traffic, deliveries, that sort of thing that comes out of the businesses and you can count trucks or whatever. They all have signs on them. We’ve done it before. You guys have probably seen that data. But we hope that you’ll consider this as a way for us to get some relief from the traffic and the trucks that come through our neighborhood.
Again we’re not asking for all of it to go away. We’re just asking for part of it. I’m sure other folks have other things to say. Thank you.
DB Bill Emory.
BE Mr. Mayor, City Councilors, page, oh wrong page sorry. I can do this, I swear I can.
My name is Bill Emory. I’ve lived at 1604 East Market Street since 1987.
Section 34-350a of the Charlottesville Municipal Code says that:
"single family residential zoning districts are established to provide and protect quiet, low density areas wherein the predominant pattern of residential development is the single family dwelling."
Market Street is lined with single-family residential dwellings on its north and south sides as it makes its way through the Woolen Mills neighborhood.
Since 1988, and possibly earlier, Woolen Mills neighborhood has asked the City for relief from cut-through traffic. In other neighborhoods the relief we have asked for has been granted.
Sunset Avenue was closed at Moore’s Creek in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood. Northbound traffic on Cedar Hill Road was diverted in the Meadows neighborhood recently. Sixth Street Northeast leaving Court Square was made one way.
We ask and ask and the other neighborhoods get the changes. We’re encouraged to be patient and told that a traffic study will be done.
I asked city staff if I could take a look at the study done to merit the Cedar Hill change. I was told there was no study done.
Page 79 of the Traffic Manual says “traffic measures are intended to address the needs of the neighborhood and not those of the cut-through traffic”.
We ask you to make a decision based on our experience as Woolen Mills residents, and on a decision based on basic planning principles. We ask you to act with dispatch. We are not Moses. Thank you.
DB Chuck Taylor
CT I’m Chuck Taylor. I live at 1606 East Market Street on the corner of Franklin and Market.
I clearly understand that problems we’re experiencing in Woolen Mills are not unique and I tend to be more of a big picture type of person. In Virginia Beach where I grew up unmanaged growth is the norm and the few pockets of rural neighborhoods still in existence are treated as inconsequential.
In the Pungo area of Virginia Beach the same development issues that concern the Woolen Mills, i.e. maintaining the rural nature of the area, is met with the following response excerpted from the Virginian Pilot article “Beach advised to act now to preserve Pungo character”.
Among other things the city recommended moving the city farmers’ markets there, opening a Heritage Park to showcase the farming lifestyle that they were supplanting and creating an open air arena for events such as rodeos and horse shows. In other words they suggested destroying the rural community but providing a theme park version of it as the best alternative.
I’ve lived in Charlottesville since 1974. It was a very different town then and I have no desire to go back to that particular town. Since I arrived, Charlottesville’s growth has occurred in fits and starts, a lurch forward and then nothing for a few years.
It seems to me that things began to change quickly about five years ago. And I will allow that the city government was probably unprepared for the sudden burst of growth in what has been a sleepy little town. Though the county of Albemarle has been developing and/or planning to develop in very specific locations outside your ramparts for many years it doesn’t appear that the city prepares, prepared to address the impact that the county development would have on the city. This and other issues are the reasons I’m at this meeting. I’ve lived at 1606 East Market Street for over twenty-two years. My house is on that corner and for the first seventeen years or so traffic was not that much of an issue and the light truck traffic was primarily to and from the concrete plant. As I said light traffic at that point.
As many in the Woolen Mills can tell you I spend a lot of time on my front porch. I’m a first hand observer of all the activities on the street particularly in the afternoons and evenings. In the last five and particularly in the last three years there has been a huge increase in all the traffic and especially large truck traffic and at all hours of the day and night.
It is because of the business park on Broadway. It is because Franklin like North Avenue off of Park Street, Park Street itself and others on the edge of our fast growing town have become cut-through streets. I use the word become because anyone who has ever dropped a large barrier in front of ants knows the ants will simply follow the edge of the barrier until they’re past it and then continue on their mission. Their new path becomes the only path even if the barrier is removed.
