In brief: 29’s new bridge, Lee’s new paint job and more

The new Berkmar Bridge. Skyclad Aerial The new Berkmar Bridge. Skyclad Aerial

Berkmar’s parallel path

Governor Terry McAuliffe and Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne, along with about 70 other prominent guests, stood before the finally open (but not finished) Berkmar Drive extension on July 6. This is one of VDOT’s eight ventures included in its $230 million Route 29 Solutions design-build project package.

When the governor first began campaigning in Charlottesville and Albemarle four years ago, he said people were angry about their roads, and Bill Crutchfield, a local entrepreneur, likely made the most noise. “Tell Bill the road is here,” McAuliffe said, drawing laughter. And later he added, “You can bike, you can run, you can walk, you can do whatever you want.”

One of Berkmar Drive’s two new roundabouts. Skyclad Aerial

The deets:

  • 2.3 miles long
  • 2 roundabouts (one on each end)
  • 35mph speed limit
  • $55 million
  • Bike lane, sidewalk and 10’ multi-use path
  • Extends Berkmar Drive from Hilton Heights Road to Towncenter Drive
  • Includes a bridge from the South Fork Rivanna River

Lee attacked

Photo Eze Amos

As if there weren’t enough going on July 8, on the morning of the KKK rally, the statue of General Robert E. Lee was discovered vandalized with red paint and tagged with “Native land.” Crews had the statue cleaned up in short order, and police have surveillance video from two recently installed cameras in Emancipation Park.


“The Charlottesville Police Department, the Virginia State Police and the City of Charlottesville owe our citizens an accurate account both of what happened on July 8 and why.”—Mayor Mike Signer

Plugging the new meters

City Council voted July 6 to charge $1.80 an hour for the parking meters that will be installed on the Downtown Mall perimeter. To take the sting out of paid street parking, the first hour is free at Market Street Garage, and then the rate goes to $1.50 an hour. And low-wage earners can get $6.50 a day vouchers from their employers to park in the Market Street Garage.

Kroger abandons Seminole Square plans

A year ago the grocer announced a 100,000-square-foot, $28 million store in the space Giant previously occupied. On July 6, Kroger announced it had decided to stay put in its Emmet Street location. No word from Hobby Lobby, which reportedly was set to move into the vacated space, but Kroger holds a lease in Seminole Square that the store might want to look at.

Not amused

Kings Dominion closed the Tornado, one of the amusement park’s water slides, July 5 when UVA medical assistant Christina Orebaugh hit her head on the ride and “almost drowned,” according to a Facebook post by her husband, Steve, who says she is concussed, broke her collarbone and toe and fractured her shoulder. The ride is closed until further notice.

In the Vault

James Barton in front of a Clay Witt painting in the boardroom. Staff photo

Fifty offices carrying the name Vault Virginia are under construction in the historic Bradbury and former Bank of America building on the Downtown Mall, where a luxury steakhouse will fill the first floor. James Barton, who also created Studio IX, says the local creative class will use his new communal workspace as another place to put their brains together.

About half of Vault Virginia’s spaces are still for rent, with prices ranging from $1,500 to $2,500 per month. A desk space costs $450 per month and for $100 less, you can sit in any community area. Workers passing through town can purchase a day pass for $50.

Barton dubs the aesthetic as a place where commercial meets residential. We’re talking pendant lighting and glass walls, folks. The building also has three event spaces, room for
three art galleries, a cafe, a library
and a kitchen, and Barton plans to eventually make showers and bicycle parking available.

Similar to Jaffray Woodriff’s concept at the Charlottesville Technology Center, Barton says he’s seeing a trend of communal workspaces. “This is a small part of a bigger vision.”

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