Ready to roll? Boyd pushes Meadowcreek Parkway opening

Albemarle Supervisor Ken Boyd wants the Meadowcreek Parkway open, and he wants it open now– or at least by December 8.

Boyd introduced a resolution to the Board of Supervisors at its November 2 meeting to open Albemarle's portion of the parkway, which has been completed for over a year and was temporarily opened for six weeks in October 2010. The board held off on a vote until Virginia Department of Transportation traffic studies were complete. Now Boyd plans to bring the resolution back at the December 7 supes' meeting.

"VDOT says it can open it the next day if the resolution is passed by the board," says Boyd. "The road has been certified, and it needs to be used, or it will deteriorate."

"The road is ready for traffic," says VDOT spokesman Lou Hatter– although he's not able to confirm that VDOT can open the road within 24 hours of a county request. Signals have to be turned on. "I'm not sure how fast signal work can be done," says Hatter.

Also, says Hatter, VDOT would like for both the Albemarle Board of Supervisors and Charlottesville City Council to request the opening.

That's not quite the understanding Boyd has, and he disputes the notion of any formal agreement between city and county that the parkway wouldn't open until its three separate segments– the county's already-finished Meadowcreek Parkway, the barely begun McIntire Road Extended, and the completely uncommenced grade-separated Meadowcreek Parkway Interchange– were all complete.

"I've asked the city to produce that," says Boyd. "There's no document in writing. The City Council passed a resolution, and that's not binding on the county."

Boyd characterizes any deal as more of a "gentleman's agreement" to coordinate if those dates fall within six months of each other.

"They're 18 months away," says Boyd of the city's portion of the parkway.

Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris disagrees with the notion that there's no formal agreement on a simultaneous opening, and he points to a condition in the permanent easement the Charlottesville School Board granted to VDOT for a slice of land near Charlottesville High.

"It's part of the deed," says Norris. "I don't see how the county or VDOT or the city can open legally without going back to the the School Board resolution."

But according to City Attorney Craig Brown, "The deed of easement doesn't say that." The only entity that agreed to the city's demand for a simultaneous opening, says Brown, was VDOT.

Even City Council doesn't appear to be taking the alleged three-part synchrony too seriously. Council's December 5 agenda has a resolution to open the parkway, and Norris expects a majority of councilors to okay it, although he will not be part of that majority.

The resolution lists conditions VDOT must perform, such a 25mph speed limit near Melbourne Road on one end and CATEC on the other, turning over the maintenance of the Melbourne Road traffic signal to the city, and five other demands, including improving a turn radius at Park/Rio and Melbourne, and lengthening turn lanes at other intersections– work that may take more than 24 hours to perform.

Norris suspects that the city's conditions will not slow Albemarle's parkway-opening zeal, particularly given the discontent and backed up traffic coming from the Dunlora subdivision because of the unopened road.

"There's a lot of influence there," observes Norris. "I suspect at the end of the day, the county will say, 'Thank you for your suggestions'– and the opening will happen anyway."


Must be disappointing for Mayor Norris to have 3 councilors who will agree to just about anything the county wants. Why are they City Councilors - they are forfeiting city parkland, city water infrastructure, city reservoirs, and making their own citizens pay for this.

Shouldn't Szakos, Huja and Brown be recalled for fiscal irresponsibility. Well, we know who represents the 1% on Council, and it's not Councilor Edwards and Mayor Norris.

Surprise! Surprise! Mayor Norris is AGAINST something. Has he ever been FOR something? Oh yes, the OCCUPY movement.

Mayor Norris is the most fiscally conservative councilor - wait till you see your water/sewer bill in years to come and you will wish you had NOT voted for Huja.

T.J., has the mayor presented a reason WHY the parkway shouldn't open, other than his incorrect interpretation of the agreement?

Can YOU present a cogent argument for NOT opening the parkway, which was built a year ago?

There appears to be a large contingent of Charlottesville city residents that believe the city should act in a truly spiteful manner toward the county. If the county wants it, the city should oppose it for that very reason.

Grow up. You can't always get your way. That does not mean the people on the other side of an issue are evil or corrupt. Just sometimes life is like that. Lashing out at your imagined enemies in the big bad county does not further the city's interests at all.

Again: grow up.

Norris suspects that the city's conditions will not slow Albemarle's parkway-opening zeal, particularly given the discontent and backed up traffic coming from the Dunlora subdivision because of the unopened road.

"There's a lot of influence there,"

Yes, Dave. People driving to their jobs in cars are 'influence' peddlers.

This guy's act is sooooo tired. Whenever he loses an argument he attributes it to some nefarious force. "Influence". OOooooh!!! How evil sounding!

