It’s been a rough week for the Meadowcreek Parkway. First the school board deferred a decision on giving up some of their land to build the road, Barney Breen-Portnoy wrote in the Progress on Saturday. And now city council has declined to endorse any of the interchange options, Seth Rosen writes today. Now, the school board signing off is really just a formality — and they’re quite likely to do so, anyhow — but the interchange is a bigger problem. Sen. John Warner secured $25M in federal funding for the road almost three years ago, but then the interchange committee went and recommended a design $5M+ over budget.
Councilor Julian Taliaferro thinks that interchange, at seven acres, is just too big. And Mayor Dave Norris just doesn’t see how the city is going to pay for it. Council will hold a work session in a month or two to figure out what to do.
The school board is willing to give up the required 8.5 acres, but they’ve got some conditions. They want a 25mph speed limit near school property (thus reducing the benefit of this dedicated route), a pedestrian bridge, a prohibition on trucks, a guarantee that the fifty replacement acres of parkland would forever be parkland*, and for CHS teams to get first dibs on the promised replacement sports field in McIntire Park.
* The same promise that the city made in order to accept the money from Paul Goodeloe McIntire to establish the park in the first place. Clearly, promises are no obstacle for the city.