Charlottesville, VA

Level: gold
Population: 48,117
Population Density: 4,220/sq.mi.
Pedestrian Plan
Contact: Amanda Poncy

Community Highlights

Charlottesville is designated as a Gold-level community due to high rates of walking, excellent land use policies, and a centralized, successful Downtown Pedestrian Mall. Highlights of Charlottesville’s application include:

  • The City’s Streets that Work Plan and Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan serve as the guiding documents for Charlottesville’s investment in streets that support active transportation.
  • The desire to reduce single-occupant vehicle travel is represented in the 2010 adoption of a model Complete Streets policy. This policy states that “all street projects…shall be designed and executed in a balanced, responsible, and equitable way to accommodate and encourage travel by bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and their passengers, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.”
  • Charlottesville has excellent transit service, provided by Charlottesville Area Transit and University Transit Services. Transit is available within one-quarter-mile of 95 percent of the population seven days a week and has 95 percent on-time performance. This ensures that residents have ample opportunity to access a variety of destinations.
  • In 2011, the city partnered with its regional planning agency to begin conducting twice-yearly bicycle/pedestrian counts. Volunteers collect data at 17 locations throughout the city.
  • With little remaining vacant land, the city has established excellent zoning policies that have resulted in infill accounting for 75 percent of development over the last five years. These policies include providing density bonuses for the inclusion of affordable housing, requiring ground floor commercial uses in mixed use districts, and allowing accessory dwelling units in almost all residential districts.
  • In 1975, Charlottesville closed eight blocks of the downtown permanently and created the highly successful Downtown Pedestrian Mall. The mixed use mall on the historic Main Street is home to over 150 businesses situated in rehabilitated historic buildings. A recent construction and redevelopment project ensures that the mall will remain an active pedestrian destination in the heart of the city for years to come.
Additional community images