As each new light was added in the city in the many years that I’ve lived here, as each construction project began, as the city watched the many businesses develop on Broadway Street it appears that no one ever said “I wonder how all of these actions will effect nearby neighborhoods.” As traffic from 20 south and I 64…
DB If I could ask you to wrap up your comments please.
CT Ok. A multitude of town locations on Monticello Avenue and Carlton Road have become bumper to bumper.
The city needs to decide whether the preservation of the neighborhoods and the ambiance of this historical town are important or whether they’ll be happier with a Charlottesville that’s Anytown, USA.
DB OK. Thankyou.
I say this as someone who’s pretty sympathetic to the issues of the neighborhood here but I would really prefer it if people didn’t clap because there are some people in the audience that come with a different point of view. And I’m sure, I think if we could refrain I would personally appreciate it. Betty Jo Dominick…
BJD I live at 1610 East Market Street and I’m here in favor of Franklin becoming one way. I’d like to say I am the lady who spoke with Mr. Adkins and I think he was very considerate of my complaints about noise, but his trucks are just a small part of what we as a neighborhood need to get a hold of. And his trucks’ noise is an issue.
I teach piano in my house and I had gone to him on a personal note because when I was teaching I actually had to stop talking to my student when the trucks would come through. They also wake me up in the morning and I like to sleep with my windows open. So I just went to him on a personal note without getting the neighborhood involved because it was a personal issue. I said I can’t sleep. I’m awakened in the morning when they’re hitting my fence and my trees and I’m worried that if somebody hits my fence my dogs would get out. And this was not a neighborhood issue. But as I have lived there for the past three years I have seen so many problems because Franklin Street is a two way street that voluntary issues, voluntary meetings would not help.
We have trucks getting stuck there on a regular basis. And the street isn’t wide enough first of all for them to make the turn. So what happens is they come into our neighborhood and I started interviewing the truck drivers because I was curious where they came from and how a big truck would even choose to come under a railroad into a neighborhood in the middle of the night. And I found that all of them had MapQuest with them.
And this is not something that voluntary actions are going to help. I mean we live in a computer generated world and most of them didn’t speak English and I felt sorry for them. They were inconvenienced by this as much as I was in the middle of the night wondering what’s going on and many times we’ve had to have a wrecker brought in. There was the one you have the picture of, involved the police, the news and a wrecker and because there was no car parked in front of that house that day that truck was in the neighbor’s yard. But kindly, a police officer pointed out to us, that if people parked their cars where we’re allowed to the trucks would absolutely not be able to enter East Market Street. It was not designed for that. So we’re dealing with many more issues than just concrete trucks.
The trucks, like I said, they’re eventually going to come through my yard because it’s simply not big enough to make the turn.
Furthermore we’re not trying to inconvenience businesses. I think that it’s a great compromise. I have, I’m like Chuck Taylor, I live on the corner. I see the traffic. If the traffic were changed to leaving our neighborhood it would eliminate a lot of our issues that are on the table. Speeding, trucks, noise, it would be cut in half.
Rarely have I been alarmed or awakened or stopped dead in my tracks by a car speeding up East Market to turn left on Franklin. That just does not happen.
But everything that comes through Franklin is an issue. There are horns blowing. I understand lots behind me are going to be sold. I don’t know how people buying a lot there would get out of their home if that street isn’t made one way because I can’t get out of my driveway on Franklin. I don’t use it very often because it involves a lot.
And people dart through there because they’re in a hurry, because they want to save time, because they don’t want to wait for the train. It’s just another example of life in the fast lane. And I don’t think we need to have that in our neighborhood.
DB Ok. Can I ask you a quick question?
DB Where are the trucks headed in the middle of the night, that get stuck?
BJD That’s a good question. They’re not headed to our neighborhood. They are given a short cut by a computer that sends them winding through to… they are not headed…
DB But they’re not headed to a business on your street, they are headed somewhere else?
BJD No they’re just headed out into the world. And that little zigzag is the shortest distance between two points. And so like again I’m saying again we’re not pointing fingers at Ferron. We’re not pointing fingers at Allied Trucks. It’s a bigger, way bigger issue. Thankyou.
DB Thankyou. Steve, and I’m sorry Steve I can’t read your last name.
