â€œI think to be intellectually honest we have to say all the traffic studies indicate that we should put the interchanges in,â€ Boyd said. â€œBut I think I’d rather simply say at this time there’s no funding and no intent to do it.â€
Two clichÃ©s 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.
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.
â€œJobs and taxes come out of U.S. 29,â€ Myers said. â€œThat needs to be our engine for our economic development and our economic income.â€
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.
â€œThose cars cannot get across 29 and it’s going to get worse,â€ Werner said. â€œFor whatever reason, the business community â€¦ prefers gridlock.â€
Morgan Butler of the Southern Environmental Law Center was disappointed the interchanges would not be actively planned for several years.
â€œWe have to keep in mind this is a master plan,â€ Butler said. â€œIt requires we identify land use designations and the transportation projects that we need to handle the growth that we know is coming. â€¦ If we start taking off road projects, all we’re going to have left is the growth, with no plan to handle the traffic.â€
Good job, politics.