CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Making a major entryway into downtown Charlottesville took center stage at the city’s PLACE Design Task Force meeting Thursday, November 8.

One of the concerns mentioned during the meeting was that people who don’t own cars tend to not feel safe when going downtown.

The new planned design will help people on foot make a safe trek downtown.

The East High Street corridor and Market Street currently serve as entryways to downtown. The project runs on Market Street, 7th Street, 9th Street, and from Locust Avenue to 10th Street.

The new design will include wider five-to-six-foot sidewalks on both sides of the street, reintroduce street trees, and increase bike space by about a half mile.

Brian McPeters, the project manager with Kimley-Horn, says creating additional room for pedestrians adds balance to the area.

“This is an opportunity to introduce that balance, to be able to put some space to use for pedestrians and not just vehicles,” McPeters said. “At the same time, we still have to move the same number of vehicles and do it in a safe manner."

The project is estimated to cost $5.5 million, and it’ll be funded through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s funding mechanism called SMART SCALE.

A design is expected to be selected in December, and construction is scheduled to start in spring 2020. The work is expected to take six to nine months to complete.