Lynch Clarifies Meadowcreek Parkway Opposition

In an e-mail to the Charlottesville Democratic Party, Councilor Kevin Lynch has provided a detailed response to concerns about his and Mayor Maurice Cox’s opposition to the Meadowcreek Parkway, prompted by comments resulting from their recent press release. Lynch reviews the history of the road, its position in the area road network, its benefits and drawbacks, his requirements for the road, the nature of transportation funding, and his objections to the Council proposal that the land for the road be given away to VDOT. Keep reading for the full text of Lynch’s comments.

The misguided Meadowcreek Parkway

I believe that there are many good reasons for not building the Meadowcreek parkway. What about the reasons in favor of building it? The answers that I hear most often are that it will make it easier for people to get in and out of the City, ease congestion on Park Street and open up McIntire Park. Are these answers valid? Lets consider:

Of course we want to make it easy for people to move freely in and out of the City. Downtown Charlottesville is the regional center for culture, arts, entertainment, business and government. Over the past three decades, the City has made a conscious effort to create and sustain a unique and thriving pedestrian environment – from the original decision to close the mall to automobile traffic, the expansion and upgrading of the mall and surrounding area, support of the City’s transit system (including the very successful trolley route), and up to the most recent plans to complete the East end of the Mall with a new transit center, upgraded amphitheater and pedestrian plaza.

The character and success of the Downtown Mall has largely hinged upon the City’s ability to induce people to come downtown while leaving their automobiles somewhere else. This policy has served the City well for three decades with growing success. I intend to continue to support pro pedestrian policy and will try to improve upon our successes with the help and support of the community.

Anyone who has lived in one of the Central City neighborhoods for any length of time knows that the original motivation behind the parkway was not to bring people downtown, but to make it easier to get regional traffic through the City. The original 30 year old plan so often cited by parkway proponents, was to build a four lane highway through the City, all the way to Route 64. This is why historic Ridge Street was widened to 4 lanes South of Main Street. This highway plan was completely contrary to the City’s pedestrian vision for downtown, which is why many City Councilors before Maurice and myself have fought against the Parkway. These are the shoulders upon which we stand.

One of the most troubling aspects of the Parkway is that it helps to perpetuate a hub and spoke transportation pattern in which the City serves as the only available intersection for cross-county and regional commuters. This problem goes beyond the Parkway, but is exacerbated by it. This is not new. Over a decade ago, a group of Central City neighborhood associations, loosely organized under the Charlottesville Federation of Neighborhoods, recognized this and began working together, particularly in response to the 1994 “Southern Charlottesville Transportation And Entrance Corridor Study”. This joint City/County plan recommended removing parking from Ridge Street and Monticello Ave. in order to use all 4 travel lanes. The plan also recommended widening Fontaine Ave and rebuilding the Avon/Monticello intersection. There was talk of removing parking along Avon Street. Traffic counts were predicted to increase substantially in City neighborhoods. Northern neighborhoods quickly realized that they had a compelling interest in helping the Southern neighborhoods. Since then, an effort has been made to protect City neighborhoods from the onslaught of traffic, but the underlying condition remains the same.: The County is exploding to the South, East and North, with City neighborhoods caught in the middle. As long as there are no roads to carry cross-county commuters around the City, the Meadowcreek Parkway provides an irresistible attractor for County commuters to drive through City neighborhoods.

The only neighborhood which originally did not share in the concern was Park Street, which desperately hoped that the Parkway might solve its own terrible traffic problem. Unfortunately, the Parkway will not solve the Park street problem and will, in all likelihood make it worse, as many Park Street neighborhood residents are now beginning to realize.

For the past decade, Park Street residents have been confounded by traffic studies which consistently show Park Street traffic getting worse – not better – after the Parkway is built. This seems counterintuitive, but it is not. The problem is twofold. First, the Parkway will enable a tremendous amount of new development in the Rio Road area. There are at least 1800 new housing units planned for the immediate area, which will result in about 18,000 car trips per day. While Parkway proponents insist that the new housing will be built anyway, this is not true. Rio Road does not have the capacity for major new subdivisions. Hence subdivision site plans have been sitting on the shelf for years and will continue to sit until the Parkway is built.