SR I am Steve Riggs. I live on 1610 East market Street.
One thing, ah, with Betty Jo, our driveway’s on Franklin Street. So this would affect us if it was made one way which I’m in favor of. We are willing to sacrifice our driveway because the problem is so bad. It’s not really the concrete trucks. The two accidents were pedestrian cars, drunk drivers. But that’s my problem. The concrete trucks are just noisy.
The eighteen wheelers cannot make that turn. It’s impossible. They have to use our yard and the lady’s house across the street, they have to go through her yard to make the turn. Those are the major complaints. And people honking their horns when they go under the one way I mean the two way railroad trestle because it’s blind, that’s pretty annoying twenty four hours a day. And the concrete trucks like I said are just a noisy problem with me, a noise issue. It’s really…(truck sounds) There you go. Well anyway…
DB Did we ask you to do that?
BE Well, I thought it would be helpful. Because this is what we hear forty-eight times a day at the corner.
DB I’m sorry, I find that very rude and I wish you had not done that.
BE I apologize.
SR Anyway, that’s what it sounds like for most of the day and night and a lot louder than that. But I didn’t ask him to do that but uh…It’s just mainly pedestrian traffic is my problem, the drunk drivers coming from the other side of that...and I don’t see why the trucks can’t use Carlton. There is just not as many residents on that street. And that’s all I got to say. Thank you.
DB Victoria Dunham.
VD Good evening Counselors and Mayor Brown I am Victoria Dunham I live at 2000 Marchant Street. I guess I’m just going to abandon my speech at this point and just bring up a few points.
The train tracks run through my front yard, nine trains a day, doubtful, the trains usually last on average from about five to six minutes.
I have used the tunnel on Franklin Street myself now for fourteen years and as a pedestrian, a pedestrian passenger car and would gladly give that up if it means that it would help the neighborhood to one-way it I’m absolutely for that.
The trucks, when you’re on Franklin and you’re going to make a left turn onto East Market Street, the trucks that are coming around the corner literally bully you. You literally have to back up your car sometimes because they’re hell-bent on getting, pardon me, on getting around that corner. And when you see them come flying down East Market Street it’s very, very daunting. They’re going too fast for a narrow street. Their stopping distances are way too long and it’s very dangerous. And at some point a pedestrian is going to get injured or hopefully not killed. Anyway I hope that you will one-way the street.
DB I’m going to call for a ten minute recess. I’m afraid I have trouble concentrating on the remarks being made. I’m sorry to have reacted badly on this. We will resume this at quarter of.
DB OK, I’d like to call this back to order. I’d like to thank you for your indulgence. I quite frankly was angry enough that I realized I wasn’t really hearing what Miss Dunham had to say. And I felt like I wanted to make sure I gave everyone the courtesy of relaxing, taking a few deep breaths and so I could pay good attention to all the people that bothered to come here tonight to make comments. Greg Gelburd is the next speaker.
GG Mr. Mayor, Council members I’m Greg Gelburd. I live at 1612 East Market Street which is one house down from Franklin. I actually prefer a fourth... I have two options to discuss.
One is an option to just close off Franklin Street completely so that there’s kind of a wall under the bridge so that you can’t pass under Franklin Street. That I created about five thirty one morning about fifteen years ago when one of the cement trucks was coming through. They used to honk their horns about ten seconds or at least it felt like ten seconds. Now, I don’t think they honk too much at all. But that’s one option which hasn’t been discussed.
The other option is just limiting the size of the truck so that it’s smaller. I’m not sure if we’ll ever be able to make it one way, which I’d prefer personally, selfishly. I realize there’s a lot of businesses that use Franklin going both ways and even smaller trucks which would be certainly easier to handle safety wise.
The other option would be for the city to widen Franklin, widen the tunnel and take out the telephone poles and take out Chuck Taylor’s yard and make a huge thing. But that’s not going to happen. So anyway that’s all I have to say. Thanks.
DB OK. Next is Cindy Cartwright.
