In the upcoming months, the Board of Visitors will be considering making changes to the Emmet/Ivy corridor. The discussion — which may begin as early as next week’s Board of Visitors meeting — will include plans to improve the area at the entrance of the University.
The project, which began about a year and a half ago with a board resolution, is taking a phased approach.
The first phase primarily involves changes to the area south of the railroad tracks at the intersection of Emmet Street and Ivy Road.
“The Phase I planning that’s under consideration would create very significant green space at the intersection, would take down the existing Cavalier Inn and also significantly improve the traffic and pedestrian situation for the intersection, with the goal of improving the connectivity between Central Grounds and North Grounds as well,” Kevin Fay, the board’s Building and Grounds Committee chairman, said.
At a board retreat in August, University architect Alice Raucher noted that over the past 10 years, the intersection of Emmet Street and Ivy Road has seen a “decrease in vehicular traffic” and an “increase in pedestrian traffic.”
“What we want for the University environment is to make it friendlier for bicyclers and pedestrians,” Raucher said.
The renovations will be a collaborative process with the city of Charlottesville, which has allotted $12.1 million out of the $33 million it received from a Smart Scale grant for improvements to the streetscape, bicycle traffic and pedestrian traffic, Raucher told the board.
In addition, the number of University Transit System and Charlottesville Area Transit bus stops will be consolidated.
Another aspect of the first phase involves creating more green space, which will be primarily achieved through the demolition of The Cavalier Inn, an idea which has been well-received by other members of the BOV, Fay said.
“I think it creates a much more welcoming environment, a much more social environment, as well as a much greener environment in terms of utilization by the students of the University community as well as others in the Charlottesville community,” Fay said.
The green space will also help create a better connection to North Grounds.
“There’s very little to no connectivity across the tracks into North Grounds,” Raucher said. “If we develop the central green, that in itself becomes a connection up to North Grounds.”
Other goals of Phase I include shielding the Emmet/Ivy Garage with newer buildings.
Suggestions for the new buildings range from new hotel space, conference space, academic space or a visitors’ center, Fay said.
“The board is going to have to consider sometime this year and determine whether it wants to pursue Phase I proposal,” Fay said. “It’s possible that some of that can come up next week at our board meeting. If not, we certainly hope to have it on the agenda no later than the December meeting.”
Money from the Smart Scale grant must be spent within the next five years, and Fay said it’s possible physical changes will be happening as soon as the next 12-18 months.