Thomas Informally Agrees to Limit 29N Access

Supervisor Rodney Thomas has informally agreed to limit access to 29N in exchange for VDOT funding the Western Bypass, Jim Bacon writes on Bacon’s Rebellion. A major problem with the bypass bypass is that it doesn’t really bypass very much at all—there’s plenty of sprawl to the north of it, and the county has shown no willingness to reduce the rate of expansion of that sprawl. Every new road that connects to 29N, every new business entrance, every new stoplight makes the bypass that much more useless. (Recall that the 29 Bypass actually bypassed 29, once upon a time. But the urban ring sprawled out past it.) Now Thomas has committed the Board of Supervisors and Albemarle County to not just limiting new access, but also potentially to eliminating private roads that connect to 29N and getting rid of some median-strip crossovers that currently allow traffic entering 29N to turn either right or left.

Of course, that’s just Albemarle County. Greene County isn’t about to make any such agreement, and at the rate they’ve been growing in the past decade, our wise willingness to limit access to 29N may be made irrelevant as Greene and points north keep clogging up 29 with new gas stations, shopping centers, and connecting roads.

10 Responses to “Thomas Informally Agrees to Limit 29N Access”


  • Methinks the blogger doth protest too much… What makes you think that Greene “isn’t about to make any such agreement”? Why wouldn’t we? What do you know of Greene? It has been my understanding that access is up to the state, not the locality – and in fact, our recently revised Comprehensive Plan has a goal of limiting access, plus a system of of local access roads rather than direct access to Rt. 29 – further, long-term re-development of the Rt 29/33 intersection envisions a grade-separated intersection…. As for “Greene and points north keep clogging up 29…” please don’t tar us with the same brush as Rt 29 North in Albemarle and other localities – there are presently 3, count ’em THREE traffic lights on Rt 29 in all of Greene County. Your bias is showing, Waldo.

  • 2 of those 3 traffic lights are pretty recent..the one by Sheetz isn’t that old and the one by Lowe’s/Walmart is probably less than a year old so you could couch it by saying that the number of rt 29 traffic lights in Greene has tripled..makes it sound a lot more ominous than only three, doesn’t it? Expanding the 45 mile/hr speed area has also slowed traffic on 29 and certainly makes my commute longer. If the reason for the Bypass that Bypasses Little is to benefit Danville & Lynchburg, anything that slows traffic on 29 will be on the radar at some point. By acting now to limit, Greene can fashion its own future rather than having a cabal determine where their roads will be. Pay attention. That comprehensive plan is worth nothing without the political will to make it stick.

  • Methinks the blogger doth protest too much…

    When Shakespeare wrote that in Hamlet, he meant that the Player Queen was affirming so much as to be incredible. But I’m pretty sure that’s not what you mean. If you’re thinking of “protest” in the modern sense, turning the expression on its head, then you’re implying…what? That I think the opposite—that, in fact, Greene isn’t seeking to grow aggressively, but I’m lying? Help me here.

    What makes you think that Greene “isn’t about to make any such agreement”? Why wouldn’t we?

    Why would Greene do that? Why would they choose to limit their own development for the sake of people who are just passing through? Imagine that you’re on the Board of Supervisors, and somebody has come to you for approval to put a new supermarket on 29 where there is now only forest. Do you say “you bet!” or do you say “sorry, you might happen to own that land, but you can’t build a supermarket there, because we don’t want you to have an access point to 29”? Greene, trying to grow its economic base, would be terribly foolish to say the latter.

    What do you know of Greene?

    How in the world would you expect me to answer that? With a number on the scale of 1–10? Should I list things that I know about Greene? Seriously, I’ve got nothin’.

    It has been my understanding that access is up to the state, not the locality – and in fact, our recently revised Comprehensive Plan has a goal of limiting access, plus a system of of local access roads rather than direct access to Rt. 29 – further, long-term re-development of the Rt 29/33 intersection envisions a grade-separated intersection….

    Access is up to the state, but they almost always say “yes.” Tim Kaine was going to start saying “no” a lot more, and I don’t think that panned out. Limiting access and building local access roads is in Albemarle’s Comprehensive Plan, too. It’s not really working out. There’s not the money to build those access roads. Counties don’t get to choose between access roads and new entrances to major highways. The choice is never binary.

    As for “Greene and points north keep clogging up 29…” please don’t tar us with the same brush as Rt 29 North in Albemarle and other localities – there are presently 3, count ‘em THREE traffic lights on Rt 29 in all of Greene County.

