VDOT Proposes Two New Connecting Roads

VDOT is recommending a couple of new connecting roads, Sean Tubbs writes for Charlottesville Tomorrow.

The first is a chunk of the western bypass, extending “Leonard Sandridge Drive” (the exit to the bypass that UVA built recently, near the law school) on the other side of the bypass, running across Barracks Road and connecting to the far side of Hydraulic, towards Albemarle High School. That could hug the developed area pretty closely, connecting to and expanding Georgetown Road, or it could loop farther out, still connecting to Hydraulic where Georgetown does. There’s a third option of running clear up to Earlysville Road. (See the Daily Progress’ map.) The idea is to formalize what many people already do—drive clear up 29 from Barracks Road without ever driving on 29—but starting back at UVA. The folks in Canterbury Hills are about to bust a vein over these proposals—this road would run right through the back of many people’s property there, or through the middle of the neighborhood if the Georgetown option is chosen. VDOT emphasizes that this isn’t a bypass—it’s just a new road, meant to be used for local traffic. Presumably that means that there will be connecting roads, traffic lights, etc., so this new road would be opening up a whole new corridor for development. Part of VDOT’s interest has to be that the clock is ticking on the land that they acquired for the western bypass—if they don’t put it to use within the next few years, they’re going to have to sell it back.

The second proposal is an exit for 29N from the bypass at Best Buy. “We already have one,” you say? That’s true. (Though I figure we have two—one via Hydraulic and one that’s direct.) But VDOT wants us to have another one, so they’re proposing an elevated roadway that would run north from that stretch between Hydraulic and 29—going towards Barracks Road, it’s on your right where you can see a stream and a pedestrian footbridge—between Kroger and Dominion Power, over Hydraulic and the used car dealer owned by that guy who shot his neighbor’s cat, and then merge into 29 in front of Seminole Square. (See VDOT’s rendering.) If Albemarle Place ever happens, that merge point would seem to prevent access to it.

Given the state of Virginia’s transportation budget, this all seems academic. Though VDOT wants to see Charlottesville help fund it with local property tax increases along the corridor, it’s tough to see how that could possibly add up to being enough money. (Though it would send local business groups into fits, simultaneously favoring new roads and opposing having to actually spend any money to build them.) VDOT’s study group is going to take these recommendations to the Commonwealth Transportation Board in a couple of months, who will presumably decide whether it’s a high enough priority for the state that they’re prepared to spend however much it’ll cost.

10 thoughts on “VDOT Proposes Two New Connecting Roads”

  1. This talk of “extending” Leonard Sandridge Road, I think is a lot like “Meadowcreek Parkway.” The choice of the word “parkway” was deliberate among proponents, because the word harkens to the Blue Ridge Parkway, to a rural, calm, nice, desirable road. Meadows, creeks, and a parkway, all in one! Nobody would have wanted the “McIntire Bypass.” Saying that we’re just “extending” an existing road (despite that one doesn’t extend a highway entrance ramp across the highway—who’s ever heard of such a thing?) is a way to make it sound like this is just a natural extension of what’s already being done. I think it’s totally inappropriate that Sandridge named a road after himself, and I think we’re being set up to have a road running clear through town also named “Leonard Sandridge Road,” just to stick with that “extending” nomenclature.

    I don’t yet know what I think of this proposal (though my knee-jerk reaction is that it’s trouble), but this bit seems deliberately deceptive.

  2. I can’t image the cost of building an elevated highway access ramp is that much less than building a full fledged 29 Bypass. Just build the bypass already!


  3. Brilliant! The VDOT study has dumped a huge bucket of mud in the water to “clarify” things and has managed to provide clubs for all concerned with which to beat everyone else over the head. Non-Bypass(?)/Massive Exchange/elimination of lights/”Re-development” of Kroger and everything else nearby while being sure to include both City and County land which will NEVER be agreed to – all at a mind boggling cost – They have, in one master stroke, ensured that nothing will get done in our lifetimes…..

  4. There is more about this that is deceptive. The proposed new road actually DOES NOT follow the western bypass corridor as it goes up towards Earlysville Rd. This is not a route that utilizes existing VDOT property as the article says. It is a new road. They are actually proposing new roads without taking the western bypass route off the table, regardless of what the vdot spokesman may have said. Obviously, this is being done to keep everything on the table and retain the option of building both. By proposing three alternative routes, they divide and conquer the opposition while destroying home values in all three neighborhoods.

