It seems we here at C-VILLE have kind of a thing about reporting while using alternate modes of transportation. Just as this week’s cover story stems from a walk through as-yet-incomplete Hollymead Town Center, some of our favorite stories from the archives grew from walks and bike rides. Our reporters have slogged through parks and pounded city pavement and pedaled along the Rivanna Trail, notebooks stuffed in backpacks or clutched in hand along with a water bottle.
Last fall, Chiara Canzi put on her helmet to test Charlottesville’s bike-friendliness and found it has some significant weak spots. (“I planned to turn onto Jefferson Park Avenue when the pickup cut me off. In a matter of seconds I was surrounded by what looked like a million cars honking. I could have grabbed my heart by how fast it was beating,” she wrote.)
John Borgmeyer took a different kind of carless journey in 2003 when he wrote about Lynn Wiber, a local woman who was employed and well-educated and also homeless. On a freezing evening, she and John left Barnes & Noble, where she had a job, and walked south along Emmet Street, talking about her situation. For John, it was a way to understand her life. For Lynn Wiber, it was a way to keep warm.
Paging through the archives
“As Wiber passes Harris Teeter, she mentions that before she found regular shelter she would often spend the night sitting in the 24-hour grocery’s café, reading one of the more than 400 books she has borrowed from Barnes & Noble since she began her employment there in August 2000. Checking out books is an employee prerequisite Wiber says has proved invaluable in the fight against boredom that comes with homelessness.
“‘I can just get into a book and ship my mind off to somewhere else,’ she says…
“A black Ford Explorer pulls alongside her. The tinted window drops halfway, and a pink-cheeked face yells out something unintelligible. The truck roars up Arlington Boulevard.
“‘The best and the brightest,’ Wiber says. She laughs with a tinge of bitterness. ‘They’ve been given everything, and they think they’re entitled to it.’”
March 11, 2003
September 9, 2008