Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Update on Monticello Road Extended

Monticello Road continues hidden and abandoned on the other side of Interstate 64. There is a plan to bridge + tunnel to that right-of-way for safe pedestrian access from Charlottesville to Monticello.

Our friend Michaux, who is a Monticello Road resident and project participant, was the most recent of several people to ask me about the plan to extend Monticello Road to—ahem—Monticello, via multiuse trail.

Such a connection would be a game-changer for the City and the World Heritage Site with a rare grand slam of benefits: health+fitness, access an unusual ecosystem, both social and political history and non-auto connectivity. When I mentioned it to a planner friend the other day he said, “Oh, you won’t have to sell that idea—it’s obvious.”

It's something I've been monitoring and wondering what's up so I reached out to Chris Gensic, Charlottesville’s trail coordinator, who is the author of the idea and an effective champion. Here’s what he said:
We are working now with Monticello and Mr. Dulaney* to secure trail easements needed. Once those are in place, we can pursue the funding (more than $1million) to build a tunnel under 64 and few bridges to connect the old right of way, which would get us to Route 53 at Michie Tavern. Longer term would include a bridge over 53.

My best guess is it will be at least 3 years before the tunnel is in place, if we can get the funding. We will keep plugging away at it!
I was positively surprised to hear that time frame. We’ll keep checking in with Chris and, when the time come, mobilize to support this amazing plan. Hopefully more soon...

* Mr Delaney owns the gas station at the foot of Monticello Road, as well as other surrounding parcels. The route would directly impact his property and probably pass through it.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The People of Monticello Road: Remembering Alex Caines

Alex was one of the most supportive people I've ever met.

News of Alex Caines’ passing flowed quickly through social media and when a remembrance page popped up on Facebook, one of his friends pointed to the irony that arguably the most social guy in town did not play in that sphere.

“Alex was a live, face-to-face interacting person. I think it's great that Alex never had a need for Facebook or other social media. Belmont and Downtown were his social media.”

Running into Alex on the street or at an event, as happened on a more-than-weekly basis, was the capital form of interaction with Alex. It always led to a conversation and often an invitation to the table for an extended visit.

In an earlier post, I pointed out the well-accepted fact that he was the Mayor of Belmont, with a specialty in nightlife. There was an admiration for his ability to know everyone and to seemingly be everywhere at the same time. He always knew where the action was but now that he’s gone, I can see that there was more to the designation. In a very real way, he was our leader.