Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Charlottesville's Meadowcreek Parkway: The Interchange Moonscape

I took this picture from Dad's car yesterday.

Construction of the McIntire Road/Meadowcreek Parkway interchange began about two weeks ago. 

I've been astounded at the speed of the work: huge swaths of old trees have been cleared in a matter of days.  The area looks completely different: like a massive interchange at Springfield or Manassas, but plopped down in the middle of Charlottesville.

I've been reading over my past entries about the Parkway; it has been the local issue that has occupied me more than any other in the past five years.  Here's my post from April 23, 2009:

One of the major issues in the Democratic primary for City Council is the Meadowcreek Parkway. I am unclear on two things:

     (1) Where do the three candidates stand on the parkway?

     (2) What can Council do at this point, regardless of councilors' positions?

An article by Rachana Dixit, in yesterday's Progress (it's
here), summarizes the candidates' positions, as presented during a forum the prior evening, as follows:
  • Dave Norris: "Vehemently against the parkway" - he said that its only upside was limited traffic alleviation off of Park Street
  • Kristin Szakos: Does not support the parkway, but believes it's now "too late to turn back without a court’s intervention"
  • Julian Taliaferro: Supports the parkway because of the money that the City's already invested in it ("I’m not willing to gamble $5 million of our money")
208. Is Kristin Szakos right that there's nothing further the City can do to stop the parkway? Couldn't Council re-visit the 3-2 vote that was taken in 2008 (in which Norris and Holly Edwards voted against the parkway)? What would prevent them from re-visiting that vote (particularly if work on the city portion has not yet started)?

209. Has Julian Taliaferro decided it's too late to change his position on the parkway (perhaps thinking that a revised position would make it look like he's just shopping for votes)? I thought that Taliaferro signaled reconsideration of his position, but this article makes it sounds like he is reconsidering his reconsideration.

210. Will there be any stoplights on the parkway (a la the 250 bypass)? Or will it truly be a parkway?

211. Are bike and/or running trails incorporated into the design?

212. Which is the bigger concern for County and/or City officials: getting the 29 North people (Hollymead, etc.) to downtown, or vice versa?

213. Are the politicians in Lynchburg, Danville, and other southern Virginia communities complaining that we're focusing all of our political debate/energy on the parkway rather than on a 29 bypass?

214. At the recent McIntire Pool Council meeting, David Brown cited to prior councilors' actions to defend his votes on the parkway. Which councilors, historically, were most in favor of making the parkway happen? Which were most opposed?


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I remain curious about which City councilors were the most influential in moving the Parkway forward.  When the entire road opens in a couple of years, will their decisions be praised or regretted? I remain ambivalent, but I am more convinced than previously that the Parkway will lead to more -- not fewer -- traffic problems in other areas (in particular on Pantops).

On a happier note, here's a picture of the Lee Park cherry tree that I took yesterday. 

The cherry has passed its peak (it's in the awesome part-pink / part-green phase now), but the dogwoods outside of Burley and along Preston Avenue are peaking.

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