Last of the current trilogy of planning posts. As mentioned before, Oregon Hill residents are very concerned about Ved Jain’s plans for Belvidere St. It does not help that rezoning has still not gone through. It does not help that greenway plans still need to be settled. Click on this link to see the plans […]
Last of the current trilogy of planning posts. As mentioned before, Oregon Hill residents are very concerned about Ved Jain’s plans for Belvidere St. It does not help that rezoning has still not gone through. It does not help that greenway plans still need to be settled. Click on this link to see the plans submitted so far (link loads a large .pdf file, may take some time), and then read below for one resident’s written concerns (please feel free to add more in comments):
Thank you for the opportunity to talk to you about the new construction
at 108 South Belvidere Street. I have many concerns about the alley
behind my house at 109-111 S. Pine and wish that I had been given an
opportunity to offer my input when the traffic department made their study.
For the purposes of this discussion, I will break the alley into three
sections. ‘Section A’ being the section from Belvidere going East–West,
‘Section B“ being the section going North–South from Section A to
Cumberland Street, and ‘Section C’ being Green Ally going East-West from
Pine Street to Section A.
It is important to keep in mind that the last of the Green Alley section
is a private alley and can be closed off by the owner. The previous
owners had the alley closed 10 or so years ago.
Currently, I can identify the following traffic flows for traffic
entering the alley:
Traffic from the West End:
East on Cary Street; Turn left on Laurel; Turn right onto Green Alley;
East on Cary Street; Turn left on Belvidere; turn left on section A of
East on Cary Street; Turn left on Belvidere; Turn Left on Cumberland;
turn left on Section B of the Alley
East on Expressway; Exit onto Idlewood; Turn right onto Belvidere; Turn
left on Cumberland; turn right on section A of Alley
East on Expressway; Exit onto Idlewood; Turn right onto Belvidere; Turn
left on Cumberland; Turn right on Pine; turn right in Green Alley
Traffic from the Lower part of Oregon Hill:
North on Cherry Street; Turn left on Green Alley; Cross Laurel; Cross Pine
Turn right onto Belvidere; Turn left on Cumberland; Turn right on Pine;
turn right in Green Alley
Turn right onto Belvidere; Turn left on Cumberland; turn right on
section B of Alley
Traffic from South Side:
North on Belvidere; Turn left on Cumberland; Turn right on Pine; turn
right in Green Alley
North on Belvidere; Turn left on Cumberland; turn right on section B of
Traffic from Downtown:
West on Canal; Straight on Cumberland; Turn right on Pine; turn right in
West on Canal; Straight on Cumberland; Turn right on Section B of Alley
West on Main; Turn Left on Belvidere; Turn left on section A of the alley
West on Main; Turn Left on Belvidere; Turn left on Cumberland; turn
right on section B of Alley
Traffic exits the alley from all three exit points; Pine Street,
Cumberland Street, and Belvidere Street. Pine Street and Cumberland
Street are the most used exit points, but I have seen traffic leave the
Cary Street Apartments by way of Belvidere which is one reason why
traffic going South on Belvidere will continue to Cumberland to enter
You have indicated that the current plan is to make the southern section
of section B of the alley one-way going from the North to the South. I
see several problems with this. First, trucks often block the alley
while shopping at the 7-Eleven. Second, there is a manhole on Cumberland
and it is not unusual for Verizon to block the entrance. Third, it is a
dangerous intersection carrying all the westward traffic coming from the
Southside and much of the traffic from downtown going west. At busy
times of the day, it is best to exit onto Pine Street from Green Alley.
There are additional traffic problems:
Traffic can enter the alley from Belvidere, but it is very difficult to
exit the alley onto Belvidere. First, the alley is too narrow to support
simultaneous two-way traffic and second, it exits onto a high traffic
The city can’t guarantee that the Green Alley section will always remain
open to traffic and it is too narrow to support high volume of 2 way
traffic at it’s entrance.