Second, the bulk of the traffic is not using Park Street to get downtown. It is using Park Street to get from points North to points East and South in the County. This is obvious from watching current traffic patterns. The Park street bridge has been closed for months so that Park street cannot be used to get downtown. However this has not reduced the amount of traffic on Park Street North of the 250 bypass. Furthermore, as South Eastern Albemarle and Fluvanna continue to explode, this traffic will get worse. Traffic on the 250 bypass is already congested and is projected to gridlock in the next ten years. Without an alternative way to get from North to East in the County, Park Street will continue to be used as a short cut. Not surprisingly, the only scenario in which the VDOT traffic model shows a decrease of traffic on Park Street is if the Eastern Connector is built.

As to the argument for “opening” up McIntire Park: It is certainly true that access to the Park could be greatly improved. The idea that this can be accomplished by putting a highway through the park is highly suspect. The City already tried this once without much success. The southern edge of the parkland which Mr. McIntire originally gave to the City was taken to build the 250 bypass. While there is a bypass exit for the park ball fields, the bypass can hardly be said to provide access to the park. As regional roads go, the 250 bypass is efficient and attractive, but it is a hard barrier around the Park.

The proposed bicycle and pedestrian paths could certainly help to make McIntire Park more accessible but only if these paths can be reached from City neighborhoods. This will not be possible with the existing intersection design.

Is it possible for the Parkway to provide a net benefit the City?

The Meadowcreek Parkway, in its current incarnation would clearly be a net loss to the quality of life in the City. However there are nearby examples, such as the Yorktown Parkway, Rock Creek Parkway and Mount Vernon Parkway that are assets to their surrounding communities. Is it possible to get there from here? My answer is a very conditional yes. The Parkway can be an asset to the City and the region, but only if the City and County are willing to make significant commitments to mitigate the negative effects. These required commitments will benefit the entire region and insure that no harm is done to the City. However they will require significant political will and leadership by all parties: City, County and VDOT.

Even the Councilors in favor of the parkway recognize that a successful outcome is contingent on a number of conditions being met. Nearly three years ago, City Council voted to allow VDOT to proceed with the Meadowcreek Parkway, subject to 12 ‘crucial’ conditions which were put forward in a letter to VDOT signed by then-Mayor Blake Caravati. Description of these 12 conditions spanned 5 pages, but they can be summarized as follows:

1. Signed for 35mph instead of 45mph

2. Two lanes instead of four, alignment according to recommendations of Reiley report

3. Right of way to be for no more than two travel lanes, bike lanes and pedestrian path

4. bike/ped access required at intersection with 250, tight urban interchange requested

5. Bike lanes on the parkway, shared off road bike pedestrian path to run parallel

6. Combine storm water detention ponds into large pond or lake appropriate to the park

7. At least 50 acres of contiguous park land to re-establish McIntire as regional park

8. No cell towers without joint Council and BOS approval.

9. Limited access from 250 bypass to Rio Rd, no trucks, fencing of right of way

10. Commitment of City, County, VDOT and UVA to regional transportation plan

11. VDOT to work with MPO Meadow Creek Parkway Design Advisory Committee

12. Protect, preserve, and care for the Vietnam War Memorial

While Maurice and myself agree with these conditions, we did not sign the letter because we did not believe it was worded strongly enough to secure the necessary commitments to protect the City’s interest.

The only way to avoid the negative consequences of the Parkway is to exercise the leverage that the City has as an independent city in the Commonwealth. Regrettably, three Councilors appear to no longer believe this. Fortunately, the Virginia State Constitution requires that a super majority (in this case 4/5) vote is necessary for the sale of any park land.

Constitutional problems with the proposed parkway “Easement”

Three members of City Council have asked the City attorney to defend a dubious proposition: That the 4-1 vote requirement in the State Constitution for sale of parkland could be circumvented by turning 9.2 acres of parkland into an “easement”.

