NYC bound? Starlight Express gets handy West Main stop

Starlight ExpressThe Starlight Express, our coolest and cheapest way to get to New York City, has secured a bus stop within walking distance of the DTM (or a short distance on the Free Trolley), atop the steps to the Amtrak station on the eastern end of the Drewary Brown Bridge. The location is a partnership with CAT, Charlottesville Area Transit, the controller of the bus stop, and will be one of Starlight’s two Charlottesville stops, the other one along India Road, located between Seminole Square Shopping Center and the nearby K-Mart Garden Center. A former location at the Ix complex will be discontinued.

The new location launches tomorrow, March 27.

“This puts the Starlight Express in walking distance for thousands of Charlottesville citizens and creates new connections to transit systems,” says General Manager Dan Goff, who bought the bus company in 2004 from founders Oliver Kuttner and David New, in a release. “This is a win for the traveler and a win for the environment.”

Unfamiliar with the Starlight Express? Here you go:

What: Connects Charlottesville and New York City via safe, modern, comfortable, and affordable motor coaches.

Price: One-way tickets cost $49-69; round-trip tickets cost $99-139 (prices depend on demand and advance purchase)

Two curbside locations in Charlottesville: • Eastbound side of West Main (the CAT stop at the Amtrak stairway) • India Road (between Hampton Inn and K-Mart Garden Center)

One curbside location in New York City: • First block of 9th Avenue (the cobblestoned street between Catch restaurant and Gansevort Meatpacking NYC hotel — one block east of High Line Park)

Schedule/connectivity: Six weekly departures provide New Yorkers with a weekend in Charlottesville and Charlottesvillians with a weekend in New York. The Starlight Express requires just a little over six hours to reach New York City with such comforts as large seats, onboard snacks, as well as electrical outlets and WiFi on most departures. The new centralized location on West Main Street facilitates footstep connections to both Amtrak and to Greyhound.

434-295-0782
starlightbus.com
facebook.com/starlightbus
twitter.com/starlightbus

 

Bridge Talk. Be there.

Ed Roseberry's photo here shows the bridge back in the early 1960s.

Ed Roseberry’s photo here shows the bridge back in the early 1960s.

On Thursday, November 21 at CitySpace on the DTM there will be a public meeting on the Belmont Bridge replacement/enhancement project. Some want to do something unique and special here, like not have a bridge at all but an underpass, or something along the lines of what NYC did with its High Line Park (repurposing an old platform railway line into a pedestrian park) with a vision of some kind of pedestrian-friendly link between Belmont and the DTM, while others just want the aging highway-style bridge replaced. Come out and find out what all the hoop-la is about and express your opinion. 6pm-7:30pm, 100 5th Street NE. Contact Neighborhood Development Services at (434) 970-3182 for more information.

Some additional reading: Which Way for Belmont Bridge?

Official Belmont Bridge Website

Belmont Bridge design contest

Could car crossings at 4th & 5th streets be nixed?

As the Newsplex reports, the Charlottesville Planning Commission met Tuesday night to discuss if the car crossings on the DTM fit in with the city’s comprehensive plan. They didn’t end up making a decision, and have planned another discussion before they make one. As some may recall, the PC was never very keen on the crossings.

Here’s some background:

Mall crossing: Lewis demands recuse, crossing opponents lose

Mall crossing: Not a done deal

Denied: Planners nix mall crossing

Biz owners demand 4th St. mall crossing

City pulls chairs out from under homeless

Five benches around the Central Place fountain were removed because of “behavior problems” from some of those who have been using them, the Newsplex reports. But one homeless man makes a good point: “I understand there’s some noise, but the thing is, you don’t have to take the chairs out for that; pinpoint the ones who are making the noise and deal with them that way.” The City says some business owners complained.

Downtown discussed. More diversity?

Following the recent debate surrounding the Belmont Bridge, a discussion was held at The Bridge, Progressive Arts Initiative last week to talk about the future of downtown, reports Charlottesville Tomorrow.

“A community is a place where you encounter differences, and the place tends to socialize you,” said Maurice Cox, former city mayor and University of Virginia professor. “Charlottesville is very fortunate to have a downtown, a former main street, that became an even stronger place for people to encounter each other — the Downtown Mall.”

City Councilor Kathy Galvin talked about the “ecology” of a place, Holly Edwards said we need ways to “make different social classes, economic classes, feel welcome” downtown, and school board member Colette Blount said that downtown was not a success in terms of diversity and a variety of perspectives from the community.

Belmont Bridge–does it really need to be replaced?

Great story by Hawes Spencer!

Few of today’s college students were alive in 1986. That was the year the space shuttle Challenger exploded, and Ronald Reagan was president. That was also the last time the Belmont Bridge was painted.

Such a 26-year omission bolsters the view that Charlottesville has neglected one of its most prominent and valuable pieces of infrastructure, a vital gateway to downtown that city officials now want to destroy and replace for an amount estimated to top $14 million.

“There’s no good that comes from that kind of neglect,” says contractor and former City Council candidate Bob Fenwick. “It always costs you more if you don’t maintain.” READ MORE

Belmont vortex: Vision vs. reality in Belmont Bridge debate

There’s a grass roots community movement calling for the re-design of the east end of the downtown area, creating a “gateway” (“Gait-Way,” actually, to emphasize pedestrianism) from Belmont that would dovetail into the Downtown Mall in a less car-centric, more pedestrian-friendly way. There’s just one problem: there’s a big bridge in the way. READ MORE

Penned a story about the Belmont Bridge, but it’s really about dreams and reality…:)