Fine Then. Build the Western Bypass

Neil Williamson reports:

If the Albemarle Board of Supervisors does pass Places29, without fundamental changes (including real consideration of a bypass option), we believe VDOT will continue to press the arterial standards.  If forced to meet this “new” standard, many approved developments may not be able to be achieved.

Places29 will then be nothing more than an expensive book of pretty pictures that hindered rather than enhanced development opportunities in the development areas.

Just build the Western Bypass, already. 29 North was never designed to to be an artery where pedestrian activity was encouraged, was it?

Start reading about the Western Bypass, and understand that, like most infrastructure improvements in our area, nothing will ever get done.

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  1. Waldo Jaquith January 21, 2011 at 23:40

    A thought exercise: How far north would you need to start building to bypass the developed area of 29, how far south would you need to connect to do the same, and how would you prevent the areas north and south of those points from becoming as developed as 29N?

    1. Jim Duncan January 23, 2011 at 12:37

      I think that a bypass near the Sheetz to near the 64 interchange past Fontaine. I don’t know that one could prevent growth north and south, but I know that right now, 29 is a mess. If Places 29 fails, as I’ve always assumed it would due to our community’s ability to forestall everything including the inevitable, then are we left with the status quo?

      A similar thought exercise – what should be done about 29 now? It’s fast becoming a road that doesn’t do what it was intended to do – be an artery for efficient north-south traffic.

      1. Waldo Jaquith January 27, 2011 at 21:54

        Here’s the problem, Jim: we’ve already got a bypass. (“The Bypass,” we call it, aka “250” and “the 29 bypass.”) But that bypass was constructed without any simultaneous restriction in development north and south of its connection points. So now its utility has been significantly reduced. As a result, people want to build a bypass bypass. But without growth restrictions along 29, we’re just going to have to build a bypass bypass bypass in a couple of decades. That’s just dumb. So we get to pick: we can have unfettered growth, or we can have a bypass. But we can’t have both.

        What should be done now? I can think of a few things. First off, reversion. Then the city and county can stop competing, allowing an increase density in the city and a decrease in this sprawl out in the county, generally reducing the amount of traffic on 29. (This is solvable without reversion, but a lot harder.) Then stop permitting new entrances off of 29. You can build something along 29, but you only get to attach it to an arterial road. More entrances means more slow-downs, more spots for accidents, more moving parts. Continue optimizing traffic flow by regarding light timing as something that’s dynamic, and change a couple of key intersections to be interchanges. Finally, enhance the parallel roads as is planned, making them viable methods of moving up and down the 29 corridor.

        A bypass is a lot like a heart bypass. Sometimes you need one, but if you think you might need a *second* one, perhaps it’s time to start looking at changing the behavior that’s causing the problem in the first place. To try out another metaphor, building a bigger road to help with congestion is like buying a bigger belt to help with your weight problem.


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