Norris and Szakos: We like bikes

news-szakos-norris-medCouncil candidates Kristin Szakos and Mayor Dave Norris unveil their bike and pedestrian safety platform.

Remember the short-lived yellow bike program in 2002, when the city backed free bikes that disappeared in short order?

Despite such innovative ideas, for a progressive city, Charlottesville gets below-average ratings nationally in its accommodations of bicycle and pedestrian traffic, say the two Democratic City Council candidates.

Mayor Dave Norris and Kristin Szakos unveiled their bike and pedestrian platform at a September 24 press conference, and called for painting the bike lanes green, adding showers at the Transit Center and fixing sidewalks, among a dozen or so proposals.

'This is the issue we hear about all the time," says Norris. "People want to be able to get around Charlottesville without cars."

Szakos points to the crumbly sidewalks around Tonsler Park that are unsafe for wheelchairs and strollers. "People are very concerned about the lack of safe ways to get around," she says.

The two touted a study by the nonprofit BikeWalk Virginia that actually gave Charlottesville a much lower score than Albemarle in its Virginia Active Transportation Index.

Besides green bike lanes, other implementable improvements, according to the candidates, include improved signage, new safety committees, more business-installed bike racks, and a law mandating helmets for bikers 14 and younger.

The duo calls for double penalties for city employees who don't stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, and they suggest better sensors at intersections so cyclists don't fossilize while waiting all day for a light to turn green.

The boldest plank on the platform (also endorsed by the Democratic candidate for sheriff, James E. Brown)–- at least for Virginia–- would be cross-city trails, says Szakos. That would allow commuting by foot or bike and literally get people off the roads. Finishing the Rivanna Trail is another goal.

The Dems dusted off the Charlottesville Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan of 2003. "This is an amazing document," says Szakos.

Nationally, Charlottesville is left in the dust by cities like Portland, Oregon, and Boulder, Colorado, the latter of which has pedestrian and bike-only trails. "Everyone uses them," says Norris.

Independent candidate Paul Long has made city transit one of his issues, and says the area needs better bus service.

Indy candidate Bob Fenwick calls the Democratic platform a small first step. "Why nibble around the edges?" he asks. "They really could make a difference by stopping the Meadowcreek Parkway."

Ironically, neither of the two Council candidates walked or biked to their own press conference, which was held at the IGA grocery on Cherry Avenue.

"I carpooled," says Szakos. "There's really no safe way to get here on a bike."


quote: "Ironically, neither of the two Council candidates walked or biked to their own press conference..."

Absolutely hilarious!!!!!

The duo calls for double penalties for city employees who don’t stop for pedestrians in crosswalks...

What about county employees who run over pedestrains in city crosswalks? :)

quote: "...adding showers at the Transit Center..."

Who with an IQ over 56 would want to use public showers at the Transit Center?

Council has been embarrassed time and time again by these two departments and their dealings with the public. I've reached my tolerance limit and want to see someone like Fenwick get elected.

Neither Jim Tolbert nor Gary O'Connell have done a very good job in managing what they've got already. Neighborhood Development Services in particular is a complete mess. Giving it more staff and a larger budget isn't going to do the citizens of this city one bit of good without some major restructuring. The fact that they essentially admitted their incompetence by hiring an outside firm to manage the Mall re-bricking speaks volumes.

Whitewashing things by changing the department's name, an other Szakos/Norris proposal, borders on the insulting. That is nothing more than a cynical response to the common and well founded belief that the department is skewed towards serving the interest of developers rather than than ordinary citizens.

ââ?¬Å?People want to be able to get around Charlottesville without cars.”

Yup, that's it. No need for mandates on bike racks, harsher laws for not stopping at intersections - and please no committees to nowhere. What we (those of us who do commute to work by bike) need are bike lanes or alt routes, especially for commuters along 29, Rio, and Park. Are bike lanes comparatively cheap? Well, we could always get back back in our cars, add to the traffic in town, pile on more road infrastructure needs, increase the already heavy demands on parking - not to mention continue funding of Mid-Eastern and Venezuelan petro-dictators. so what's the problem?

All democratic City Council and our infrastructure is crumbling. Whose problem is this ? Everything is falling apart or lacking maintenance and what do we do spend 7.5 million on new bricks, plan for all new water and sewer infrastructure. We need someone who understands the word maintenance !

While the RWSA spend $250 million plus interest on a development driven vanity project, these two will set up committees and councils to decide what shade of green to repaint the bike lane stripes. After two years they'll pick one and then Gary O'Connell will paint them orange just to show them who's the boss of Bartertown.
This confirms for me that Norris is practically useless. I'm single-shotting for Fenwick, or maybe writing in Kevin Lynch with my other vote. Just to drive home the point a bit more.

