Council OKs Meadowcreek Parkway

By a one-vote margin, City Council has signed off on the Meadowcreek Parkway, Rachana Dixit reports for the Progress. Although specifically they’ve just OKd a relatively small thing—allowing the city manager to sign a draft memorandum of agreement—that basically allows the whole road to happen, since that MoA is required to get a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, which is required for the state to award the bid for construction. That said,, Council had already given the city manager the go-ahead on signing that agreement, back in 2006…they just wanted to do it again. Mayor Dave Norris and Holly Edwards were the two dissenting votes.

25 thoughts on “Council OKs Meadowcreek Parkway”

  1. Sadly, we will have a long time to look back on David Brown’s time on council as a dark period in our history as a city. It’s hard to imagine a stupider idea than running a highway right through the heart of the city, but it doesn’t surprise me he voted for it. I had hoped for a little better from Szakos.

  2. Brown is no better than the other liberal members of this council..He along with Norris and Lynch voted to allow the YMCA to be built in the western part of the park. I for one hope Brown, norris and lynch burn in H#!! for their votes on the YMCA issue.

  3. Well, here we have the problem with any sort of discourse in our town, country, world right now.

    I’m with Harry. Bit much, perhaps.

  4. Somehow, ‘eternal damnation’ for violating that silly separation of church and state seems appropriate. They have gone over to the other side, it seems.

    The “C” irrevocably stands for “Christian” depsite their having changed their name to acronym-only status.

    The oddity here is that those darned ‘liberals’ are the ones doing it this time. Isn’t it generally conceded that ‘liberals’ are really ‘godless liberals’ and that the conservatives are the ones with the inside track to masking ‘Christian values’ under the cloak of ‘conservative values’.

    When did the term ‘reactionary’ morph into ‘conservative’? I seem to have missed that memo.

  5. It’s hardly a “highway” being built through the “heart of the city”, but a two lane road built through an unused park. The one and only time I sauntered into that part of McIntire Park I was accosted and told I had to leave. I thought to myself, “to heck with this place” and have a hard time reconciling my experience with all the expressions of deeply felt love for this golf course.

    Now we learn that it’s “historic” and now there are festivals and whatnot, but who can deny this is nothing more than cynical johnny-come-latelyism?

    The politicians voting against the road are doing little more than pandering. I firmly believe that if the road’s future was actually at stake, one or both of the dissenting votes would flip the other way.

  6. My real problem with this is that apparently no one but Save McIntire has read the fine print of the mitigation agreement. What it does is establish that the golf course is “historic”, and that road designs cannot preclude the continued existence of the golf course. It even goes the absurd step of requiring interpretive signs. Besides, the golf course was already mitigated back in the early 1990s (i.e. Penn Park).

    So… the real effect of this is that quietly all the trails that were previously shown to access McIntire Park have been moved to the other side of the road or removed entirely (even the one going to the Dogwood Memorial). That means that will this road is built, and it will be, then the park will continue to be relatively unuseable except by a small minority who can’t even fill a fraction of the parking lot on a nice day.

    Keep in mind, this park was built by taking it via eminent domain, by compensating landowners with McIntire’s financial contribution so that a park could be built as “a public park and play ground for the white people of Charlottesville”. Even now, there’s a group that secretly doesn’t want “riff raff” and “boomboxes” in their park, and is willing to circumvent the master planning process to get their way and preserve their exclusive use. To be very clear, I’m not saying Save Mcintire is racist, I am saying they have an agenda to exclude a significant portion of the public from the park by restricting it’s use.

    If the public wants a golf course, then so be it, but the future use of the park shouldn’t have been influenced through a meeting designed to mitigate impacts to the environment and the community as a whole.

  7. I guess “build the darn road already” is so new to the area that he/she hasn’t noticed the alignment of the proposed parkway with 5th/Ridge/McIntire/etc/etc which makes a defacto bypass right through the middle of town.

    The parkway will be the default choice for those in the 29 North area who wish to get to the other side of town. The already screwed section of the route between Preston and Cherry will immediately be even more of a pain than it is already and more widening in that area will be the only solution. The intersections will all be nightmarish, particularly at Preston and Main streets.

    Lots of people who think they are smarter than those who choose the default route will take the old Park St. route to try to save a few seconds off of their commute. That means those on Park will have gained nothing in the end unless the city puts speed bumps on their street, which is extremely unlikely.

    In short order, most of the problems that currently exist all the way from the Bypass/Mcintire rd. intersection to Free Bridge and to 64 along 5th St. will be worsened rather than helped. We will have lost an irreplaceable park, we will not have helped those living on Park Street, we will have spent a fortune, and we will be back again trying to find a solution to the same old problems. Losing the park is a heavy price to pay for nothing.

  8. Now there’s a long bet I’d like to put up against somebody here: that the Meadowcreek Parkway will have no discernible impact on traffic, just as you describe, TBoM. The trouble is measuring it. Even if somebody who was all about this road wanted to put up $100 that says it’ll make a huge difference come, say, five years after it’s completed, I don’t know how we’d measure what it’s accomplished (or hasn’t).

  9. Maybe someone could start keeping a tally of flattened cats on Park Street and we could compare before and after?

  10. well, presumably in 5 years there will be even more people here, so it wouldn’t be an apples to apples comparison.

    tbom, I don’t think there is a “solution” to the “same old problem” of too many cars and too few roads. It is an intractable “problem” and road development is inevitable in a growing area such as ours. I agree that it’s unfortunate that an unused park is being paved over, but that is better than destroying people’s homes, as used to happen.

