Monday, November 30, 2009

Traffic on Pantops Mountain: Albemarle and Charlottesville Leaders Point Fingers

The Progress is running an excellent series this week on Route 250. The series is structured in four installments that examine particular issues facing four different portions of the road as it passes through Albemarle and Charlottesville.

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As a kid growing up in Ivy, 250 meant "car" and "road." I can remember hearing my parents repeatedly talk about 250 and not being sure why they chose that number or what its significance was.

Eventually, though, I learned that when 250 was discussed, we were about to go somewhere -- either to the A&P, dad's office, or -- if I was really lucky -- Shenanigans or Barnaby's.

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In today's installment of the series (here), Rachana Dixit looks at Pantops Mountain. Not surprisingly, the problem is heavier and heavier traffic there, in particular the back-ups at Free Bridge.

Somewhat surprisingly though, both David Slutzky (on behalf of the County) and Dave Norris (on behalf of the City) each points the finger exclusively at the other entity for having caused (or failed to address) the problems on 250.

Dixit quotes Slutzky criticizing City decision-makers in no uncertain terms: “The city needs to get over it,” said David L. Slutzky, chairman of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. “That route needs to be widened.”

For his part, Norris says the problem is a lack of County planning: “[The] Pantops area is booming, and yet, even before a lot of the recent growth, there already were bottlenecks there,” Mayor Dave Norris said. Referring to county officials, he added, “They never should have allowed the rate of growth we’re seeing in that part of the county without first building the infrastructure to support it.”

Local resident Hank Bourguignon -- perhaps aware of the buck-passing between City and County that Dixit's quotes illuminate -- predicts that the traffic issue will not be addressed anytime soon.

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