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October 18, 2007

Supervisors on Route 29 transportation priorities

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As the community gets ready for election day on November 6th, Charlottesville Tomorrow is preparing to mail our non-partisan voter guides featuring the results of interviews with each of the candidates for Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

Over the next few weeks, this blog will feature some of the questions that did not make the cut for the voter guide, but which still offer important insights into the candidates' views on local growth and development issues.

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Our Election Watch 2007 website includes the complete audio and written transcript for each candidate interview.  Subscribe to our e-mails to get immediate notification of the availability of the 2007 Voter Guides.  The content below are excerpts pulled from the verbatim transcripts.

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, SECOND IN A SERIES

ClogosmWhat are your transportation priorities for the Route 29 corridor north of Charlottesville and how specifically will the community fund those initiatives?



RIVANNA

Ken Boyd (R)-Incumbent: Well, you’re talking about the road or transportation priorities on Places29 and 29 North.  I’d have to say that there are lot of priorities up there, but if I had to choose one, my biggest priority would be the Berkmar Drive Extended and I think that we should fund it through developer’s contributions.

Marcia Joseph (D)-Challenger: …We need to look at transportation a little bit differently… There are roads that they have that are parallel to 29 and they’re pretty much on the western side and I think that that can be a benefit… sometimes when you want to not be on Route 29 as it is now, you’ll go through K-Mart to go to different places or sometimes at Berkmar.  Berkmar Extended is one of those roads that if you want to avoid some of 29, you can go the so-called back way to get to certain places and those are the kinds of things we need to look at.

Now, as far funding these initiatives… we never have done anything other than put aside pennies, you know, put aside money funding for the Meadowcreek Parkway.  We’ve gotten funding in the past from VDOT.  That’s drying up.  I think at this point the community has to decide what kinds of things would benefit the entire community so it’s almost as if you do a referendum on a referendum.…I think that there are means but right now, it’s certainly not the state government and it’s certainly we’re not getting the funding from each and every development to carry out some of these enormous projects.


SCOTTSVILLE

Lindsay Dorrier (D)-Incumbent: My first priority is the start and completion of the Meadowcreek Parkway. My second priority is to find another route over the Rivanna River for a second parallel road to Route 29 North. Also, I favor the measures outlined in the Places 29 Plan for Route 29 North.  We will fund these initiatives with a combination of local, state and federal funds; however, we should also require new development to pay the costs with proffers.

Kevin Fletcher (I)-Challenger: I think that we need to try to figure out a way to take the—  I guess the University traffic and the Downtown traffic off of [Route] 29, if that is through the side streets.   I guess the only true funding, big funding for that is that you’d have to create possibly another bridge.  Whether that is something that adjoins the Meadowcreek Parkway or a bridge that would probably come through where I guess where Sam’s is…  I think a loop around the City I think would be pretty much impractical and I think it would meet with quite a bit of opposition and it would take many many many years to get that done and it’s something that we need to try to take care as soon as possible.

As far as funding, I think that we… can certainly try to find extra money in our budget.  If taxes need to be raised, then that’s what, you know, needs to be done or also we can try to lobby for more money from the state to get this taken care of, but it is a necessity.

Denny King (I)-Challenger: Several weeks ago I spent an afternoon riding my district, riding through my district with VDOT executives and I wanted them to share with me those plans that existed in the seven-year plan, what’s going to happen to [Route] 250.  I have made it a point to get up early and go to Glenmore and sit there during rush hour...

I know that we don’t have money for roads.  We simply don’t have money for roads and I was told that by some of the management people at VDOT, so we have to look at this, making little incremental improvements to our road systems. 

We have to encourage car pooling…. Maybe we start doing different time periods where people can come into their place of work… How many of us could really accomplish everything we need to do never leaving our home office?.... Just think how many cars we would take off the road…

…I’m thrilled that at least the dialogue has begun about extending Berkmar, building the bridge.  I think that would certainly alleviate some of the congestion on 29 but then I have to look back and say, well, the Meadowcreek Parkway was a fabulous idea and in its time as well.  God forbid that extending Berkmar Drive and the building of the bridge will take the amount of time that the Meadowcreek Parkway is taking…


WHITE HALL

David Wyant (R)-Incumbent: We as a County in realizing the need for that infrastructure have been putting aside a million dollars into transportation…. [Route] 29… that’s got to be a public/private partnership where those developers that would come along on the side of that road, they contribute to improvements of 29, but the state has to step up.… Since a long time when I was with VDOT, they always wanted to turn our transportation needs over to us at the local level which I think is really costly to my citizens and I think they need to step up on the partnerships with us on that major corridor. 

Now, outside of that in the communities, I believe you need roads that can get through communities that aren’t through-type roads.  As I walk door-to-door, a lot of folks love those cul-de-sacs and those micro communities as they are, but they don’t want a lot of cut-through traffic, so we have to account for a community transportation system and the main transportation system to move those folks through that are passing through the County.

Ann Mallek (D)-Challenger: Since 2000 I’ve served on the Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Transportation Citizen’s Committee and worked on the long range plan.  Important features of that plan are expanding bus service from Barracks Road to the airport and later on to Greene County; preserve the right of way in the third lane of Route 29 for a bus lane – bus rapid transit will be the first step towards rail in the far future when we are a bigger community; continue to require that all new residential and commercial developments be transit ready.  An example would be amenities such as bus stops with shelters, and pull out lanes for buses to function.  Gradually add residential density along core transportation routes to support mass transit rather than adding sprawl, which requires auto travel.  Our growth areas are a perfect example of this plan.  I would support grade-separated interchanges at those intersections on 29 that have enough traffic to support it.  This will save money and improve traffic patterns, without taking more land and businesses.  What we should avoid is what happened with the 29 corridor twenty years ago: In 1989 studies indicated that grade-separated interchanges, at a cost of $15 million for Hydraulic Road, would greatly improve traffic flow, which would have saved businesses and residents many times that amount in gas, time and money.  But VDOT and the county decided to go with the expensive and inefficient widening improvements, for example at Rio Road.  Now we will need to duplicate that investment to achieve a true long-term solution.

Kendall Singleton

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