CC Hi. I live at 1404 East Market. And I have two young children and Mike, my youngest one who’s one, I’m kind of two sided about this because I frankly am fascinated with mixers and dump-trucks, and all the other, the big vehicles that go through our neighborhood. Even when Max was little enough I’d put him in the bjorn and I’d walk out into our front yard and I’d clip his fingernails as we watched all the trucks drive by. So it was a good distraction.
But he’s mobile now and he’s really itching to go to the street. And I can certainly keep control on that, but we do walk down East Market all the time whether we’re coming to the downtown mall or we go down to the dam or the park. And it’s risky.
I’ll never forget when I had my four year old in one hand and Max I think was in a stroller at that point, and a giant truck came by and he woke up screaming because it was so loud. And it was frankly two feet from where we were.
There’s not many sidewalks on East Market. There are occasional ones. And so we’ll try to hit those as we walk through our neighbors’ yards all the time. But it’s still, it’s a little scary.
I looked up some information about mixers in particular just because that’s what we see the most. And a man named Greg Hoyt who’s a concrete mixer driver in Nevada wrote:
“a cement mixer is unwieldy. The center of gravity is too high. The load is semi-liquid and always revolving. Stopping suddenly or taking the corner too fast can topple the whole rig. The momentum of thirty-six tons just keeps coming.”
So and then I have a picture. So this is kind of what you know, a person looks like compared to, at least a mixer coming down East Market Street. So I’d just like some traffic to be restricted. So it’s a little safer.
DB Ok. Karl Ackerman.
KA Good evening I’m Karl Ackerman. I live at 1611 East Market Street in the Woolen Mills. I come before Council tonight to request that you close Franklin Street to through truck traffic and make this street one way south.
The truck traffic problem on Franklin has worsened considerably in the fifteen years I’ve lived in the Woolen Mills and will only continue to get worse if these changes aren’t made now.
I’ve taken a look at the consultant memo to City officials that purports to describe the problem and make recommendations. Frankly I’m shocked by a number of points in the memo and most especially by the tone of the piece which sounds, makes our concerns sound, dismisses some of our concerns and gives away the conclusion: “keep talking, no immediate change is necessary”, long before the memo concludes.
I’d like to address a number of specific issues.
Number one, it describes one of the two main concerns as speeding along Franklin Street, I haven’t heard that before, that’s not the critical issue though we do have a few speeders such as the truck that, the second truck that failed to stop at the stop sign on Franklin and ended up in my neighbor’s house.
And I would like to specifically, and this may be more addressed at the City Manager because he is paying for this consultant, to note that there is a line in this memo that is just so infuriating to the neighborhood. That’s part of the civil disobedience that you experienced here tonight and I think you need to bear with us. The memo describes this incident as:
“a recent occurrence where a truck hit a house while trying to negotiate the turn at Franklin Street/East Market”
and then notes that there was only property damage.
There was no way for the writer to know that there was any attempt to try to turn. You can’t hit a house and do fifty thousand dollars in damage when you are trying to turn. It dismisses the nature of the problem and it makes it hard, in the same way that you had a hard time with the noise, it makes it hard, you have to put the memo down and come back to it later.
Nowhere in the memo does it address the fact that two vehicles cannot pass safely beneath the railroad bridge.
How many pedestrians pass beneath the bridge? There is no count although Mr. Atkins points out how many school children are waiting at the stop. These kids use Franklin Street to get to Meade Park, to get to the pool. That is, if they were to have to walk around, which no child would ever walk a half a mile further to get to the swimming pool, they are coming through that in the summer-time a lot. There is no sidewalk on Franklin except for the stretch in front of the storage.
The memo asserts that we have almost 1700 vehicles per day, 490 trucks per week. Yesterday at 4:30 I stepped outside and counted eight vehicle in two minutes, I simple don’t trust the data in this report, I don’t think that. Bill Emory took a picture when they were doing the count, the thing that went across the street was pulled up and into the middle, I think that they are missing data here.
The train traffic: I live, I work, I sleep, not nine a day, that is a red herring.
And it’s not how many per day, the trains I mostly hear in the middle of the night. The key question is how many trains run between 6:30 and 5:30 in the afternoon.
The bottom line, I think, is that Carlton Road and East Market both connect to Meade. If a truck comes into a neighborhood on Carlton or East market it should exit on the same street.
