Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

Charlottesville, Virginia to Bypass Years of Careful Planning

11:10 AM EDT on July 29, 2011

Charlottesville, Virginia is a true stand-out in growth management in the South. Despite strong development pressure, this mid-sized city, which is home to the University of Virginia, has developed a growth boundary to help preserve its scenic natural surroundings and quaint, small-town feel.

false

After all that careful planning and forethought, it pains me to have to write this kind of story about Charlottesville -- the unnecessary highway story.

The Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization had specifically blocked funding for a bypass of US 29 as part of its long-range plan. But Wednesday, the MPO board voted 3-2 to overturn that decision and accept $197 million in state funding to revive the 6.2 mile project that has been sitting on a shelf for the last 15 years.

This whole thing is like a replay of Charleston and Charlotte, except Charlottesville really ought to know better.

Sean Tubbs at Network blog Charlottesville Tomorrow has been following this story as it unfolds. These excerpts were taken from a series of four stories Tubbs has written on the topic.

City Councilors Kristin Szakos and Satyendra Huja voted against the motion to approve funding, which came after more than 100 people spoke at the second public hearing on the topic. Roughly two-thirds of the speakers argued that the MPO should not allow further funding for the project.

Trip Pollard, director of the Southern Environmental Law Center’s land and community program, objected to being described as a “special interest.” “Obviously it’s a very controversial project,” Pollard said. “We have opposed it for a number of years because we think it is a wasteful and destructive project, and not because we’re a special interest. We think there are cheaper and better solutions.”

One person at Tuesday’s meeting asked if the widening could be done without the bypass, but [Supervisor Ken] Boyd cut him off and pointed out that the VDOT officials were not on hand to answer political questions.

“We’ve been told the money to widen 29 will not be made available unless there is a bypass,” Boyd said.

“We’re being blackmailed,” shouted a Forest Lakes South resident who did not want to be identified.

Surely the officials at the Charlottesville-Albemarle MPO, with all the sophisticated planning they have been doing, are aware of the concept of induced demand. Maybe the promise of almost $200 million in state funding has clouded their judgment a little.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space reports that the fragmented nature of transit in Phoenix has resulted in out-sized administration costs. New Jersey Future asks why Millennials are attracted to cities. And Bike Portland reports live from the kick-off of the cross-country velomobile tour.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Monday’s Headlines Likes Stadiums Without Parking

The lack of parking at Kansas City's new soccer stadium is a feature, not a bug. Plus other news.

February 26, 2024

Should Communities That Suppress Housing Lose Their Road Funding?

A Colorado bill would require sprawling cities to take action to increase their affordable housing supply before they collect money to build more roads — and some want to take it national.

February 26, 2024

Why ‘Safe Systems’ Are Not Enough to End Road Violence

Two years into the National Roadway Safety Strategy, why hasn't America made more progress towards Vision Zero?

February 26, 2024

Friday’s Headlines Are So Fresh and So Clean

The only thing Americans love more than a car is a clean car.

February 23, 2024

CalBike: Tell the Legislature Hands Off Active Transportation Funding

Calbike has an action alert that allows its members to write directly to legislators with their feelings on whether or not the ATP funding should be restored before the legislature votes on the budget in June.

February 22, 2024
See all posts