Bypass Opponents Dominate Hearing

Last night’s public hearing on the Rt. 29 bypass project brought a tremendous crowd out to the Doubletree Hotel, where VDOT was holding the information session and hearing. As Peter Savodnik writes in today’s Progress, “the overwhelming consensus of the roughly 800 attendees at the Virginia Department of Transportation meeting was that building the four-lane, 6-mile bypass would be a mistake of Herculean proportions.” The purpose of the hearing was to get public input on the environmental impacts of the roadway. Concerns along those lines ranged from watershed destruction to destruction of farmland and forest, the loss of salamander habitats to contamination of the reservoir. VDOT will, theoretically, take all of the information provided by the attendees and use it to assist in making decisions about the future of the bypass.

19 thoughts on “Bypass Opponents Dominate Hearing”

  1. Sounds like the opponents got a good turn-out at the meeting. Too bad the proponents didn’t… but then, I didn’t hear about this meeting until last night.

    Yes, I’m for the bypass. Charlottesville has extremely poor traffic flow in some areas, and I think the bypass would help.

    Some days, choosing between Park/Rio or 250 is just like choosing between a root canal or a biopsy.

  2. With all due respect, you’d have to try real hard not have heard about the hearing until the actual night of the hearing. I’ve received mailings from proponents, opponents and VDOT. I’ve seen full-page ads in local newspapers for the past several weeks. I’ve read news articles in local papers. I’ve listened to an hour-long discussion on Bob Gibson’s radio call-in show on WVTF.

    I guess my point is, if you care about public issues like this, you need to be aware of what’s going on. In this instance, it really wasn’t difficult.

  3. Actually, no. I didn’t have to try at all not to hear about it. I do not listen to WVTF, I listen to 3WV, Z95, WINA, and catch NPR in the evenings. I do not get any of the local newspapers unless a friend or this website points me towards one. I haven’t gotten a single email on the issue.

    I do care about this issue, I just haven’t been made aware of any of the goings on related to it.

    Forgive me if I’m not as connected as you, Anonymous.

  4. Dearest Anonymous,

    If you really care about any local issue than you should read, or at least glance at, the local papers, even if you have to hold your nose while you do it. The papers were full of it and I am certain that it was on the news on Z95 and WINA.

    With warmest regards,


  5. It all boils down to the belief that “If you don’t build it; they won’t come.” This is one of those stories I feel I be reading about for the next two decades.

    the good news is Meadowcreek might only take 10 more years- kinda like the Bodo’s of roads.


  6. The Meadowcreek Parkway is one that I hope for much more than the bypass. Though I must say that my hope of seeing it built is waning.

    The not-in-my-backyard syndrome seems insurmountable.

  7. Dear Amomyinonymous,

    I was directing my comments to “Anonymous”, not signing my post that way.

    It may have been painted in giant block letters on every billboard within a 500 mile radius, but the fact remains that I missed every such large-lettered fire-in-the-sky pronouncement of its imminent arrival. I regret this, and would have liked to attend had I noticed that it was going to happen. My statement was in no way a recrimination against anyone, merely an explanation of why I was not there. If I have in any way offended anyone by my failure to spot the admittedly prolific notices of such a community-changing meeting, let me here and now apologize and indeed abase myself before my lowly poodle in recompense to shattered sensibilities.

    In the future, I will endeavor to sift through each and every publication that may be based in or around the Charlottesville area on the off chance that one day a notice or news story of direct personal interest to me will be printed.

    Or maybe, with all due respect, not.

  8. Oh yeah, I forgot. It was on a billboard, too. On Barracks Road, near Colthurst, right where the by-pass will cross.

    Don’t worry, Lafe, nobody’s offended by your missing the advance notice of the meeting. Like everybody else, you’ve got your life to lead and sometimes it’s hard to pick out what you’re interested in from the barrage of media messages that we’re all subjected to. Nobody (at least not me) meant to berate you. It’s just that this notice of particular meeting really was plastered all over the place.

  9. VDOT cares nothing for the will of the residents, and being an agency of the State of Virginia, Va. by extension cares little also.

    In the end, this will be about Money, hundreds of millions of dollars. The “will of the people” will be steamrolled as the bypass gets built.

    Corruption is inherent in this process. It’s now the norm, and unless the system is rebuilt from the ground up, it will stay that way.

    My solution? Hang the bureaucrats and bankers from the nearest lampposts with the guts of professional politicians and begin anew. Not very likely, but I can dream.