My sister visited this weekend. She was calling me from 64 to get to my house. I had given her directions to go the direct way, up Monticello, Carlton, you know, one light, two lights, take a right, you are there, she said:
“Oh no no no, I am supposed to take a right on Quarry Road.”
Does everybody know where Quarry Road is? MapQuest. It is the way, its not about people avoiding the railroad in the morning. Somebody commuting to Burnly-Moran and being afraid of being caught at the railroad, there just aren’t that many. It’s avoiding lights and following MapQuest.
DB Jennifer Ackerman
JA My name is Jenny Ackerman. I live at 1611 East Market St., caddy-corner to Franklin and I want to thank you all for taking the time to listen to us tonight. It has been a long evening. But, I’m really here to speak on behalf of my next-door neighbor, Betty Lou Scruggs, who has lived in the Woolen Mills for more than seventy years. She was born in the house she lives in now, I have some photos just for visual interest I am going to pass around to you guys.
She was born in the house she lives in now, 1609 East Market, and in many ways she is the heart of our neighborhood.
As you may know, early in the morning of July 23rd, a truck barreled down Franklin St. heading north, and crashed into her house.
The impact pulverized her front porch, destroyed her kitchen, cracked her foundation and caused structural damage throughout her house. That was two months ago. Betty Lou’s house is still unlivable; and though she herself is strong, she is still struggling to recover. Her own little Katrina.
I’d like to say this was a freak accident but it wasn’t. This is the second time in six months that a truck coming down Franklin St. has landed in Betty Lou’s front yard. Not that big eighteen-wheeler, these are smaller trucks. And they pick up speed coming out from under that railroad bridge and yes, sometimes they just miss the stop-sign, sometimes they try to make the turn. The truck that ran into her house was just going full bore, into her house. The incidents that I am describing here may or may not have been reported to the police, they certainly didn’t appear in the report to Council. But we have witnessed them. We live here; we know.
Betty Lou does not feel safe in her house and how could she? Here are some photos of the kitchen damage that was done.
I think Charlottesville wants to make its city a safe and accommodating place for its senior citizens. And here is a clear case where you City leaders can make a choice. If you are concerned about this senior citizen and her right to feel safe in the home she has occupied for seventy years, please act now. Make Franklin Street one-way going south, away from her house. And prohibit cut-through truck traffic as you have prohibited it on Park St. and Locust and Brandywine and Greenbrier and many other neighborhood streets in the city.
Safety and the other serious issues of cut through traffic on Franklin Street addressed by others tonight will not be solved by voluntary truck restriction, I think you all get that now.
I shudder to think how it might have been if Betty Lou had been sitting on her porch when that truck barreled into it, or if she had been making a cup of tea in her kitchen, or if she had been going down her front walk to pick up her newspaper. Would we still be discussing the need for this change? And is that what we are waiting for?
Please. Safety of citizens over convenience to business. Needs of the neighborhood over those of cut-through traffic. Thank you all for your time and for your service to our city.
DB Thank you. Chris Carter? Is Chris Carter here?
NO ID He had to leave I think
NO ID Went home to play with his grand children
DB OK, Donna Shaunesey?
DS Hello, I am Donna Shaunesey, I live at 1003 Birdwood Road. Actually, I originally came when I saw the article in the paper this morning cause at JAUNT, we are down in Hog-Waller and we do come through that way so we were a little concerned about not having north-bound access.
In light of all the stories we’ve heard, I think its not such an issue for use. We do use that path to get to the Mary Williams Senior Center from JAUNT.
And also we are required as you know, to operate even when there is snow, by federal law, and taking Franklin is the only non-uphill way to get out of our little downhill part of the town. It’s not a huge issue. Public works does a great job of plowing and putting us at the head of their list for plowing to make sure we can get out of there. But occasionally, we do have to go that way and that is our only way in and out for when traffic gets difficult.
That being said, I am not here to oppose it, I just wanted to throw out those two issues from our point of view.