The City frequently negotiates easements across City property but we don’t give up underlying control of the property. Running a gas line under a City park or allowing the cable company to string cable over City streets is accomplished with an easement. Turning a golf course and softball field into a highway is a permanent change in use. Once a park has been turned into a roadway, there is no other use for it. The right to use and enjoy it by the original owners is gone. It’s no easement. So starting out, the easement proposition is on a very slippery slope.

The next problem we find in the City attorney’s memo is that the easement can not be made open ended and is limited by the State Constitution to 40 years. The memo cites the case precedent. The City of Richmond could not give a conservation easement by simple majority vote because a conservation easement is supposed to last forever and a majority of Council cannot grant an easement without some time limit. In Charlottesville, three councilors don’t even have the authority to put a conservation easement on the park! Yet three councilors claim the ability to grant an easement to turn 9.2 acres of parkland into a major regional roadway. This is preposterous! What else could we do with a major piece of the road network after 40 years is up? Use it as a skate park? Put the land back into recreational use? I don’t think that anyone can honestly argue that the Parkway, once built, could ever be used for anything else other than a road.

There are additional objections of a more technical legal nature. Suffice it to say that the 40 year easement doesn’t pass the smell test and I can not imagine how it would pass the constitutional intent test in the Charlottesville Circuit Court.

Conditions for a 4-1 vote to transfer the parkland

There is no good reason for three councilors to resort to this attempt to stretch the law. I have been very specific and consistent about what it would take to get my vote in order to reach the 4-1 vote required by the Constitution. I do think the Parkway could be an asset to the region. But it has to be in the right context. I believe there is wide support for this context, even among environmentalists and others who have successfully fought the parkway thus far.

First, if its going to be called a parkway, then it needs to be set in a park. Not on the leftover steep slopes and bottom land that can’t be developed after the road goes through. We must get back good land, like the softball field and golf course we’re losing. Any replacement land should be the same quality of parkland that Mr. McIntire gave to the City over 80 years ago – rolling hills with scenic views and recreational use – not swamp land. The only undeveloped land that meets this equivalent functional use requirement is the farm land adjacent to Rio Road, which should be added to a greater McIntire Park. This is completely consistent with the County’s DISC plan, which calls for additional recreation amenities in the urban area to complement its infill strategy.

Second, we need a functioning intersection with the 250 bypass. Since the Mayor’s 12/11/00 letter to VDOT, the City and MPO have been asking for VDOT and the CTB to make a commitment to the interchange. It’s been nearly 3 years and that hasn’t happened. We haven’t even got a design funded. The intersection isnt real until there is money in the State six year plan. We need design money in the State six year plan right away and a commitment for the State to come up with the necessary construction funds in the next 6 years.

Third, we must have a solid and adequately funded commitment to a regional network from VDOT and the County. Phase II of the Meadowcreek Parkway (extending the parkway beyond Rio Rd, and North of the Rivanna River) would create a congestion disaster in the City and is not acceptable. Two essential network elements are the eastern connector and southern parkway. We have been talking about these two projects for decades. Each will do more to relieve congestion in the City than the parkway ever will. Before I will vote for sale of McIntire Park land, we must have a commitment from VDOT and the County to remove Phase II of the parkway. We must begin preliminary engineering for the southern parkway in the next year and have a commitment to complete construction in the next six years. We need a location study for the eastern connector funded in the next two years of the six year plan with commitments for future construction funding. And we need to see a serious state and local funding commitment for transit, bike and pedestrian projects

When we have real functionally equivalent parkland, solid commitments to build the interchange, and concrete steps on the regional transportation plan, then I will agree to the transfer of parkland.

Transportation funding

The naysayers say there’s no money in the State transportation coffers. We need to raise our expectations and demand our fair share of transportation tax revenue. City residents pay over $12M a year in gasoline tax and the half percent of sales tax that goes to transportation. We only get $5M a year back, half of which goes to maintenance. In the County, these numbers are roughly double. We’re getting back only a small fraction of the transportation taxes we pay.