Trash pick-up is a problem with traffic. Already traffic entering the
alley from Belvidere can find them selves waiting 5 to 10 minutes for
the trash truck to remove the dumpster from the Cary Belvidere building,
dump the trash, and replace the dumpster. The planned dumpster location
will double that wait as the trash truck removes the trash from 108
Belvidere. Currently with the alley being 2-way, there is always a way
to get around the trash truck. If it is a one-way alley, there will be
no way to legally get around the truck.
The drawings show closed doors to the underground parking. This is an
indication that none of the 47 parking spaces will be dedicated to the
commercial customers. (How are customers going to open the doors?) They
can’t park on Belvidere. Cumberland, Pine and Cary Streets are pretty
crowded during school. Are these businesses going to be for the students
Having retail parking off-site is a little counter intuitive, but if
there is going to be retail parking on site, I expect those spaces will
have a higher turnover rate than the residential space. Did the Traffic
engineers include this calculation in their study?
What is the ‘real’ plan for the commercial parking in this development?
The City has not measured the traffic flow into and out of the alley.
They placed traffic measuring devices several years ago in August, but
that is hardly a meaningful measure since the students were not in town.
If the traffic department is relying on these measures, they are relying
on bad data.
I believe the alley is too narrow to support all the traffic from the
Pine Street single family residences, the Pine Court II building, the
Cary Belvidere building, and this new project.
The City down zoned the old buildings along Pine Street to single family
dwellings several years ago, but have allowed B-3 to remain directly
adjacent. This alley is all that separates this lot-line to lot-line 40
foot tall development. With the current plans, this ally will become,
for all practical purposes, a full class road. Shouldn’t there be some
input from the people living in this down zoned area as to how traffic
will flow down this alley?
There are other issues:
The Pine Court and Cary Belvidere buildings discharge the storm water
from their roofs down section B of the alley and onto Belvidere. This
water accumulates at the corner of Belvidere and Cumberland in a large
puddle that is approximately 10 to 20 feet across. The water from this
new project will make matters worst and might possibly overflow into the
7-Eleven parking lot.
The puddle at the corner of Belvidere and Cumberland is not the only
one. Water regularly backs up into the right most travel lane heading
south and presents a traffic hazard, which people currently run through.
A deeper more hazardous puddle at Belvidere and Cumberland will present
a greater road hazard when unsuspecting motorist drive through it at 25
or 30 mph.
The City will need to do some work here.
You have indicated that trash pick up will not be affected by the
project and the changes in traffic flow. This is good since the houses
on the east side of Pine are all attached and there is no reasonable way
to move the super cans from the rear of the houses to the front. With
good alley access Pine Street does not have the super cans left street
side for days on end. The exception to this is the building at Pine and
Cary Street (West Corner). This is a Ved Jain project and they leave
four or five super cans on the city sidewalk 7 days per week. I would
not like to see the other people on Pine Street begin doing the same
thing because it is inconvenient to drag them a around the block every
week on the appointed day.
The alley is important to the residents along Pine Street. Not only is
it needed for trash pickup, it is needed for parking since the recent
development in the area has made it very unusual to find an available
parking space on Pine Street. I would like assurances that this alley
will not be closed or blocked during the construction on Belvidere.
The fire on Broad Street several years ago shows how dangerous these
projects are while under construction. Fortunately for me the prevailing
winds are from the west and south, but a north or northeast wind would
most likely burn my house to the ground. Unfortunately for the residents
of Pine Court II and Cary – Belvedere apartments winds from the south
would spell doom to them. Is this building going to be the same “stick”
construction that VCU used on Broad Street?
I have plans to build a garage at the east end of my property. My
understanding is that I can build to the lot line, which is a couple of
inches west of the utility poles currently there. I would like
assurances that the fire department took this possibility into account
when they evaluated the project.
Finally there is the issue of noise. The population around this
development is not the 9 to 5 office worker. Most attend school, work
late at night and expect a reasonable amount of quite to accommodate
their schedule. I am a computer contractor and often find myself working
from home until the early morning hours. Are there any plans to abate
the construction noise or will we be subjected to the pounding of heavy
machinery, backup beepers, and other such noises from morning to night?