Has he accomplished a single thing in his four years as mayor? I mean, other than failing to negotiate a completion bond on the Landmark Hotel and facilitating the explosion of the local homeless population? Oh, and also turning Lee Park into a campground.

The backed up traffic isn't only coming "from" Dunlora, it's anyone driving BY Dunlora.

I am counting the days until this man is no longer Mayor. He inherited the number one town in the country and his failures and his policies as mayor has led directly to actual urban blight on the downtown mall.

As much as people may like the guy, it's hard to argue against the fact that he has been a failure as mayor.

I forgot about his effort to find a new home for the city market! Great job, Mayor Dave! That "task force" may be your crowning achievement!

It is hard to find another initiative that so exemplifies the Norris years as mayor.

Norris's main fault as a mayor is that he's boring. Szakos, or god help us Huja as mayor would have everyone crying to have Norris back.

Norris is right on this issue though. Routing cut-through county traffic through the center of the city is a very foolish idea and a completed Meadowcreek Parkway will be a disaster for city residents.

The back ups as Dunlora will be nothing compared to the back ups to come at the corners of Preston and McIntire or the one at 5th Street and Main. Evening commuter traffic will be backed up all the way through the University as a result of that and traffic movement anywhere near downtown will be dramatically affected.

5th St. between Main and Cherry is already overburdened and the only way to deal with the immense added burden from the parkway will be to demolish what little is left of what used to be one of the finest streets in town. So much for the idea of a historic city, but someone has to get to Walmart immediately all else be damned!

@meanwhile, the city and county interests do not always coincide, but as of late with 3 city councilors on the development bandwagon, we might as well have 9 board of supervisors and 2 city councilors.

No, I do not think county development traffic should be routed through the main city park; no, I do not think city owned parkland at Ragged Mt. Natural Area should be destroyed for county development; no, I do not think city water assets should be turned over to county control; no, I do not think city residents should pay for county growth.

Yes, I do think we need a regional affordable housing and social service plan. Yes, I do think we need a regional fire and rescue and police protection plan. Yes, I do think we need a regional watershed protection plan. Yes, I do think our school systems can plan certain joint functions. Yes, I do think taxes in the city and county should be more closely aligned. Yes, I do think the revenue sharing agreement is a better solution than the threat of annexation.

Actually, if you study other communities ours is far more congenial than most in planning efforts.

Why is it that projects like the Meadowcreek Parkway and the 29 Bypass can always be delayed, even stopped, through small groups of activists. They impede progress and drive up costs through their legal tactics and their "paralysis through analysis". The only thing they accomplish is increasing the costs to taxpayers of the projects they oppose. If they had their way, we'd be riding horses on dirt roads. Come to think of it, they'd probably get some court to issue a restraining order on riding horses until some 20 year study on the effects of horse manure on local waste water treatment plants is completed. Of course, there would first be a special commission set up which would take 5 years to recommend that the study be done.

The tyranny of the minority in action.

Living in the southern part of the city, I will certainly use it once it is open. I have to go 29 north to get most anything. In the 50s the downtown had a diversity of stores now it doesn't. Target out at the airport has jumped the shark but it seems I have to go to 29 quite often. And another big apartment complex is going up on Rio making Rio worse. I do use the public transport to get to work, since I only have to go to Court Square but the stores are just not downtown anymore. So I don't buy it that just County people will use it. Where is the Lowe's or Walmart downtown?


The street that runs north from the traffic light at Cherry Avenue/Elliott Avenue to Main Street is Ridge Street, created in 1825 by an Achilles Broadhead plat, then offered as a public thoroughfare by Alexander Garrett, owner of the Oak Hill tract of which it was part. Fifth Street Extended begins south of the Cherry/Elliott light.

Otherwise, however, your observations and predictions are right on point.

Not that this is the first time public authority has acted in a way destructive to Ridge Street's historic assets -- officially recognized on local, state, and Federal levels -- and to the quality of life of its residents. In the 1960s, the City allowed the demolition of multiple 19th century houses -- including a mansion built in 1843 -- to blast Monticello Avenue through to Ridge and add a giant plumbing supply concern to what had been a premier residential neighborhood for more than a century (and for both black and white residents, I should add).

Then, in the 1970s, VDOT demolished at least seven more houses -- average age 100 years -- to create the Ridge-Cherry-Fifth Extended-Elliott intersection and blast Fifth Extended through to the newly completed I-64. As part of that same project, trees that had long formed a beautiful, cooling canopy in the 400 and 500 blocks of Ridge were removed to widen the street at several points.