The main reason the region has been starved for funding by the State for the past 10 years is because the State has been building up funding for the 29 bypass – a quarter billion dollar project. When the 29 bypass was dropped from the six year plan, the money for the project disappeared. It should have been reprogrammed into other projects. We still have a 10 year unmet transportation need which the bypass was supposed to address.

We can make some real improvements to our transportation network if we can get the transportation investment that should have been coming to the City and County over the past decade. These improvements will greatly benefit the region and the rest of the Commonwealth. Not all of the investment should be in roads, but we will need some roads, especially in the urban area of the County. As citizens of this region we need to make sure our local leaders and legislators in the general assembly understand this.

I believe those who elected Maurice and I voted for us to attempt to improve the quality of live for the people of the City of Charlottesville. Amongst other things this means improving transportation efficiency, making the best possible use of our natural resources and ensuring the economic health of our community. These objectives involve difficult compromises and commitments, but are possible to achieve with political will and leadership. Any attempt to grant an easement now is an end run around the Constitution and a premature give-away. I will vote for the Meadowcreek Parkway only when we have secured the commitments to build an excellent parkway which does no harm to City and minimizes the damage to our Central Park. Anything less is a betrayal of the people of Charlottesville and an insult to the legacy of Paul Goodloe McIntire.

26 thoughts on “Lynch Clarifies Meadowcreek Parkway Opposition”

  1. <i>There are at least 1800 new housing units planned for the immediate area, which will result in about 18,000 car trips per day.</i>

    I generally believe that Lynch makes a great argument, but the above statement rubs me a little wrong. Are we to believe that every house will result in ten car trips per day? That sounds at least triple what I would guess.

  2. Most HHs today have typically 3 vehicles. Over 2 trips per day for 2 vehicles (the parents round to work), and easily 4 or more for the teenagers to school, friends and parties. So 10 may even be a conservative projection, and certainly so during high traffic seasons like around Christmas.

  3. Kudos to Mr. Lynch for a thoughtful response. There are of course others whose shoulders the Parkway supporters stand on as well. People who reject the notion that traffic will get worse if a parkway is built. Rio Road’s traffic builds to a untenable level that has increased for many years and alot of that traffic is going Downtown. I remain unconvinced that building a Parkway will make Park street worse. With the addtion of traffic lights on Melbourne, most motorist will avoid a road with several traffic lights (rio/park) to drive on a road with none.

    As a county resident who travels rio/park almost everyday I can tell you that the Parkway is needed. The city takes 7 million a year from county taxes and the amount of representation I get for my taxes is very little. The city needs to remember the county and not just spend county tax dollars with little thought to the people who paid them.

    For example: before this land can be sold the council needs a super majority but to raise taxes you simple need a plurality. I have believe for quite some time that Cox and Lynch would never agree to build the Parkway. Mr. Lynch’s demands give him a enormous amount of power for one councilor. With his one vote he is holding up Albemarle, VDOT, and many city residents. I fear that his list of demands make agreement impossible. Not unlike Mr. Lynch wanting to design new roads in the county that he does not represent. With good intentions he has assured a stalemate.

    This leads me to the easiest solution- work very hard to defeat Mr. Lynch and Mr. Cox this spring. While I have a great deal of respect for them both I would like to see this road built. And they are the major obstacles. We have argued for many years and without electing pro Parkway people nothing will ever change.

    I long time ago I was told, "Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good". You can stop almost any project by demanding perfect and therefore never arrive at the goal of a common good.

  4. I suspect that he’s using some sort of standard metric of urban planning, and not just inventing that, but I’m afraid that I don’t even know where I’d check on that.

  5. I remain unconvinced that building a Parkway will make Park street worse.

    I have no idea of who these people (this person?) are, but here’s a website that I recently stumbled across that addresses this very topic, albeit not in much detail.