But I am taking off my Jaunt hat and putting on my Donna Shaunesey biker hat and I bike back and forth to work and I would like to be able to go both ways through Franklin, I go that way because there is less traffic and otherwise I’d have to be out on a much more dangerous road. So, if you do make it one-way can you put up an exemption for cyclists please?
That’s my request, thankyou.
DB Is there anyone else who would like to speak?
JS Hi, my name is John Semmelhack, I live at 1403 Chesapeake Street. Just very quickly I want to reiterate Laura Covert’s point earlier that we request to designate Chesapeake Street as one-way. It’s is not trying to push, I am sorry, I live on Chesapeake Street, Franklin Street one-way. We are not trying to push all the traffic to the Carlton neighborhood. We feel that it’ll create half the traffic will be going up Carlton, half the traffic will be able to come down Market Street and it will be a more equitable distribution of the traffic. Thank you.
AE Allison Ewing, 1900 Chesapeake Street, very quickly.
I am the former president of the neighborhood association and we had a meeting about a year ago on traffic calming and the neighborhood voted overwhelmingly in support of turning Franklin into one-way. I just wanted to say that the neighborhood is sympathetic to those, very sympathetic to those people who live on, or near or are affected by the kind of traffic coming to Franklin Street.
And the other issue is that the neighborhood has a problem with our industrial neighbors and we would like to push back on the industrial encroachment on our neighborhood, and this is just one piece of this. So I hope you all will vote in support of turning Franklin into one way. Thankyou.
WS My name is Wayne Shaner and I live in the County but I do own a business on Broadway Street. I have been there for twenty years. We operate as the Overhead Door Company of Charlottesville, and we do have eighteen employees, a fair amount of them live in the City and they use that to come back and forth to work.
I am opposed to making it one-way. We do have trucks they are small trucks. But not once in the twenty years that we’ve been in business and been on Broadway Street have we ever been in any accident or had any problems going in and out of East Market.
No one in the twenty years that I’ve been there has approached us, has talked to us at all about truck traffic as causing any problems or anything else.
When I learned of this I was really appalled that there was a traffic study going on, the Neighborhood Association is up in arms, but nobody has the decency to contact us businesses and ask us for our input in it. Thank you
DB Thank you
BJD I am Betty Jo Dominick returning with Mr. Brown's permission, 1610 East Market street, because I wanted to explain Bill’s use of the noise. I was supposed to ask permission to play the noise tape and I forgot. And I think Bill, in the adrenalin of caring so much about our neighborhood issue just thought it would be ok to turn it on. But, we wanted to make sure that no-one thought that that was a planned way to do that. And I guess the main point I just want to end with because I really was trying to speak to the bigger issue beyond the concrete trucks. There is a much bigger issue that can’t be controlled.
One reason I think the neighborhood hasn’t thought to approach individual businesses, because it is a bigger picture, and where we live, we see all of it, that is beyond each individual business. It’s hard to control something like that. You have employees, I’ve had a business, I know what its like to control employees…
DB If you could wrap up your comments please
BJD …that we should address a much bigger issue than individual businesses (unintelligible)
DB: Is there anyone else that would like to make a comment?
LSY My name is Lyle Solla-Yates, I live at 1703 East Market Street. Look at my notes here. I’d really like to see some better data on this issue, I’d love to see a real origin-destination study, I’d be happy to volunteer for it, I’ll go out there, I’ll get my clip-board.
I believe, just from my own observations, the trucks cutting through Franklin that are going northbound are sort of sneaking around Meade, 250, 29 north and points beyond. I think that is the main issue which I would believe could be dealt with by Broadway, Meade. Broadway is a wider road, it can better handle that.
As was pointed out, it can handle more traffic and yet it has less traffic than Market. I think that option is there but for whatever reason isn’t being taken. I think there is a win-win solution possible.
DB OK, thank-you. Someone else who would like to make a comment? You guys are sure? OK. I’ll close the public hearing and open it to Council discussion. Don’t everybody speak at once.
KL I’ll, I guess I can start things off. This is a, as the neighbors have alluded to, this has been a problem that has been going on for a while. I’ve been down at that intersection many times, I’ve used it as a pedestrian cyclist, vehicle driver, and I’ve toured it with the neighborhood.
