First look at options for the future of Free Bridge Lane

Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 2:57 AM EST

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Pantops Community Advisory Committee looked at two possible options for the future of Free Bridge Lane. More than fifty people showed up to listen and weigh in.

The first option is the “Promenade Design” which turns the entire street into a pedestrian and biking trail.

The second option is the “One Way Design” which leaves a one-way road for vehicles but expands the existing trail.

“If we continue to promote vehicular traffic, we are doing nothing to save the planet. We are doing nothing to improve air quality. This is a golden opportunity for people to walk and maintain strolling in a fresh air environment,” Sara Robinson, a resident of Riverside Village and supporter of the promenade design, said.

When asked to raise their hand to show which option they preferred, almost every person at the meeting supported the promenade design.

“I think the one or two voices that weren’t sure or maybe were thinking about ‘One Way’ weren’t concerned about the vehicle traffic they were they were concerned about the future development would it include a protected lane for pedestrians and a protected lane or a separate lane for bicyclists and those are things that are easily able to be obtained,” Robinson said.

The lane currently connects Richmond Road to Darden Towe Park, but people who live near it say it’s mainly used as a shortcut. That is part of the reason supervisor Bea Lapisto-Kirtley is in favor of the change.

“I think the only people that would support the one-way road are maybe the speeders that go down there,” Lapisto-Kirtley said.

The development comes from a recommendation in the 2019 Pantops Master Plan.

There will be another chance for public feedback at the Albemarle Cunty Board of Supervisors on march first.

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