  6. You can tell that the site several years old because there is no mention of Rob Schilling and David Toscano is still considered on the Council. Also no mention of the new traffic light that is currently built just not active on Melbourne, which has been a short cut for many years and the reason that many stop signs were added.

  7. I haven’t driven down Park in at least a year or so (to my recollection; I deliberately avoid it) so many this has already happened, but, if I could, I would put stop signs on every block.

    I got a real kick out of people complaining about traffic calming measures on Park Street. The thing with traffic calming is that if people don’t complain, then it’s not working. :)

  8. I really give up in trying to understand everything in this area. We have a MPW then we don’t have a MPW. I don’t really care anymore. I can’t vote for any members of city coucil since I live in the county which by the way my address still says Charlottesville. I am comfused. I give up.

    Maybe everyone should take my stance. We got traffic because NO ONE wants to deal with it. So I basically don’t care anymore.

  9. Well it is quite obvious to me the fewer roads the less traffic. This is easily proven by comparing the Indian trails of yesteryear with the roads we have today. There was much less traffic on the old Indian trails.

    Any fool can see (what one fool can see another fool can) we need fewer roads and the thrust of the governed to the governors should be "Mr Politician, Tear down that road !".

    I have reached this state of mind after x years of MCP bickering. My apologies to President Reagan and maybe Dick Feynman.

  10. "4. Add sidewalks to Park Street so as to have complete sidewalks on both sides of the road in the interests of pedestrian safety and to narrow the roadway and thereby discourage greater than 25 mph travel"

    that is good comedy, sure put sidewalks on both sides, that will MIGHT them slow down!


  11. I don’t understand the global reasoning of this piece. “They” want to:

    1. Go 35 mph on the Meadowcreek Parkway (MP).

    What’s the purpose of building another slow road in Charlottesville? We need a North/South expressway pronto. We have 29-N, which is constantly clogged up, and Route-20 North, which is rural, slow and inconsistent. The MP needs to be a fast way to get past Charlottesville / Albermarle, with just 1 exit until past the airport. Under this premise, we alleviate the other alternate routes from much of their load (including Rio road). I’d like to see at least 65 mph on the MP.

    2. Bike lanes and pedestrians on the MP.

    Why on earth do that? Leave Park Street and Rio road to the cyclists and the peds. If you want to put a parallel bike path to the MP, that would be great. But I don’t see that as an absolute necessity. Remember, we’re trying to go FAST somewhere on the Northside or beyond.

    3. Protect park street and Rio road properties and quality of life.

    Who will want to meander through those neighborhoods if you can get where you want to go much faster on the MP? Only Sunday drives may bring non-residents passersby. The premise that new neighborhoods will pop up along these areas due to increased access via the MP only makes sense if you make the MP 35 mph and a slow-poke road.

    4. Recuperate 50 acres of parkland to offset lost park to MP.

    Why not tunnel UNDER McIntire? That way, there’s no lost land and no increased urbanization for neighboring communities. If fact, if the MP followed much of the path of the train tracks, all the way to Watts Passage, then connecting to 29-N, there’d by probably only need for 2 tunnels: a 2.5 mile tunnel from 250 past Rio / Dunlora and a 1 mile tunnel from Polo Grounds to past Burnt Mill. The 1 exit would be at Polo Grounds so as to allow some shopping traffic to Sam’s / Lowe’s to prefer that route. If the exit is an issue, that too could be eliminated with plenty of signage warnings that the MP is a 9 mile Expressway.

    If this MP is too involved, why not draw a nil on this and build an Expressway from I-64 Pantops/Shadwell area to 29-N to the airport? Or instead (or both!!!) from Ivy Road/Farmington to the airport (tunnel under Barracks)? In a few years, this will become almost not doable!

    I see no vision in these elected officials. Status quo is their game and that’s why the situation is so difficult today. The more you procrastinate, the more difficult and compromising it’s going to be. Sure, prudence is good. But non-action is stupid, cowardly and fatal.