Personally, I think the best thing for this intersection would simply be to have no through trucks. I don’t support one-way in either direction because that is really cutting the mobility of the neighborhood down on both sides. There are neighborhoods on both sides of that street that need to get back and forth. On one side you’ve got access to 64, I think no matter what we do we better make sure we communicate that to whoever gets information into MapQuest because that seems to be an issue. I am sure it’s a question of how to get on to 64. There is a short-cut to 64 if you go that way.
Again, I don’t think we are going to be able to come up with something that solves 100% of the problem for everybody. But, having looked at it for, I guess,five years now, my sense is that restricting it to trucks would solve 80% of the problem, and it wouldn’t get everybody completely happy but I think it has minimum impact that solves the most problems. I think the commercial users that are down in that area can still use Carlton Avenue to get up to Meade. We’ve mentioned about the railroad track, I use businesses over there, I use that grocery store all the time. I cross that, maybe 1 in 25, you have to wait for the train tracks if that, maybe 1 in 50. It’s just not that common an occurrence. I’ll leave it at that.
DB Other comments?
JT I guess one of the concerns I have is I hear a lot of the businesses saying they really no one contacted them. I know there is a problem down there with the traffic, no doubt about that. And I guess that personally I’d lean toward trying to get these people involved first and see if there is any way we can work this out as a group. If that can’t be done we put it in a time frame, and if that can’t be done we’ll have to come back and do something about it. I’ve heard from several people, like Mr Shaner tonight, and I heard from two other people, business people, and said they were never contacted. Now, that may not solve the problem but I think we ought to give that a try first.
DB Other comments?
DN I think it is highly unfortunate that affected business owners were not consulted and I think it is even more unfortunate that there is nobody here tonight speaking on behalf of the many residents on the other side of the tracks, most of whom are very low income but will be directly affected by whatever decision that we make.
Having said that, I would support Mr. Lynch’s proposal on banning through trucks. But I am very concerned about the traffic impacts on the other side of the tracks and for that and other reasons I can’t, at this point, support making it one way.
KH Well, I guess I’d like to start by saying that I lived for six years at 1509 East Market Street so that I have experienced first hand a lot of the conditions that people here are talking about tonight.
I don’t think that it makes any sense at all for four axle trucks to be trying to make a left turn, or a right turn from Franklin onto East Market, there is no way and no reason that any truck should be coming through, you know, in that kind of a condition.
But I’d really, if it is reasonable for the neighborhood to make this request, and certainly this is something that has been on the neighborhood’s, maybe not on the total front-burner, I think it has been pushed there fairly recently because of some of the recent events. It is certainly something that has been discussed for a long time and it is certainly reasonable for the neighborhood to sit down with the residents of the trailer community and with the business owners to find out what is the best way to proceed.
Everyone’s voice should be heard. And just by virtue of the number of children on East Market Street as compared with the number of children that are living in that trailer community in Carlton. And it may not look like very many people to you Mr. Riggs but I would imagine that the density in that trailer court is equal to the density on East Market Street.
When I hear people making emotional testimony about the fear and trembling that their children experience at the loud noises I wonder what is the experience of the children in that trailer community whose walls are not anywhere as near as thick as the walls of a house.
If all of that traffic is re-routed south of Carlton that is going to have an undeniable impact. And so, I would like to explore all of the voices before I make a decision, a final decision.
Lets see… One of the things we have to consider is the differences in topography. On Carlton there is a very serious slope as someone alluded to, and so that probably has something to do with some of the truck traffic.
There is also the issue of MapQuest. I am sure they would not be happy to receive a threat of a lawsuit from the City of Charlottesville. Considering the fact that they are creating danger on our streets by routing trucks, truck traffic this way. There has got to be some way for us to get some kind of relief through our City Attorney, to take care of this situation and I would like to have our City Manager and our City Attorney explore this possibility.
I appreciate the neighborhood bringing all of these issues forward to us, but the reason it has taken a long time is that it’s a complicated question and it doesn’t just involve the neighbors of the Woolen Mills community, for which I have great affection, having lived there for so many years and having left, with such great reluctance.
