outskirts: life and times in charlottesville

…small town life

As everyone knows (unless you live under a rock), Obama is rolling in to town. In a small village like Charlottesville this is going to cause massive change in our daily existence. Almost every road in this metropolitan (by ancient Mesopotamian levels) will be shut down for most of the day.

Since no signs are allowed I’ve heard that local protesters plan to wear t-shirts underneath their sweatshirts and do a unified striptease to reveal their body signature. Based on the proportion of locals I really hope they don’t accidentally pull their tees off with their sweatshirts.

Roads and businesses have been shut down during the visit, but the biggest threat to our civility is the cancellation of local school dances. It has been alleged that students are demanding some E in exchange for the cancellation. Dances may get cancelled, but those students need their fun.

The last thing I’ve heard is that a local band may do a rendition of Baracka Flacka Flames at the musical marshmallow this evening. Can’t wait to see the video of that on local news.

In a drastic change in policy the city elders have decided it is time to shake things up a bit. Garrett Street is where almost all commuters who work on the downtown mall park. This has been the case for years. Due to excessive crime in the area it became a no parking zone from 9pm-5am (although the city likes to deny the crime but could never explain the reason for the parking ban at those hours). That 9pm cutoff was brutal on the local dining spots, since everyone wanted to leave early. On the other hand, it was great for local law enforcement in terms of income.

New signs begin to appear.

Two hour parking is about to become law.

In the past few days a number of the 9am-5pm signs began to vanish. Were they being stolen? Did they just need some fresh paint? Well, today the new signs began to appear. It won’t make the local commuters happy.

The 9pm-5am No Parking sign is gone.

The 9pm-5am No Parking sign is gone.

The commuter area is now going to be two hour parking during the workday (plus Saturday). An anonymous elder claims that this will bring more foot traffic to the mall and thus greater income for all Crapshaw-based businesses. People will only have two hours to pop in, buy, and leave. That is the theory. In reality thought, this will be the end of the C-Ville world as we know it.

A large number of people will become employed as car rotators, and entire businesses may take “moving minutes” every two hours to do a quick shift of a dozen cars. Two feet forward, one foot back.

The good news is that you’ll now be able to stay out late for dinner without having to worry about parking. Of course, your car might have a broken window or be entirely gone when you get back. How long will it be before people are brave enough to park overnight? That should be interesting.

These were the signs during construction, when some got buried.

These were the signs during construction, when some got buried.

An anonymous source says this is only the first step. Two hour parking meters are most likely to go in next spring. Two hours will cost you $2. The source is really hoping that commuters start using the parking ramps, which typically reach 65% of capacity during a typical day.

The next week or so might get a bit rowdy. I wonder if the YouTube footage of the C-Ville outrage and riots will get international coverage? OK…get to it people..raise some hell. Or else just give in and move your car every two hours.

Update: The following information has been sent to me. A parking report can be downloaded, along with a petition form. The following statement was received from Tipster S.

The only way we’re going to get our parking back (and keep the parking we have) is to call the City and complain (See contact below).

It appears based upon report, the City will convert almost all, if not all parking, around Garret area to either 2 hour or residential permit, includes Monticello.

Not sure what location the City expects full time downtown workers to park that do not have parking paid for in garages. The garages couldn't accommodate all full time anyway; they restrict the water street lot.

Contact person:
Donovan Branche
Assistant Traffic Engineer
(434) 970-3182
branche @ charlottesville . org

In the past year the number of pedestrians that have been attacked by careless drivers in automobiles have skyrocketed here in Charlottesville. Comparing the data* (obtained from the Charlottesville Police Department) of first four months of 2008 to the equivalent data in 2009 one can see that the number of times a driver of a car was ticketed for failure to give the right-of-way to a pedestrian has gone up by 500%.

Movie poster from Death Race 2000

Have automobile drivers become more aggressive? Have too many watched Death Race 2000 (or the remake)? Or is the local police department just writing more tickets than in the past?