  5. Supposedly Sandridge did not name the road after himself, the staff did. Nevertheless, it was ludicrous, and using his full name turned the sign into a monument. The road should be called Massie Rd.

  6. Leonard Sandridge had nothing to do with the naming of the road nor did his staff. An anonymous benefactor donated a 6 to 7 figure gift for the naming rights and decided to name it for the great service that Mr. Sandridge has done to for the University and the area. That road was built with UVa funds and did not cost taxpayer’s a dime- unlike this new and confounding proposal.

    Also to Waldo’s point and to steal a joke “Why to we drive on a parkway but park on a driveway?”

  7. Yeah, I’d have say I never understood why both first and last name is used on Leonard Sandridge Rd. I hope this isn’t a precedent — what if every other street in town were full names, we’d be driving down “Paul Goodloe Mcintire Rd.”, etc. Just seems unnecessarily wordy. We’d need much larger street signs.

    And on the topic of the interchange and new roads… I don’t understand why this is even being discussed, with VDOT not even having the money to operate their rest stops. That 29/250 Interchange looks horrific.

  8. Leonard Sandridge had nothing to do with the naming of the road nor did his staff. An anonymous benefactor donated a 6 to 7 figure gift for the naming rights and decided to name it for the great service that Mr. Sandridge has done to for the University and the area.

    I understand, but the fact remains that it was ultimately Sandridge’s decision. If the benefactor had decided to name it “McLovin Alley,” Sandridge would have vetoed it. I appreciate that there’s a difference between Sandridge ordering signs with his name on them and a benefactor buying the rights to honor him, but in both cases he did choose to have the road bear his name. I don’t think living people ought to be honored in that manner. When I lived in Blacksburg, Mayor Roger Hedgepeth had a new bridge just off I-81’s exit 118 (strangely the same exit number as UVA’s on I-64) named Mayor Roger Hedgepeth Bridge. I think that was the same deal—he was being honored, he didn’t choose it, yadda yadda, but it looks just as bad for the same reasons.

    (Nota bene: Leonard Sandridge is a cousin of mine, by marriage, although I’ve never bothered to figure out how. My grandmother-in-law was also a Sandridge from Crozet, so he can’t be far off.)

  9. You think that Mr. Sandridge has much of a say on how this naming happened? The Board of Vistors would disagree.

    The Board of Visitors announced the renaming of the half-mile road connecting Massie Road with the U.S. 250 Bypass on Sept. 30 2006, during the kickoff of the University’s $3 billion campaign At the kickoff dinner, Thomas F. Farrell II, rector of the Board, introduced a resolution honoring Sandridge for his long career of service and dedication to the University.

    At the time of the announcement, Farrell said, “Anyone who has been involved in University activities knows that for the last 30 years one individual has made a significant difference in the lives of faculty, staff, students and alumni . . . This individual shies away from the spotlight at all costs,” said Farrell, who added, “Well, the board has had enough of that and we decided to call him to account in a very public way.”

    “Whereas, Mr. Sandridge is known and respected throughout the University for his hard work, his fair mindedness and his devotion above all to the good of the institution . . .the Board joins the entire community in thanking him for all he has done, and continues to do, for the University of Virginia.”

    Donor wants naming rights- BOV says the name is OK, done deal. It’s no different then naming a building on grounds. I wouldn’t be shocked if Mr. Sandridge had been asked that he might have demured.

  10. Naming rights don’t go through the BOV—that’s up to the folks in development, although I suspect that some members of the BOV get involved at reeling in heavy hitters. More to the point, though, Sandridge (and Casteen, of course) runs the show there. It’s neat that the BOV resolved to name the road after him, but it’s the same as when the board of an organization has a plaque made to honor the long-serving president—we all know that they’re just taking turns patting each other on the back. If he didn’t want the road named after him, he could have said so. Because, again, he’s in charge—he’s the COO. It’s like little kids telling their mother that—good news!—they’re getting her a massage for Mother’s Day. Now she just has to find a masseuse, go there, and pay. Thanks, kids. I appreciate that there is a difference between Sandridge unilaterally naming a road after himself and carrying out the wishes of the BOV, but that’s not the sort of difference that I personally find compelling.

    And this is where things get a bit awkward for me, what with working for the president’s office. :)

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