  12. "Go 35 mph on the Meadowcreek Parkway "

    A few years ago Toscano said something to the effect "We will put a speed limit on the Parkway and the good people will observe it" – Yeah, that`ll work. How do you spell naif?

    That was my closest brush with death in a long time when I , in a fit of laughter,fell off my chair.

    Speed limit – in Charlottesville – what`s that? Hell, "they" can`t enforce stop signs and the speed limit on 250.

    The tunnel is still the best idea except if it is brought into the picture that will be ten more years of bickering, including the rights of worms, moles, groundhogs and other creatures to be safe in their underground habitat. We could spend billions in relocation efforts.

  13. Lynch writes: The character and success of the Downtown Mall has largely hinged upon the City’s ability to induce people to come downtown while leaving their automobiles somewhere else.

    Anyone know what he means by this? This sentence just stopped me cold — having never come to the Mall by any means other than a car.

  14. That one made me stop and think as well. If what he says were true, there would be no parking problems downtown. As much as some Councillors and transit people like to proclaim, local mass transit simply doesn’t exist. Well, actually, it exists, but there’s a total lack of demand so it goes largely underused.

    It’s always seemed to me that the bus service exists far more to get downtown folks to Wal-Mart than to get county people downtown. But I could be wrong.

  15. I don’t think that the problem is necessarily a lack of demand, it is a lack of an efficient, convenient service. For better or worse, we live in an auto-centric society. A position paper is not going to change that.

    The buses do not run often enough and when they do, they impede surrounding traffic (from my perspective near the Krispy Kreme/Best Buy debacle). Why wait 45 minutes at a bus stop for a 30 minute bus ride when driving 15 minutes and spending 5-10 minutes parking is clearly much less time consuming and troublesome?

    My question is how can Mr. Lynch back up this statement? How does he think people get downtown now? Taxis? Where do the tourists park?

    The City depends on outside dollars. By making it more difficult to get into and out of the City, they are driving people to the big-box malls, Short Pumps, etc. All the "character" in the world is not going to offset the increasing inability to get downtown.

  16. While Maurice and myself agree with these conditions, we did not sign the letter because we did not believe it was worded strongly enough to secure the necessary commitments to protect the City’s interest.

    That sounds like obstructionism to me, not the constructive engagement we should expect from our elected leaders. Another poster had it dead on: this seems to be a case of somebody petulently doing whatever he can to make sure that his unrealistic vision of perfect holds up the majority’s desire for good.

    This so reminds me of the debate in Arlington 20-30 years ago over development of I-66. Local government and activists dug in their heels to prevent the road, then to restrict it to fewer lanes than were projected as necessary. The result is now they’re talking about widening the road, taking more property, and causing construction congestion for another ten or more years.

    This wasn’t a road that would take a few acres of parkland. It was a road that literally divided neighborhoods, and caused the demolition of many homes, and put a huge asphalt ribbon right through the very heart of the population center of the county.

    There was TREMENDOUS pressure for the road from Fairfax County and the Federal government. It was projected by some as the end of the Arlington County they grew up with, and in fact it was very traumatic for the community for many years. 20 years after the road was completed, the road is heavily used, the neighborhoods have adjusted to their new dimensions, and becuase of lack of foresight it’s time to go in there and do it again! Now THAT’S what I call urban planning!

    From “I-66 has seen its share of controversy over the years. In the 60’s and 70’s, Arlington County residents and their government protested the construction of I-66 inside the Beltway. For a while, Arlington County had removed I-66 from its Master Plan of Highways. This controversy resulted in a largely scaled down I-66 inside the Beltway. The aforementioned HOV restrictions inside the Beltway were a part of this plan. Also, I-66 was to have a spur, I-266, that would have run from the current Spout Run Parkway exit across the Potomac River to a reconstructed Whitehurst Freeway. This road was cancelled during the DC Highway Revolt of the 70’s. Finally, VDOT is currently using the right shoulder of I-66 between the Beltway and US 50 as a travel lane during the rush hours to maintain three general travel lanes while providing the left lane as an HOV-2 Lane. This has left I-66 without a shoulder during rush hour. Safety advocates have said this is not a good idea and should be changed. VDOT has not taken any action as they are contemplating whether or not I-66 should be widened through this stretch.”