****, nah, Norris seems okay. Simple Szakos on the other hand...

Bikes work just fine as transportation in Blacksburg. There are lanes everywhere you might want to go and they are heavily used. Surely all the superior intellects in this college town can make it work here too don'choo'think?

****, I think you're wasting your time. After seeing "Sigh's" second post at 6:04 p.m., it's obvious he/she is simply a die hard Democrat who is endorsing the person(s) they have been ordered to support. It actually makes me start thinking like you, single-shotting for Fenwick.

Our infrastructure is crumbling, over a thousand cville residents had to apply for tax relief this year and your priority is what color to paint bike lanes?

I have a better solution:

quote: "Nobody has ever told me who to vote for, nor will they ever."

Wow! Straight out of the Democratic handbook, word for word! :)

"Szakos points to the crumbly sidewalks around Tonsler Park that are unsafe for wheelchairs and strollers." Interesting that she doesn't point to the men an women who are drinking in the streets of the neighborhood and in the park 24/7. I guess it's a matter of priority.
If Norris and Szakos really want to ride bikes to Cherry Avenue, why don't they ask their clsoe friend, Maurice Cox, how he rides his bike through that neighborhood nearly everyday for well over ten years? Phony issue.

Despite having three vehicles registered in my name, I rely on my feet as my primary means of transportation and walk about 20 miles a week in the City. So I know too well how difficult and dangerous the life of a Charlottesville pedestrian is. And I also know how very nearly worthless are the supposed "pedestrian enhancements" already made and now being promised.

Blinking lights alerting drivers to crosswalks are helpful only if drivers (and bikers) are willing to defer to walkers. Too many are not. And expensive yacking lightpoles are completely worthless because they exert no control whatsoever over red-light runners, illegal turners, terminal texters, ad inf. Indeed, the yacking poles do actual harm in that they give some walkers a false sense of security while reinforcing some drivers' incorrect belief that all responsibility for pedestrian safety belongs to pedesterians.

Given my long experience of City streets and City politics, I can hold no hope that pledges made by the current establishment will make walking easier, safer, or more pleasant. Given the same experience, however, I can predict with certainty that policies pursued by the current establishment -- overfriendliness with developers; infliction of crushing density and, with it, increasingly crushing traffic; systematic deletion of shade trees, etc. -- will make walking harder, more dangerous, and more punishingly unpleasant.

I've noticed, so far, the candidates have not addressed the expensive regional transit/transportation authority that Dave Norris has been advocating in conjunction with Slutzky and Rooker of Albemarle County. Which proposal will have the greatest impact upon the pocketbooks of the taxpayers, waling and biking or the multi-million dollar budget of a new authority? I'd like to call this bait and switch, or making an issue out of nothing so people will ignore the more important something. Politicians, Blah!

What is this we hear regarding the new county,vdot sanctioned 29 North proposal to mow down city businesses (Kroger,Quality Inn,etc.)? Haven't heard an outcry by any on city council???Or what about the plan to channel Biscuit Run traffic onto JPA? It is high time for a change on this board. Szakos will follow the wimpy lead of Norris & Company. Their motto seems to be: let the county roll on over and through the city! Come on folks, Norris could do more to stop the Parkway and interchage, but he WILL NOT do it! The least Norris could do is make an appearance at the protests. Szakos represents a lost cost in saving the park.

Norris and Szakos have unveiled a new proposal to add staff to Neighborhood Development Services to advocate for neighborhoods. This is not the problem . Giving the City Manager more staff to manage and direct is the problem. We need an overhaul of these departments and a new City Manager and new head of Neighborhood Development Services. This has been well known for years, but nothing has been done about it. Time for a change and action. I am voting for Bob Fenwick, who is proving in all the forums, and from my personal contact with him that he is knowledgable and willing to hold these individuals accountable.
If you care about neighborhoods vote for Bob !

Well, I like Fenwick!!! Single shots guys. Lets get him elected. Norris is going to be re-elected anyway.

There's no comparison between Fenwick and Norris. Fenwick is a one-trick pony and a crank. His website is rubbish, and sears your retinas with its all-caps redundancy. His comment above is typical, and does nothing except promote his own laughably narrow platform.

Fenwick is simply a guy with strong opinions on the MCP, YMCA, and dam projects. Plenty of people in Cville have those same strong opinions, but it doesn't mean they'd make a good councilor or, god forbid, mayor. ****, you normally write good posts, and you make a hell of a lot of sense. But you're wrong in vilifying the one councilor (Norris) who's had the stones to stand up against the MCP and for dredging.

Hoolarious-- you understood it because you're not a simpleton.

Yes, you can conduct a press conference in a location to illustrate a point. Or sometimes you might hold a press conference in a location that it's not practical to bike to, but works well for other reasons. Unfortunately, the downside of doing so is that some people are incapable of understanding something unless it's presented in terms a toddler would understand. Thus Gasbag's comment above.