    Not building the road for 40 years has accomplished what, exactly? The road isn’t going to feed the poor or bring world peace, but it is a sensible addition to our transportation infrastructure.

  11. If they build a new YMCA here in town, it should be walkable to the people that it will serve. You cannot safely walk to McIntire Park now!

  12. and btw, build the darn road and gonna be interesting are one and the same person using different PCs to access this page.

  13. Of course you can safely walk to the YMCA spot. Sidewalks and walking paths from all sides. It is silly how people are getting so worked up over replacing some busted up pavilions with an affordable option for workouts and other activities.

    Cville seems to be one giant no change, NIMBY.

  14. “Now there’s a long bet I’d like to put up against somebody here: that the Meadowcreek Parkway will have no discernible impact on traffic.”

    Depends on what you mean by “discernible impact on traffic” – if you mean travel times between 29 N and downtown/south of town (Belmont/Ridge), these may improve (if the interchange is built). Before-and-after travel time runs from common points could test this. If you’re referring to amount of traffic, I would expect traffic counts on McIntire/Ridge to increase and Park to decrease. One thing I would love to see (but who knows if this would actually happen) should the parkway be built is increased bike/ped accessibility to areas north of the by-pass. This could be considered a traffic “improvement”.

    Jogger, TBOM, etc. – quite some strong words you’ve got there. To me, the biggest “impact” of this project will be COST – someone has to finance a 1 mile road and interchange that may not necessarily have extensive benefits (although I would expect travel times to decrease on 250 due to the interchange). IMO, these points haven’t been taken into account much, and instead people have focused on the “destruction” of a park.

  15. Waldo, et al, the copy I’d read was from Peter Kleemans’ blog which was initially the only one I could find. I assumed that was the latest copy; however, I now realize I was wrong…

    The final draft draft I found by digging through the interchange site had much better language in terms of making sure mitigation was neutral in terms of any future master planning. It also looks like trails on both sides will be preserved in the plan. It still contains some rather absurd elements (like the interpretive signs, and a retaining wall to protect the “historic” bathhouse; however generally it’s much improved. I respectfully retract my previous comment above since apparently it was based on outdated information, in fact please delete my comment if that’s possible.

    It still contains this piece though which I strongly object to:

    Decisions regarding the long term management of McIntire Park (including the Golf Course) cannot be made outside of the City’s master planning process. However using the research and the coordination completed for this undertaking as a source of information, the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation will ensure that the public participation process considers the historic character of McIntire Park during the master plan development. Furthermore the City shall ensure that historic features contributing to McIntire Parks eligibility for inclusion in the NRHP will be highlighted in the McIntire Park Master Plan.

    In other words the MOA is not binding on the Master Planning process, and yet, the city may have still biased itself towards keeping the Golf Course. With the park much more accessible though, I’m not sure how that’s going to work practically.

  16. Depends on what you mean by “discernible impact on traffic” – if you mean travel times between 29 N and downtown/south of town (Belmont/Ridge), these may improve (if the interchange is built). Before-and-after travel time runs from common points could test this. If you’re referring to amount of traffic, I would expect traffic counts on McIntire/Ridge to increase and Park to decrease.

    Oh, sure, I know in theory how to measure it, but I don’t have the resources at my disposal to actually measure the average before-and-after travel times in a way that would satisfy those of us on each side of such a bet. :)

  17. I’m not really a betting man…and if I was, I probably wouldn’t bet on the parkway being built TOO soon LOL…but if it was to happen, you could, you know, use a stopwatch and make a few runs! Try during a few “peak hour” (4-6 PM) time periods and try a few “free-flow” (late night?) time periods. As for the amount of traffic, well…you could always count cars!

  18. I’ve got an awesome idea for a new C’ville sporting event. We’re going to need a good bar out near Fashion Square, but I think a road race back and forth between a downtown drinking spot and one out there would be a blast and settle the question as well. Loser buys the next round. Shit, we could make it an annual festival.

    With a little coaxing maybe we could get some ex-city councilors involved as celebrity participants. They would race their respective choices re: the road.

  19. As to traffic, I think the results all depends on how onw defines the question. The problem all along is that building the MCP would only enable more bad development on 29. The thing is, they didn’t wait for it to be comeplete so now the cause and effect will be hard to determine.

    If you measure purely on travel time and number of cars, then I predict that the MCP will be just the same as it was on park street in only a few years (assuming the housing market recovers by then…) As for Park Street, it all depends on how they implement traffic calming on that road. There are a range of things that could be done to discourage it as a cut through.

    Now one oft repeated claim is that we’ll “lose parkland”. Actually that’s not true. As part of the deal for building the road we’ll end up with a sum increase in parkland. All we’ll lose are a dew golf course holes, which I’m sure special interests will demand to have replaced by clearing forest.

  20. Actually, one point that I strongly agree with Save McIntire on is that the road should be closed periodically so people can experience the whole park without cars. (In fact, I even proposed this myself as a reasonable compromise years ago…) It sounds like Council is willing to entertain that idea by closing the road one Sunday a month or something like that, but they were not willing to make it part of the conditions to approve contruction of the road.

  21. When completed, the road will be close to 5K as a there and back again proposition. It would be a brilliant 5K race course.

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