West Main Streetscape

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West Main Streetscape


Project Overview

1. Preserve and enhance urban qualities
2. Improve pedestrian and vehicular circulation
Cost $31 million
Location Charlottesville
Sponsor Charlottesville, University of Virginia
Next meeting TBA

Status Update

Project to improve streetscape on West Main Street from JPA to Ridge/McIntire. It will include wider sidewalks, street trees, lighting and undergrounding of utilities. Funded portions will include $750,000 to match University of Virginia for portion from JPA to Roosevelt Brown Boulevard, and $300,000 to match developer for portion from Ridge to 4th Street. Kimley-Horn designing portion from JPA to Roosevelt Brown Boulevard.

Contact Alexander Ikefuna, Director, Neighborhood Development Services, Charlottesville

The West Main Streetscape is a coordinated plan in development that would make West Main Street more welcoming to pedestrians and safer for bicycles. It will be built in phases. [1]

The city has paid nearly $2 million over multiple years to the firm Rhodeside & Harwell to create the plan. Their work continues at a time when West Main is experiencing rapid transformation. Council approved a concept in March 2016 after much study. [2] they also readjusted the zoning on the street.

The firm is currently working on a schematic drawings to inform the final construction documents. Those will not be ready until the spring of 2018. [3]

In October 2017, City Council agreed to split the project into phases and to pursue VDOT Revenue Sharing to help cover the $31 million cost. The city has allocated $10 million from its Capital Improvement Program for the project. [1]

On November 15, 2019, Charlottesville City Council directs staff to prepare plan to remove Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark Statue. At this work session it was also stated that the first phase would get under construction in 2021. [4]

Ambox notice.png This article documents a current event. Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.

History of the plan

The slip lane for right-bound turns onto Ridge Street would be removed under the plan

In November 2012, the PLACE Design Task Force was asked to weigh in on the project given that construction of the Marriott Residence Inn at 301 West Main was expected to begin in 2013, and that other student housing complexes were planned including the Flats at West Village. [5]

At a meeting in February 2013, Council agreed to spend up to $350,000 on the study. [6]

As the study continued throughout the summer of 2014, representatives of churches such as First Baptist Church wanted their need for on-street parking to be considered. [7] The process was slightly slowed down to make sure all stakeholders were heard.

The plan did not have the support of a majority of City Council as was revealed when Mayor Satyendra Huja revealed in January 2015 that he felt it was incoherent. [8]

Council approved the plan in March 2016. The Board of Architectural Review was briefed on progress towards the schematic drawings on October 10, 2016. [3]

The preliminary cost estimate to implement the streetscape has been consistent around $30 million, though that number could change as the construction documents are finalized.

Council has set aside $10 million for the project in the five-year capital improvement project and applied for $18.3 million in funding through the second round of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Smart Scale process. [9] They were unsuccessful. [10]


A subset of the study was to look at the zoning of the street. The recommendation was made to convert the street's two zoning into western and eastern districts as opposed to south and north districts enacted during the 2003 rezoning.


  • January 14, 2016: Steering committee shown three concepts being considered [11]
  • February 9, 2016: City Planning Commission passes zoning changes for third time [12]
  • March 7, 2016: Council holds first reading on eliminating special use permits for additional height [13]

Coordinates:Erioll world.svg.png 38°01′54″N 78°29′27″W / 38.031648°N 78.490813°W / 38.031648; -78.490813

  • March 21, 2016: Council approves streetscape, partially approves zoning changes by eliminating special use permits for height increase. Planning Commission directed to study permits for additional density [2]
  • October 10, 2016: Board of Architectural Review gets sneak preview of schematics [14]
  • May 15, 2017: Council appproves preliminary design schematics for the project [15]
  • October 16, 2017: Council agrees to split project into phases in order to apply for revenue-sharing funds from VDOT [1]

Existing conditions

On-street parking

There are approximately 90 on-street parking spaces on the road between JPA and Ridge-McIntire. [7] Dena Rhodeside identified the potential for as many as 4,000 new and existing parking spaces within 600 feet of West Main.

Photo gallery


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Web. Council breaks West Main Street plans into multiple phases, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, October 17, 2017, retrieved November 25, 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Web. Council chooses path for West Main streetscape, partially approves rezoning, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, March 22, 2016, retrieved December 31, 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Web. Charlottesville architecture panel gets peek at West Main schematics, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, October 10, 2016, retrieved October 17, 2016.
  4. Web. City Council votes to remove Lewis-Clark-Sacagawea statue, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, November 15, 2019, retrieved November 17, 2019. Print. November 16, 2019 page A1.
  5. Web. PLACE task force considers West Main and Belmont Bridge, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, November 9, 2012, retrieved November 12, 2012.
  6. Web. City to jumpstart West Main improvements, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, February 24, 2013, retrieved October 27, 2014.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Web. West Main church, businesses want their needs considered in study, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, May 6, 2014, retrieved October 27, 2014.
  8. Web. http://www.cvilletomorrow.org/news/article/19990-west-main-critique/, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 21, 2015, retrieved December 20, 2015.
  9. Web. MPO signs off on area transportation funding requests, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, September 28, 2016, retrieved October 17, 2016.
  10. Web. Albemarle projects score well in initial steps of VDOT funding process, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 17, 2017, retrieved December 15, 2017.
  11. Web. West Main group reviews three concepts for streetscape, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 14, 2016, retrieved December 27, 2016.
  12. Web. Charlottesville panel recommends West Main rezoning for third time, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, February 9, 2016, retrieved December 29, 2016.
  13. Web. Charlottesville City Council close to making West Main height change, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, March 8, 2016, retrieved December 31, 2016.
  14. Web. Charlottesville architecture panel gets peek at West Main schematics, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, October 10, 2016, retrieved January 11, 2017.
  15. Web. Council approves schematic design for West Main, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, May 16, 2017, retrieved December 29, 2017.

External links