  10. Oh yeah, I forgot. It was on a billboard, too. On Barracks Road, near Colthurst, right where the by-pass will cross.

    Heh, figures.

    I wasn’t truly worried that someone was offended. My tongue was planted rather firmly within my cheek.

    I have noticed a presumption that if one is “civic minded” in any respect, that they should be so in every respect. Unfortunately, I fall short of that lofty goal, and so don’t pay too much attention to a lot of the local politics and/or debates. Though I do try to take part when I can, such as when I attend meetings of my neighborhood’s association, or that affect the community in a way that I actually care about. Even that is infrequent though. Ahh well.

  11. Lafe-

    The Bypass won’t help your traffic problems at all. Why? because only 10 percent of the traffic you’re battling is thru traffic that would use the bypass.

    And even if that 10-percent reduction sounds like good news to you – just wait a couple of years until that monstrous development up by the airport is finished. THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS more cars will be accompanying you on your daily shlep to downtown C-ville and back.

    The Bypass will be SO irrelevant at that point. Whether it is built, or not.

  12. Something surely has to be down about the traffic in Charlottesville. No matter which route you take it is congested and takes forever. Traffic calming on Park Street contributed nothing to the problem, probably make it worse as it can be dangerous on rainy nights.

  13. Just because VDOT may not agree with your position, that doesn’t logically mean they don’t care for the will of everybody else. Typically, unless I’m mistaken, anytime something like the bypass is being discussed, the “anti” forces are much better organized and therefore far louder than those who are okay with the proposal. That doesn’t, by extension, mean they are greater in number.

  14. If the only opportunity for the public to speak to VDOT plans is at public hearings and through letter writing and if you discount the value of public response at those hearings (“the ‘anti’ forces are much better organized”), how would you propose that we reasonably determine whether or not VDOT is responsive to the public will?

    VDOT wants to build roads. That’s what they do. It’s in their nature. Impediments to road-building, whether they be engineering problems, environmental difficulties, land acquistition or public sentiment are obstacles for VDOT to overcome.

  15. More than that VDOT is a STATE organization. And most of the state wants a north/south bypass around c-ville. The road will be built just a matter of when and where. VDOT wants to make it as cheap as possible, but will build whatever Richmond can get us to agree to. And if there is no agreement they will build what they can get away with.

    We can fight to the death and the road will be built. We can come to a compromise and the road will be built sooner. The state budget won’t even slow this down. We have three legislators to protect us in Richmond vs 117 who don’t live here or represent us.

  16. If you were not able to attend the public hearing you can still give comment. The comment period for the 29 Bypass Public Hearing on the impact to the Rivanna Resevoir is open until 4/16/02. Email your comments to: or mail them to:

    Patsy Napier

    Special Studies Section, Room 713

    Virginia Dept. of Transportation

    1401 East Broad Street

    Richmond, VA 23219

    The Southern Environmental Law Center has additional information on the Bypass available at:

  17. That may be the only opportunity to speak in a situation sure to be dominated by NIMBYs, but there are other ways of expressing oneself to VDOT and legislators. I have written e-mails, snail mails, and made phone calls in support of the bypass. I have no question that my opinion is being heard in Richmond.

    The public will is expressed every time the General Assembly meets – this is a republic, not a pure democracy. If you don’t feel that your leaders are making your concerns heard, elect new ones. If the General Assembly cuts the purse strings, VDOT can’t do anything at all.

  18. Frankly, I’m growing rather tired of seeing people’s interests dismissed by references to “NIMBYs”, as if that label somehow diminishes a cause.

    Of course, those folks who are most directly affected by an issue are most likely to take a strong interest in its resolution. They’re what, in using less pejorative terms, we might refer to as “stakeholders”. Is there anything wrong or unusual with expecting that?

    Residents of Fairfax County have a particular interest in road-building that affects their daily commute. While I may travel there, from time to time, it’s just not that important to me. While my will, as a Virginia resident and taxpayer, is worthy of note, I contend that local residents with a stronger stake, are probably more vocal, with good cause, and their intestests ought not to be dismissed. Similarly, residents of Albemarle have a particular stake in the construction of a Route 29 by-pass, with good cause.

    On a larger scale, residents of certain parts of the western U.S. have an interest in federal lands management that is greater than those of the urban east. It’s only natural and right that those residents will exert more effort, be better organized and more influential than will others who just don’t care as much.

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