The Woolen Mills, though it feels like city in the country, really isn't. It was, it started out as an industrial community and it is completely embedded in an industrial network, to the south, to the east, to the north, and Interstates on the other side. So, any decision that we make will impact all those other sectors.
So, I can say that we will work speedily. I do feel though however that that the business owners should have an opportunity to speak, an opportunity to offer, proffer something, that may, that you may find of benefit. And, if it’s taken five years then another month can’t hurt.
So, I am not yet ready to vote, take a final vote on what we do, I would like for the neighbors to sit down and I would like Habitat to be at the table also because Habitat is about to do a major redevelopment at the Sunset Trailer park. And I think that all of these issues need to be fully explored.
DB It is a complex issue. I think I learned just how complex. Its not as simple as concrete trucks. Its not as, none of the proposed solutions don’t come with their own sets of problems. That said, its kind of illuminating to have MapQuest be sort of the villain here.
I am very comfortable with banning the through trucks and I am pretty comfortable actually with doing that and making it one-way. I think this is I think there is a couple of different levels of issues and none of these solutions by themselves really deal with all the issues.
Having said that, and I think there is certainly a consensus on Council that at least wants to eliminate through trucks, I also am very respectful of a process that makes sure that every voice feels like it gets to be heard. The business owners, the residents who live on Carlton.
Just talking to the business owners, doesn’t seem to me, from what I’ve heard tonight, doesn’t really get at a lot of the truck issues, it only gets at, it gets at, in some ways it gets at the truck issues that are in some ways are irritating but not as dangerous. Its not the trucks getting stuck and turning around in peoples’ yards and its also not the trucks that have ended up crashing into a house.
So I would be agreeable to going ahead with the through trucks but I would also be very comfortable with waiting until the next meeting just to consider that if there is some way we want to get some additional input. I’ll leave it to the rest of the council to help sort that through.
Part of me wonders if there isn’t some mechanical way of dealing with the front yard of Mrs., I’ve forgotten her name, I am sorry.
KH Miz Scruggs
DB Scruggs. If there isn’t some mechanical way like a rock wall that would insure safety at that residence at the same time, not necessarily require one-waying of the street. I am certainly supportive of eliminating through trucks and I am pretty sympathetic to making it one way. And I’ll await the pleasure of Council, do we want to act tonight?
KL I’d be comfortable acting tonight to make it no through trucks and I think it is important to recognize, its not, I don’t think it is primarily the local businesses around that area that are the main problem. It seems to me whether you call it MapQuest or however you define it, the real issue is that if you are coming from points east on 64, that’s the way you come into town and you don’t hit a single traffic light until you get to Market and Meade. And so, truckers are going to know that route and they are going to take it. I think by restricting the no through trucks, we’re not only solving this problem at this local area here, but we are also making Franklin Street a lot safer, Franklin Street has tons more kids than any street on the other side of the train tracks that I know of that are out there, playing in it on a regular basis every-time I go by there. So, by making that less attractive as a way to get from 64 to the center of town, if I were a trucker that is probably how I would go unless someone said “No, you can’t go that way.” So I think we need to…
KH But they don’t know that they can’t make the turn when they get to the end..
KL Well, if we are able to define if there is no through trucks, then that will cease to exist as a short-cut through town. I think for the other businesses, Broadway, whether you are on Carlton or Broadway, there is access into the center of town using Carlton which is primarily a commercial street. There is some residential on it. But I think that that provides a workable network.
As we go forward I’d really like to see another parallel road between Carlton and Market Street, opening up that industrial area back there, but that is for another day.
DB OK, this does take a second reading which would allow some time in between if someone wants to make a motion on banning truck traffic.
KL So move
DB Is there a second?
DB OK, so that will carry over to the next meeting.
DN If I can offer a further suggestion, I’d like to see some consideration made towards putting stop signs on either side of the overpass, the train overpass to help to slow down that traffic on Franklin as well.
DB OK, thank all of you for coming…
KH One last thing. I would really like, before we come back for the second meeting, for the neighborhood and the business community to come back together and tell us about the results of their conversation.
DB OK. Thanks everybody. Next item on the agenda is a public hearing on the sale of right of way on Concord Avenue.