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This page is Local Transportation

Road rules

See our TRAVEL page to get out of Dodge


New to Virginia
Within 60 days of arrival, you must apply for a Virginia driver's license and obtain state registration for your vehicle within 30 days through the
DMV (804-497-7100) at 2055 Abbey Road near State Farm on Pantops. Immediately after registering your vehicle in Virginia, you must obtain a state safety inspection from any private garage offering the regulated service-- it always costs $16 for cars and $12 for motorcycles, unless there's something wrong, and then you have to pay for repairs.

Road rules- local licensing
Local vehicle owners are no longer required to display what we used to call "personal property tax" decals, and police can fine those who still display them. (Frankly, we don't understand exactly how Charlottesville and Albemarle revenue chiefs can figure out if you've registered your car here since both localities have eliminated decals.)

Virginia's Wacky Rules of the Road
Here are some state laws you may or may not have heard of:
Keep frontin': Virginia automobiles must have both front and rear license plates.
No radar love:
Unlike the other 49 states, Virginia bans the use of radar detectors.
Don't pimp my ride: Tinting your windows too dark is strictly forbidden, as are neon lights and undercarriage glow.
Yak attack:
If you're under 18, you aren't allowed to use a cellphone while driving, including texting or hands-free talking.  Neither can school bus drivers.
No texting: Starting July 1, 2009, texting while driving became illegal
Walk this way:
Pedestrians at intersections-- even lollygagging UVA students-- always have the right-of-way.
Light rain:
If your windshield wipers are on, your lights must be on.
I can't drive 75: Virginia highways are slower than most: 65mph is the maximum speed limit in the state.

Virginia is for embarrassed kids: All children under age eight, that's right, eight, must be properly secured in a child safety seat or booster seat.
Footloose: Virginia drivers must always have their shoes on while driving.


We have two separate bus systems: one for UVA students and employees, and one for the rest of us.
UTS- Rides, which are free, are intended for students, faculty, etc., but drivers don't typically check IDs-- in fact, UTS offers free rides to everyone. 924-7711

CAT- Regular fare is 75 cents for a one-way trip (children 5 and under ride free), but you can buy a monthly pass for $20 or an unlimited-use Day Pass for $1.50, which can be purchased on any CAT bus when boarding. Reduced fares for seniors citizens (65 and older) and the disabled are available with a CAT Reduced Fare Card (application available at the Downtown Transit Station on E. Water Street). UVa Student, Faculty, and Staff IDs are accepted as fare on CAT buses. Children under 5 ride free, and youth 6 to 18 years old ride free during the summer with a special CAT Summer Youth Ride FREE ID card. In addition to the summer program, CAT offers a year-round free ride program for Charlottesville High School students. The service has 15 routes and welcomes bicycle riders by offering bike racks on all buses. 970-3649.

The best central city free ride is the CTS free trolley which looks like a San Francisco cable car but travels on rubber tires between The Corner, UVA grounds, and Downtown every 15 minutes from 6:40am until 11:30pm Mon-Sat. On Sunday, the trolley runs every 30 minutes in the morning and every 45 minutes in the afternoon from 8am until 5pm.

For inter-city bus transportation-- Greyhound/Trailways, as well as trains and planes-- we have more information on our travel page.

Bike routes
Charlottesville and Albemarle have made great strides in increasing the number of bike routes. Bikers can check out the city's website for some tips on bike safety as well as bicycle friendly trails.  There are also several biking groups and shops in the area for cycling fans. 
BUT BEWARE: Riding a bike on the Downtown Mall is punishable by a fine. In Virginia, bicycles must follow the same laws as motor vehicles, including riding on the right side of the street, obeying all traffic signs and signals, yielding to pedestrians, and using signals for turning and stopping. At night, bicycles must have a white front light visible for 500 feet and either a red rear-reflector visible for at least 600 feet or a red tail light visible for 500 feet.

Community bikes
The city has a"community bike" shop that teaches patrons how to repair, build, and maintain bikes that they can keep. Charlottesville Community Bikes aims to promote environmentally friendly transportation and accepts donations of tools, bicycles, and parts.


Road names
Thanks to the area's long history, many roads have different names along a single path, usually changing as a city street moves into the county and becomes a road. Here's a handy tip-sheet:
Emmet Street=Seminole Trail=Route 29
Park Street=Rio Road (pronounced "RYE-oh")
Ivy Road=University Avenue=Main Street=Downtown Mall
Avon Street=9th Street
Garth Road=Barracks Road=Preston Avenue=Market Street
Fifth Street=Ridge Street=McIntire Road

Car commuting
Average commute time: 17 minutes (national average is 26)
Working at home:
5.4% (national average is 3.3%)
Things get busy around here during traditional rush hours-- not to mention around noontimes when roads clog pretty heavily. Companies that engage in
RideShare programs like car pools and van pools can get juicy tax deductions. 295-6165

Permit parking
To save room for residents, some neighborhoods near downtown and UVA require $25 per year
parking permits. You'll know because you'll see the street signs. The permits, which expire August 31, are available through the City Treasurer's Office. 970-3146

It's not very eco-friendly or gasoline-budget friendly, but you may want to join the throng who take advantage of the much lower housing costs in Augusta County. According to figures from the Federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, the number of commuters from Staunton and Waynesboro to Charlottesville and Albemarle skyrocketed from 799 in 1970 to 2,167 in 2000, according to the U.S. Census, and real estate agents report the number of Albemarle residents moving over Afton Mountain continues to swell!


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