    And Greene would love to have a lot more lights. You don’t think that the BOS would love to transplant 29N in Albemarle up to Ruckersville? To be clear, we’re not talking about traffic lights. That’s a vast oversimplification. We’re talking about access points—as I wrote in the original post, driveways and median crossovers, to be specific.

    Your bias is showing, Waldo.

    By “bias” you mean my prejudice for or against…what? My bias against poorly planned urban areas? My bias in favor of sustainable infrastructure?

  • “To be clear, we’re not talking about traffic lights. That’s a vast oversimplification. We’re talking about access points—as I wrote in the original post, driveways and median crossovers, to be specific.”

    I definitely agree that access points are as critical as traffic lights. But just on the matter of traffic lights, I’ve been curious how many signals have been added to 29N between the existing Cville 29Bypass and I-66 during the rough period of the Western Bypass discussions. Using Google Earth to compare 1994 imagery (closest year available) with 2009 imagery, the answer is about 26 lights added. There are currently about 50 ( /- 2) lights throughout the stretch.

    Here’s the exact locations (S to N) of the lights added since 1994, if anyone wants to check my math:
    1.Albemarle Square 2.Better Living/Schewels 3.Polo Grounds 4.Ashwood Blvd 5.Hollymead Town Center 6.Lewis and Clark Drive 7.NGIC 8.Austin Drive 9.Burnley Station 10.Lowes/Walmart 11.Route 230 12.Madison County High School 13.Route 687 14.North Main Street 15.Route 666/Eastern View HS 16.Alanthus Rd/Brandy Station 17.Beverly Ford Road 18.Freeman’s Ford Road 19.Turkey Run Drive 20.Vint Hill Road 21.Crescent Park Drive 22.Old Carolina Road 23.Baltusrol Blvd 24.Rite Aid Pharmacy Shopping Center 25.Wawa 26.Virginia Oaks Drive

  • That’s really interesting, Andrew. By my count, 9 of those 26 lights are in Albemarle alone. I don’t know north of Madison well enough to know if any other county has added as many, but the junction of 29 and 66 has gotten so very, very built up in the past fifteen years that I have to suspect they’re in the same ballpark.

  • Ms. Smith's Neighbor

    “…..
    1.Albemarle Square
    2.BetterLiving/Schewels
    3.Polo Grounds
    4.Ashwood Blvd
    5.Hollymead Town Center
    6.Lewis and Clark Drive
    7.NGIC
    8.Austin Drive
    9.Burnley Station
    10.Lowes/Walmart…..

    Hmmm, reminds me of a line from a Beatles Tune. “Now they know kown many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.

    Ready to talk more UNsustainability amongst yourselves here?

  • “our wise willingness to limit access to 29N …” Sounds a little smug – Locking the barn door after the horse has run away?

    Most Greene residents have experienced the mess that Rt 29 North has become and I don’t think the Supervisors would “love to transplant 29N in Albemarle up to Ruckersville”

    “Why would they choose to limit their own development for the sake of people who are just passing through?” – This is exactly the attitude that made the Bypass necessary (though I know you don’t like it – for those of us wanting to drive south, it will be a great improvement)

  • “our wise willingness to limit access to 29N …” Sounds a little smug – Locking the barn door after the horse has run away?

    Nope—exactly the opposite. Rodney Thomas and I don’t agree on much, politically speaking, but he got this one right, and so I complimented him on a smart decision.

    Most Greene residents have experienced the mess that Rt 29 North has become and I don’t think the Supervisors would “love to transplant 29N in Albemarle up to Ruckersville”

    Too bad the economy is in the tank, and development has slowed, otherwise I’d love to put some money on this.

    There’s basically zero chance of Greene denying access to 29 to new construction when the alternative is not having that new construction at all. The money doesn’t exist for parallel road network, so it’s not like Greene gets to pick between a parallel road or 29—the choice is between a new business or not a new business, and Greene is going to pick that new business every time.

    “Why would they choose to limit their own development for the sake of people who are just passing through?” – This is exactly the attitude that made the Bypass necessary

    Ay-yup.

  • The original post in Bacon’s Rebellion has at least one major mistake – Rodney Thomas is NOT the chair of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors(that’s still Ann Mallek). He IS the chair of the MPO.

  • What a giant cock up. Rodney Thomas can’t bind the BOS to any such thing with his single, yet-to-be recorded vote on some yet-to-be revision to County Zoning despite his rogue contacts with VDOT.

    And so on.

    It’s a giant farce. Current and coming generations of community residents will spit on his family name once it’s shown that VDOT has no money to make good on the bypass OR the locally prioritized roads, and that his bluster about building new roads was a highly partisan stunt.

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