Take Action: Support the Monticello Connector Path

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Image of Route 20 median and Monticello Trail head
Among myriad other benefits, a connector along Route 20 would significantly reduce the need for parking at the Saunders Monticello Trail–and even make it accessible by bus. More ways to get there will make physical distancing easier. Photo by Peter Krebs, Flickr

Dear Active Mobility Advocate,

The proposal to design and build a shared-use path along Route 20 from Charlottesville to the newly reopened Saunders Monticello Trail faces a crucial test at the Wednesday, June 17, Albemarle Board of Supervisors meeting.

Your voice can make a difference!

A project with enormous benefit

The Metropolitan Planning Organization is proposing to request VDOT SmartScale funds to design and build a shared-use path that would use portions of the median of Route 20 to go from the City line to College Drive, with new crosswalks, connections to PVCC’s Stultz Center, the Saunders Monticello Trail and the Rivanna Trail. This would extend the City’s improvements to Monticello Avenue (slated for this summer) and tie into a second proposed SmartScale project from the Monticello trailhead to the neighborhoods below Monticello High School.

The project accomplishes many goals. It reconnects the two halves of a World Heritage Site, allows people to walk or bike to the region’s premier outdoor destination, makes it possible to reach PVCC and Albemarle’s Southern Neighborhood area without a car, improves one of the worst sections of Bike Route 76 and eliminates hundreds of thousands of vehicle trips.

From a standpoint of health, economics, quality of life, and the environment it would be a major win.

★ How you can help ★

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors will discuss all of Albemarle’s proposed SmartScale applications (including this one) at their next meeting. They will effectively decide whether the grant application should go forward.

Although the shared-use path has a lot of support, it is important for the decision-makers to know where you stand. Please join with us in supporting this critical connection and the need for a sensitive design process that ensures the protection of our natural assets and the safety of future trail users of all ages.

Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
Wednesday, June 17, 1 p.m. Online
[Meeting Info | Join Meeting | Sign up to Speak | Leave an e-comment]

If you would like to comment, you will need to do so at the beginning of the meeting during public comment. You can also email or call Supervisors. When you do, tell them why the project is important to you specifically.

It’s a good solution to a complicated problem.

One of the challenging aspects of this project is the prior planting of a memorial grove of trees within the median of Rt. 20. As an original founder of the Journey through Hallowed Ground, we recognize the importance of these trees and what they represent. We believe that any trail should minimize the disturbance to these important assets, recognize their memorial function, and ensure that any loss of trees be mitigated in a way that recognizes their importance to the canopy and their symbolism. Further, we believe sensitive design can tackle this in an appropriate fashion and we are committed to that outcome.

An additional question has been raised: what about alternatives–is there a better way to make this connection? While we agree that this is not the perfect solution, it accomplishes a lot. Moreover, it is the only option that has a real shot of getting built promptly enough for this generation of residents to use and a cost-effective approach. We will absolutely pursue non-road connections later, but we can’t wait for them.

If the Board affirms the application, the conversation will continue at a June 25 (6:30 p.m.) online workshop that will be used to further improve the proposal.

Map of Route 20 Shared Use Path route
Route of proposed Route 20 shared-use path. Map by Peter Krebs, PEC.

Join PEC

The work I am doing to foster a more connected Albemarle and Charlottesville is supported by member contributions. Please consider joining or donating. The Piedmont Environmental Council does much more than connect communities and advocate for smart land use policies. We also work with the citizens of our nine-county region to conserve land, protect water quality, restore wildlife habitat, promote local food systems and sustainable energy, preserve historic resources and much more.

Please forward this email to your friends and colleagues who are passionate about walking, biking and connecting communities to the outdoors. More voices will help accelerate needed change. And sign up directly if someone forwarded this to you and you would like to join our connectivity advocacy list!

I look forward to seeing you soon–either at a virtual meeting or on the sidewalk or trail–from a safe distance!


Peter Krebs headshot

Peter Krebs
Albemarle-Charlottesville Community Organizer
The Piedmont Environmental Council
410 East Water Street,
Charlottesville, VA 22902