I’d be willing to be it is the former since I actually walk on our streets and on a daily basis you can tell that locals really don’t understand the concept of a pedestrian (or driving in general). Since drivers are clueless (and have already killed two pedestrians this year) the local authorities are stepping up their efforts. We’ve gotten at least a dozen new LED flashing crosswalks installed during the past two months, as well as signs that indicate pedestrian crossings.

Time Yield

Next time you go to cross the road just remember what Nero the Hero said as he ran down the pedestrians, “Bye-bye Baby! Hello 70 points!”

*Thanks to Tipster K who obtained the data on number of pedestrian incidents from the Charlottesville Police Department.
pedestrian traffic data

From a loyal reader:

Do the police routinely allow TV news vans to park illegally in Charlottesville? This evening I saw two WVIR vans parked illegally. One was on the brick of the Mall near the skating rink. The van was blocking the curb ramp at the crosswalk on Water St. A photo of that van is now on The Hook’s blog. The other one was on a side street just off of the Downtown Mall. That van is in the attached photo. It was parked right next to a sign reading, “No Parking -Fire Lane -Tow Away Zone”.


Kevin Cox

Parking News
Photo provided by K. Cox

I actually ran past the one that was pictured in the Hook’s blog and I almost tripped on the long cable that stretched from the van to the reporter. Of course I’m not going to complain since the reporter was cute 🙂

But seriously…I’ve never seen news vehicles obey any parking laws. The village wants good PR, so they let news vans park with no issues. Gotta keep the hand that feeds you clean (or some saying along those lines).

The dreaded combination of rain, temperatures below 50 degrees, and a milk disaster have caused massive lines to form at local grocery stores. Those on the scene say it feels like Russia during the Cold War.


I urge locals to not panic. The sun will come out tomorrow and a new supplies will be brought in by the c-ville guardians.

As many people know, parking is quite an issue here in town. I noticed this lovely little sign in the windshield of a car that took a good rest in a loading zone.

Quick Parking

Anyone got a printer, hair dryer, and saran wrap I could borrow?

I am constantly surprised that people still try to cross streets here in the village. Don’t you realize the only way to get from your front door to your mailbox is by driving your big beautiful car?

Perhaps the downtown mall is going out of business due to the lack of roads on it. I do like that the city puts good PR on it. “Just about everything you see on the mall is to one extent or another in negotiations, in progress of approvals,” said an official. I guess McD’s is looking to open a few places on the mall….and all need a drive-through.

Get your stinking feet off me, you damn dirty pedestrians.

The heat is unbearable today. By 10am no one would venture outside with a portable air conditioner (aka car). So much power is being sucked by air conditioners in homes that blackouts are starting to pop up in town. The dreaded 250/McIntyre interchange is lightless. I can’t wait till the superhighway runs through that location.

I wonder what 29/Rio would look like with no power. Maybe later today when the power supply mule kicks over.

The 4th of July is here. Bush will be landing soon. Rumor has it he’ll be landing at Monticello High School, and you had better not be at school doing any research or anything else (such as enjoying a morning Breakfast Club).

The authorities won’t announce the exact roads will be closed, but they are shutting down two roads that are the ways to get to downtown from the hills beyond Monticello (such as the lake) without doing a 2 hour tour for what should be a 20 minute trip. Good thing gas is so cheap.

Locals have claimed they will protest, but I have a feeling it will be three people, since locals talk but don’t really act. Talk, and talk, and talk…they love that.

I’m going to go run. I hope I don’t get shot.

Trees are down in the village which have shut down the major north/south highway through town. At a local middle school there has been an ‘incident.’ It might be a shooting. It might be a stabbing. It doesn’t sound like something the tribal elders want to promote.

As always…wind blows, power goes.

As for a good “oh my,” it seems there are no jobs for people in this puny little village. Another thing elders don’t want to talk about. People that are here are trapped (trees and such), and sane people don’t want to move here.