Rio Road

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Rio Road, also signed county road 631, runs as "East Rio Road" from the Charlottesville-Albemarle county line, as an extension of Park Street, northward to Route 29. Crossing 29, it continues as "West Rio Road" until it ends at the intersection of Hydraulic Road and Earlysville Road.

It is a common route for motorists between the city and points north.

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Infrastructure concerns

Supervisor Brad Sheffield expressed concern at the February 10, 2016 meeting of the Board of Supervisors that the eastern portion of Rio Road is nearing residential build-out with the construction of Dunlora Forest, Treesdale Park and other residential developments.

Albemarle County hired Line & Grade to conduct a corridor study from city limits to the U.S. 29 intersection. [citation needed]

Small-area plan

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors adopted a small area plan for the area at their meeting on December 12, 2018. [1] The plan is intended to guide private development of the area around the Rio Road and U.S. 29 intersection. They’ve spent hundreds of thousands on two consultants to come up with a vision and to ascertain the economic feasibility of public investment to entice redevelopment of a dense, mixed-use community.

Staff in Albemarle County's Community Development Department had told the Board of Supervisors on February 10, 2016 they wanted to create a small-area plan in the vicinity of Rio Road and U.S. 29. [2]

Both the county and the state have recently invested in the region, such as the $11.8 million new Northside Library. Albemarle received a grant from the Virginia Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment. That allowed for the hiring of the Renaissance Planning Group to begin work on community engagement, market analysis and a preliminary transportation analysis. [3]

The Albemarle Planning Commission critiqued the process in February 2017. [4] The Board of Supervisors had a briefing in March 2017. [5]

Supervisors have also explored the idea of using service districts to pay for infrastructure.

Form-based code

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors adopted a form-base code for Rio Road Small Area Plan on September 1, 2021. [6]

The plan is part of the Comprehensive Plan. The next step is to develop a draft ordinance for a form-based code, based on examples in Arlington and Henrico counties. That work continues to be underway. The firm Smart Growth America has been hired to review the work conducted by county staff. [7] [8] [9]

Transformative projects

The following projects are called for in the implementation chapter of the small area plan. [10]

Position on Map Catalyst Projects: 0 to 5 Years
A Library Plaza Phase 1
B Berkmar Shared-Use Path (SUP)
C Woodbrook Natural Area Design
D Rio Road Streetscaping
E Hillsdale Drive Extension & Realignment
F Rio and Route 29 Commuter Bus Stop
Future Projects: 5+ Years
G Library Plaza Phase 2
H Rio Shared-Use Path/Bicycle Lane
I Woodbrook Natural Area Construction
J Rio Rd. Streetscaping Improvements Phase 2
K Rio Rd. Streetscaping Improvements Phase 3
L Hillsdale Dr. Extension & Realignment Phase 2
M Hillsdale Dr. Extension & Realignment Phase 3
N Route 29 Shared-Use Path
O Floodable Park & Greenway
P Linear Park & Stream Daylighting
Q Route 29 Pedestrian Underpass
R Berkmar Realignment
S Circulator Bus
T Bike/Ped Bridge at Berkmar
U Dogbone Roundabout at Rio
V Transit Plaza
W Rio29 Transit Station
X Berkmar/Rio Roundabout
Y Fashion Square Plaza

Development post implementation

  • Greenfield Terrace: 33 multifamily units on currently undeveloped land
  • Developer is seeking a special use permit for an auto dealership at the Hardee's site at 1680 Seminole Trail (narrative)


Local origins

Historian Vera V. Via has said the local use of the name for Rio Road was "derived from the fact that railroad stop No. 10 was near the road. It was written as "R.10," which became "Rio.""[11]


  1. Web. Actions of the Board of Supervisors Meeting of December 12, 2018, Clerk of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, retrieved March 22, 2019.
  2. Web. Albemarle to prioritize infrastructure near U.S. 29 and Rio Road, Sean Tubbs, News Release, Charlottesville Tomorrow, February 10, 2016, retrieved December 29, 2016.
  3. Web. [1], Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, March 2, 2016, retrieved December 31, 2016.
  4. Web. County Planning Commission critiques process for Rio+29 Small Area Plan, Josh Mandell, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, February 15, 2017, retrieved December 26, 2017.
  5. Web. Supervisors briefed on next phase of Rio Road plan, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, March 6, 2017, retrieved December 27, 2017.
  6. Web. Actions - Board of Supervisors Meeting of September 1, 2021, Albemarle County, retrieved February 16, 2022.
  7. Web. Rio29 Form-Based Code Review and Scenario Modeling, Request for Quotations, Albemarle County, March 17, 2020, retrieved July 11, 2020.
  8. Web. Rio29 Form-Based Code Review and Scenario Modeling, Notice of Intent to Award, Albemarle County, July 1, 2020, retrieved July 11, 2020.
  9. Web. July 13, 2020 - COVID-19 numbers, Smart Growth America wins Rio/29 contract, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Town Crier Productions, Charlottesville, Virginia, July 13, 2020, retrieved September 12, 2020.
  10. Web. Chapter 5: Implementation, Rio Road Small Area Plan, Albemarle county Department of Community Development, retrieved March 22, 2019.
  11. Maurer, David A. "Mapping out Name Game Took Effort." The Daily Progress [Charlottesville] 29 Aug. 2010: C1. Print.