Funding and Intent Are Two Different Things

No grade-separated interchanges at 29 and Rio:

“I think to be intellectually honest we have to say all the traffic studies indicate that we should put the interchanges in,” Boyd said. “But I think I’d rather simply say at this time there’s no funding and no intent to do it.”

Two clichés come to mind:

– where there’s a will, there’s a way
– perfection is the enemy of progress

People move to the Charlottesville-Albemarle region because we don’t have Northern Virginia traffic and congestion; it’s one of the reasons Charlottesville is one of the 10 most livable college towns. Without progress on our transportation and infrastructure, this quality of life will decline, and we will all suffer the effects. Our “leaders” need to determine what they want our area to be in 25 years and find a way to act on this vision.

The transportation section of Albemarle County’s Places29 Master Plan has been slimmed down to include only projects that have a reasonable chance of being constructed within its first five years. That means county staff will not perform any design work for a grade-separated interchange at the intersection of U.S. 29 and Rio Road.

I don’t know whether I’ve ever seen the business community campaigning against growth while the Piedmont Environmental Council and Southern Environmental Law Center are campaigning for growth:

Carter Myers, a former member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board who owns several car dealerships on U.S. 29, said grade-separated interchanges would threaten Albemarle County’s bottom line.

“Jobs and taxes come out of U.S. 29,” Myers said. “That needs to be our engine for our economic development and our economic income.”

But Jeff Werner of the Piedmont Environmental Council said the interchanges would provide a way for motorists to cross U.S. 29 without stopping, a necessary step in alleviating traffic congestion.

“Those cars cannot get across 29 and it’s going to get worse,” Werner said. “For whatever reason, the business community … prefers gridlock.”
Morgan Butler of the Southern Environmental Law Center was disappointed the interchanges would not be actively planned for several years.

“We have to keep in mind this is a master plan,” Butler said. “It requires we identify land use designations and the transportation projects that we need to handle the growth that we know is coming. … If we start taking off road projects, all we’re going to have left is the growth, with no plan to handle the traffic.”

Good job, politics.

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  1. BretH September 2, 2010 at 13:10

    Not to be a cranky contrarian, but you get what you vote for:

    “Thomas opposed the interchanges and criticized the Places29 study, which espoused the interchange idea, as being too expensive. Slutzky supported the Places29 concept and voiced support for a possible freeway-style interchange at Rio Road and U.S. 29, but not others along the rest of the corridor. ”

  2. Jim Duncan September 2, 2010 at 16:04

    I didn’t vote for him. Of course, I didn’t vote for his opponent either, as I’m not in that district. 🙂

    But you’re absolutely right. Voters have to accept responsibility.


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