In the '90s, an unhealthy tree that a homeowner had unsuccessfully sought help in removing fell and heavily damaged one of the oldest houses on the street -- the distinctive 1842 Dunkum-Spooner House. Assuring the owner that they would see to the house's repair, about-to-be City Councilor (and future Mayor) Maurice Cox and former Mayor Alvin Edwards warded off others who wanted to help. The next thing anyone knew, the house was being demolished.

Then, in 1999, Dr. Charles Hurt bought five parcels at the Ridge-Cherry corner on Councilor Cox's promise of two City-owned Ridge Street parcels to go with them. And thus began neighbors' continuing battle against over scaled, architecturally inappropriate, environmentally destructive, traffic generating development on that corner (a steep-sided, wooded ravine bisected by a creek) -- development effectively sponsored by City Hall.

As you say, the first five blocks of Ridge Street are already overburdened. And Meadowcreek Parkway will inflict yet more congestion and pollution. Nevertheless, history suggests that even notably worsened conditions won't prevent public authority from busily devising fresh insult to what's left of a fine old neighborhood.

Have you ever heard of the public good - parks are for the public good, and roads to make land more marketable for developers and to ease travel for a small minority of county or city residents does not justify destroying a park for a road or a dam ( especially if there is a better alternative, which there is in both cases ) .

This is not 3 roads this is one, and the federal government has jurisdiction to decide this, not the county or the city . The fact that elected officials have tried all these years to skirt the law is what should upset us the most, and secondly that this road is not good for the majority of city residents who own this park.

Thank you Ms. Roades for your comments

T.J., it sounds like your response about what you are for and against is really the old crumbling city's cry for "regionalization." This redistribution of income scheme was proposed as long as the early 1980s when I was a youngin' in Philly. It is actually a euphemism for "please, suburbs, bail us out...people are moving out of our city in droves...we need your money." So they propose joint everything to spread the misery. idea of an historic city died with that abomination of a tent at the east end of the downtown mall. Who the heck approved that??

Let's get the parkway done; I DO need to get to Wal-Mart faster. God bless commerce...and Haliburton.

On Thursday at 4:00 it took me 30 minutes to get from Lowes to Pantops. If the Meadowcreek Parkway would have been open it would have taken me 15 minutes. The bottleneck at Hydraulic Road is the worst in Charlottesville and must be fixed.

Open the stupid road. Move on to your next item whiners.

Too bad the city can't annex the county and implement some rational growth policies. The county BOS is fast making this not a very nice place to live.

" On Thursday at 4:00 it took me 30 minutes to get from Lowes to Pantops. " And is it worth destroying a park to save you 15 min. ?

Time for us all to take a look in the mirror and ask -where are we going ?

@ ?...wait until Stonefield opens. It is documented that the quarter mile between the 250 bypass and Hydraulic road is already the most congested section of 29 in the state. It will be a parking lot once Stonefield opens. I've lived in MUCH larger cities with far fewer traffic problems that this little 'burg. With progress comes sacrifice. This is a shining example of piss poor planning.

The road is already built, and the park is still there silly...It (the park) could be made much more usable.

"It's part of the deed," says Norris. "I don't see how the county or VDOT or the city can open legally without going back to the the School Board resolution."
But according to City Attorney Craig Brown, "The deed of easement doesn't say that." The only entity that agreed to the city's demand for a simultaneous opening, says Brown, was VDOT.

Is Mayor Norris being ignorant or dishonest? When your own legal counsel says your wrong that's embrassing.


Thank you for the thank you.

And P.S. I should have included in my Ridge Street destruction-by-public-policy list the creation of the Tenth Street Connector (subsequently re-named Roosevelt Brown Boulevard) that made an east-west traffic sluice of Cherry Avenue -- a sluice whose flow grinds almost to a halt at what we ironically call rush hours. That clot -- a product of Satyendra Huja's city planning (as would have been the throughway, aka Huja Highway, he wanted to blast through from Ridge Street to Jefferson Park Avenue south of the tracks) -- will become one with the north-south clot once Meadowcreek Parkway is in place.

Deleted by moderator.


The City did used to have a number of stores downtown, and cleared out a large number of homes back in the 50'd to make that more palatable for those who didn't live right downtown. Now the City neglects its infrastructure and residents to make it accommodate the needs of County commuters who want to come in to the City.

If the City would spend a little less time worrying about low income housing and county developers, and instead focus on encouraging a more diverse business community that also provides real paying jobs, many problems they now face would begin to resolve themselves. And it would be easier to ignore the loud County din created by its residents who want to live in a county, but for it to feel like a city. Does anyone living right across 29N on Hydraulic think that they live in anything that resembles a county?