    I’ve been listening to this MP arguing since I moved here 16 years ago, and it usually borders on the ridiculous. It seems to me that the purpose of the MP isn’t to make it easier for City residents to get around, per se. There are enough traffic-calmed roads for that. It isn’t about forcing people onto buses or bikes (I saw the TV ads with the mayor happily riding the bus, and that didn’t get me to ride one, except for UVA football games when it makes sense for meto do so – maybe his staff should have hung a “Mission Accomplished” banner or something). The purpose seems to be to make it easier for people who live in the County to get downtown to work and shop.


    If the City wants me to spend my money there, they’ll make it easy for me to get there, and make it easy to park my car. If the fact that I will only get there by car means my money isn’t clean enough for you, just say so. There are plenty of places on 29-North that make it superbly easy for me to spend my money, and there are more coming soon, and I’m happy to do so there if it continues to be the best option for me. I work for a locally-owned retailer and would MUCH prefer to spend my money with as many local merchants as possible, and I’m even willing to spend a little more to do so, but my time is very limited and if I have to work to get to their cash register, I’ll work much less to get to somebody else’s.

    On this issue, people always talk about the cost to build the road, the emotional expense of losing a little bit of parkland, etc. Has anybody calculated the cost to the City economy of NOT building the road? How much did losing NGIC to the County cost?

  17. Big Al writes:On this issue, people always talk about the cost to build the road […]

    They do? That surprises me (but I should really refresh my memory with a quick Google or look through the archives here). I thought the major points of the debate were always about matters other than cost. For example, I see nary a mention of cost in Lynch’s nearly three thousand words here.

  18. Sorry – my fingers got ahead of my brain there. What I meant was that while the cost of building the road is one of the issues considered, the cost of NOT building it never is.

  19. Ha ha, I almost broke my neck falling off the chair laughing. Yep, the big downside to tunneling is that they may start it when Charlottesville has become a suburb to Richmond, say, in 50 years.

  20. Agreed, the cville transit system is as-if non-existent to those who want a modicum of convenience. On the other hand, developing a good transit system is a worthwhile goal, rather than only thinking about cars.

  21. developing a good transit system is a worthwhile goal

    Very much so. Unfortunately, in Charlottesville our idea of a transit system is “We got busses! Why isn’t everybody using them? Hey – let’s dump a ton of tax dollars into a fancy new transfer station and see if that does the trick!”

  22. The cost of not building roads is evidenced every day on 29 in front of the Best Buy in the mornings, the intersection of Emmet and Hydraulic almost 24 hours a day, etc. etc.

    People choose not to live in Charlottesville or Albemarle because the traffic is such a deterrent to a good quality of life. People choose to spend their hard-earned dollars outside of our area rather than fight their way downtown.

    Traffic is a major deterrent to moving about the region, not solely the hallowed City of Charlottesville. So long as we elect representatives with such a myopic view of our infrastructure limitations, our region is going to suffer.

    This debate needs to be a bit wider than “How do we get people downtown without cars?” It needs to be “How do we move people using multiple means of transportation including gas-powered vehicles (cars!) in the most efficient, environmentally sound, convenient manner in and around Charlottesville, Albemarle and beyond?”

  23. Yeah, I know, it looks pretty pathetic, doesn’t it? I don’t know all the details of the whys but I can see the results and the lack of progression. It’s retarded.

  24. my parents live just half a block off of park street, and as far as i can tell the only notable thing about the traffic calming is that it makes it much, much harder to make a right-hand turn onto park street: because the road is thinner, the turn is a sharper turn, and the curb that you’re turning around is much more of a right angle; which means that you have to swing the car out wider into the street to turn, which means you’ll go over into the opposing lane a bit, which means you have to wait until BOTH lanes are clear to safely make a right-hand turn.

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