Council Delays Meadowcreek Interchange Decision

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.

14 thoughts on “Council Delays Meadowcreek Interchange Decision”

  1. …..they’re not very expensive, but, if we built one, we could still throw our money away by commissioning a statue as the centerpiece, something quite common where roundabouts are used. I’m thinking that the statue could be of Paul Goodeloe McIntire being ill-used by a
    figure representing modern day C-ville (picture what you will). We could stick an “art in place” sign by the statue and be done with it.

  2. “They want a 25mph speed limit near school property (thus reducing the benefit of this dedicated route”

    As if speed limits are binding on motorists.

  3. They want a 25mph speed limit near school property (thus reducing the benefit of this dedicated route), a pedestrian bridge…

    Pick one or the other. If you have a pedestrian bridge you really shouldn’t need the speed limit cap.

    I think the entire project is probably a bad idea anyway. Is the parkway going all the way to 29? Where does it dump out at? Have the traffic problems that are going to be created at wherever that location is been solved yet? And what about Albemarle County’s promised contributions to the overall solution of the area’s traffic problems?

    As I said, bad idea.

  4. This parkway thing is so old and pathetic and hamhanded and crippled I don’t even care anymore. What’s the one thing I liked right away when I moved to L’burg? The EXPRESSWAY!!! Everytimg I drove on it for the first few months I was going, “Why can’t C’ville do this?”

  5. Rio should have been upgraded, but that’s water under the bridge. At the time, it was not possible to treat Park Street residents as poorly as those on, are under, so-called “Preston” Ave., the 4-lane section of Barracks/Rugby. Later, it the early 1980s, every city council member (but one?) lived in North Downtown/Park St. I don’t think upgrading Rio Rd. ever had a chance, but it would have more ecogreeny to upgrade an existing corridor instead of using a creek bottom.

    Even the big curve in Rio Rd. is really just an artifact of the Model-T automotive era. Before that the road went straight (“Alwood Ln.” driveway on the left). A deep old roadbed goes straight as an arrow, up an incline that no modern vehicle would have a problem with.

    But instead of disturbing the quiet of about 100 front & back yards, we lose a park and a stream and silt up and pollute a river.

  6. I’ve never liked the Meadowcreek “Parkway” idea, and I wish someone would just kill in once and for all, instead of just delaying it indefinitely. My biggest issue with it is that it creates a really bad precedent that our green spaces are convenient places to put roads or “in-fill”. The logical outcome of that kind of philosophy will be the eroding of all remaining greenspace and more sprawl.

    In addition, I can’t see it helping me one bit. It’s more like a private freeway for people who unwisely bought into the glut of homes at the end of the hell that is 29 North. They knew what they were buying, so I have a hard time feeling sorry for the quality of their commute.

    For that matter, 29 North itself is the real problem here, and it won’t be solved with bypass surgery. It’s effectively like taking an overweight guy who’s diet consists of pork rinds, and coke, any giving him bypass surgery without any counseling regarding his lifestyle choices. VDOT has already predicted massive heart failure even if the Parkway is built. To make a bad situation worse, we’re still letting stores like Best Buy create new entries onto 29 instead of using existing roads. That’s like the doctor handing the patient a donut.

    Lastly, the Axis of Development already has their Bulldozers standing ready just waiting for work to begin on the parkway. I guarantee that if you think it’s bad now just wait… Some aren’t even waiting. At least one local developer is already marketing the fact that the Parkway is supposed to end up on the doorstep of his new development.

  7. Has anybody calculated how many tax dollars have been spent studying and debating this ridiculous road over the years? Gotta be 20X what it will actually cost to build it!

  8. Apparently, Big_Al, money is no object. I just read that the 3rd St-Mall bricking project just came in with a 100% cost overrun, although Gary O’Connell assured council a few months ago it would be brought in under budget, and I guess council now have other things like Tibet and housing welfare on their minds and don’t care about the $400k extra. You think they’ve spent a lot of money on this road already? Just wait. The county will spend little and the city will spend a lot.I have to agree with Cynic, put in a roundabout. The two-month bricking project lasted six months. This two-mile road may take another five years after construction begins, folowing the city’s history of projects. This road has been pushed mainly as a way to go to and from the county. That’s why it will never bother me that the city receives revenue sharing. I love the hypocrisy displayed by council in the matter of paving and developing parkland while at the same time spending millions to be “green.”

  9. There remains a sneaking suspicion in the back of my mind that the parkway will never be built(maybe wishful thinking).
    This project was conceived as a way to ease traffic woes almost 40 years ago. A lot has changed since then-its obsolete. Now some sort of bypass or expressway like some have mentioned here-that makes more sense.
    The fact that development interests and the Chamber of Commerce are so enthusiastic about it makes me suspect that there is more than just a desire to make life easier for folks on Park St.
    Downtown is doing just fine.It’ll be the overall economy and the gas prices that will hurt those businesses-not lack of this ill-conceived dinosaur of a road.
    Council prefers of course to let VDOT and the YMCA have the park Mr. McIntire gave us.

  10. the YMCA is going to destroy McIntire Park on the west side and no one says a thing. Unbelievable. Massive 70,000 square foot building surrounded by 3 acres of black top paving. You people need to devote some time and energy to stopping the building of the YMCA aquatic center in McIntire park rather than worring about the meadowcreek parkway which will never be built. If this project is not stopped and the park is forever changed/ruined for the worst you can write a thank you note to Lynch, Norris and Brown who approved this project. Come on all you “greenies” voice up.

  11. I, for one, am not convinced the YMCA can raise the millions of dollars to build the complex jogger describes. The water and sewer lines will cost in the millions also. The city, as landlord, will probably come to their rescue, as it “rescued” the Pavilion. Money is no object in the city. And, these councilors have said they solidly behind the proposal and have signed the binding contracts. Nobody with any business sense would have signed the contracts that the city has signed that are so weighted in favor of an entity that has little money, except for behind-the-scenes political reasons.

  12. Regarding the YMCA…

    They should do like they do in L.A. and put in underground parking below the building (and/or on the roof). As in- 3 floors below ground is the parking structure. That would minimize the asphalt footprint.

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