I am on the South side of A, and I would really like to a better solution than the Parkway, which basically solves nothing. why would I want to cut across the City so I cna drive up the traffic morass that now is 29N of Northern Albemarle.

Maybe, just maybe, if the city had planned for this road being built, the city would have in place a plan that would ameliorate the issues raised by this inevitable piece of traffic infrastructure. Instead, the city, under the leadership of Dave Norris, chose to try to block the road, unsuccessfully.

I remember Dave Norris on 106.1 being asked what he would propose instead of the western bypass. He suggested that the solution is to go back 20 years and undo the zoning decisions of the Albemarle BOS.

Can anyone actually argue that these are responsible positions for an elected leader to take? Instead of proposing an alternative or solution, to simply whine and try to block inevitable progress?

Now, these roads are either being built or going to be built and the city has absolutely no plan to deal with the effects these roads will have inside the city. And there are city residents that claim that this approach serves them well?

How about being responsible and accepting the fact that Charlottesville is NOT inside of a bubble, unaffected by the outside world?

Eventually, you have to come out of the womb. Eventually, your parents can't protect or provide for you anymore. Eventually, you have to grow up.

I'm saying open the County part, as it is done, I'm not saying the City even do the other part. Its a sad day when Target comes to the area and doesn't even consider a City location but goes all the way out to the airport.

@saywha: you explain to me how a road on the north-eastern end of the city will effect traffic over by the uva/corner district,and youll have my vote. 99% of the cars that travel down rio road east get off on 250 and head either east or west, ive seen the traffic reports. the main reason for the parkway is to move traffic down towards the city as expiditiously as possible and bypass the deadly curves on rio. the parkway was ORIGINALLY supposed to be a 4 lane roadway from CATEC to route 250, and if it didnt stop there, all the way to ridge/mcintire. the CITY transformed this project from "one single project" to 3 different projects when NORRIS decided to call the road "mcintire road extended". cant we atleast come up with a more unique name? like "thisroadtook70yearstobuild,andstillisntdone"? how big of a road sign will we need for that? :P

Albemarle got the go ahead to build its part, spent millions on the road, finished it... then some in the City went to City Council and asked the road to be just a pedestrian walkway. I don't think so...Homey Don't Play that.

last time I checked, VDOT ponied up $12M for this road and the county substantially less, so all the whining from county residents who CHOOSE to drive downtown (trust us, we are fine if you all stay away) needs to just stop already

Frank K, Thank you for showing everyone the spiteful attitude of a certain segment of the city population. Thank you also for showing the bubble mentality that pervades the small town of Charlottesville.

Truth is, if it weren't for UVA, Monticello, and Albemarle County, Charlottesville would be another Farmville.

for those who say this new road will somehow increase traffic in areas that are already trafficky, please provide facts supporting your argument. The meadowcreek parkway does not come with new house, new people, or new cars, it just moves the same traffic from Rio Road to the parkway, both of which end up (OH NO!) downtown and eventually at UVA. This road is not going to increase any traffic, just move it about a block. Stop acting like it brings thousands of "new cars" into downtown, Its the same people that are already clogging a neighborhood street (Park Street), and already work downtown. By the way, the federal government, which you are hoping will save you from this road, just moved its promary employer (NGIC) up north into "sprawlsville", and they are actually adding more people and therefore homes and traffic in that area, so is the fed your savior or your worst nightmare? Pick a side and stop trying to include new cars with the new road when they simply do not exist. Roosevelt Brown boulevard was built and SURPIRSE! there were just as many cars at UVA hospital the next day as there were when 9th street was the only option. Same with Leonard Sandridge Road at 250, new road, same amount of traffic.

Oh, and if you drive, ever, you are also traffic, and people just like you complain about you on their street, especially if you live on a nice quite cul-de-sac and are "cut through" traffic everywhere you go. Everyone who lives on a cul-de-sac is cut through traffic once they leave home, but you neve have to live with cut through traffic, so enjoy your life and stop complaining about things you don't even have to live with like the rest of us.

OR, we can get rid of every street in town, because they are almost all new since about 1930. Ever wonder what the original farmers of this town thought as it slowly became an urban yuppie paradise and traffic increased on what use to be dirt cowpaths? Hate to say it, but if your grandpa didn't live you, you are growth/sprawl, so accept that you are just like everyone else, trees were cut to build your house, you are traffic, you make trash, you use electricity, and you drink water. Its not always the next "new guy's" fault, we are all guilty for living how we choose to live and making a City on what was once farmlan,d on what was once Monocan territory, on what was once actual unspoiled nature. Have some perspective.