Gasbag writes, "ââ?¬Å?Ironically, neither of the two Council candidates walked or biked to their own press conference”Š”

Absolutely hilarious!!!!!"

Is it hilarious that they felt it was too unsafe and, well, unbikable to get to Cherry Avenue? I thought it kind of proved their point that we have a bike-unfriendly city.

One observation I can make from the many meetings of Council and the RWSA that I have attended, is that City Staff runs circles around this Council when it comes to infrastructure issues and the staff is closely aligned with the development community. This may be because the Council is part time and I do agree with Gabe Silverman, and the Republican Party Platform, that we could counteract that by electing our Mayor and running candidates well versed in business, construction and infrastructure issues to represent the neighborhoods and ratepayers and not just the developers.

Why can' we have a discussion of these candidates based on the issues and their known participation in this community. I hope Charlottesville voters are smarter than to listen to unsubstantiated rumors. Please attend the candidate forums and question them on what matters to you, and what you believe to be the major priorities for our city.

In this day and age, when everyone has a cell phone camera or mp3, and everything you do or say can come back to haunt you (google "rodney thomas", negro and you already get about 600 hits) you'd have to be crazy or stupid to run for public office. Given that choice, I'll take crazy any day. Of course, contributing to this is the fact that a spot on council is only a part time job, even for mayor. Change that and you've got a better shot at attracting our best and brightest to serve. Not to mention put in the time needed to form educated opinions or positions on complicated and nuanced matters for which their prior life has left them unprepared.

I can count the number of bikes I have seen IN BIKE LANES over the past month on one hand. I think a high price study is in order to count bike traffic.

Well, the real question are. How many riders and how many rideable days are there?

As with MC riders there are not that many days per year the average person will ride because of weather conditions.

Gasbag, be a good boy and go to your room so the grownups can talk.

Nobody has ever told me who to vote for, nor will they ever. I have very good reasons for not voting for Fenwick, despite agreeing with him on MCP and the dam. At no point did I say who else I am actually voting for, or against.

I have no reason to believe that Fenwick will be remotely effective on Council, regardless of how much I might agree with some of his views. And I'm cynical enough to believe that there's a chance he's using the dredging and park people to get on council.

****, agreed on Holly Edwards. Remarkably nice person, but entirely wrong for the RWSA board. Imagine if it were David Brown on there though! Yikes!

Agreed Betty. Excellent idea to attend the forums. The sad fact and reality, Szakos has already been heard to say she has no intention of turning the road back UNLESS a judge directs the city to stop the road. Huhh??? Of course the road would be stopped if the law,courts were to mandate such. Szakos, others on council, would then simply have no role here. She has no intention of stopping the road at the request of "the people of Charlottesville". Szakos is also using the more recent excuse that she won't stop the Parkway because she doesn't want traffic dumped onto Melborne Rd. Amazing how the county is successfully swinging the the city fathers and Szakos by the tail.

Letting auto-phobic and incompetent wanna-be bicyclists advance ill-founded and often patently unsafe "bicycling accommodations" (e.g., green door-zone bike lanes or worse) would not make bicycling safer or more convenient. Norris and Szakos should first complete a real traffic-cycling course before advocating specific bicycle transportation facilities. Bicyclists fare best when they act, and are treated, as drivers of vehicles.

Calming motor vehicle traffic--not creating bicycling ghettos--is the single most important way to improve bicycling and walking in any city.

One trick the dam supporters are playing to get the dam built is to say ---well maybe the new dam can be lower --but then Mr. Frederick, director or RWSA, comes back and says --the cost is in the base so it makes no sense not to build the full 112 foot dam. I have also heard Ms Szakos say this --maybe the dam could be shorter, that is not the point . We do not need this dam. Mayor Norris has suggested repairing the dam we have, which Gannett Fleming studied and said would be solid for 100 years, and possibly adding to the present dam's height.

At no point have I called Fenwick a racist. Those are your words, not mine. All I've said is that his argument is flawed and ill-considered, because he quotes a so-called "perpetuity clause" which was rightly invalidated by desegregation. Besides, the clause only covers some of the parcels and it isn't even clear which ones.

Yes, Save McIntire has made efforts to be diverse, and I won't disagree with that; however, one of their main goals is to prevent any attempt to open McIntire East to anyone besides golfers. So, while they don't want to exclude individual races or classes, there is still a kind of exclusion going on. When only a few hundred people use the golf course with a City-County population of 130,000, then something's not right. Especially when the parks needs assessment shows that other kinds of space for recreation are in higher demand by the public. Drive past there almost any day of the week and the parking lot will be almost empty. So, what exactly is "Save McIntire" trying to save anyway, and for whom? Not to mention that the pool and the course cannot coexist if the parkway is built (but they refuse to talk about that...).

Honestly, they are afraid of an open and fair democratic process to decide the future of the parks because they don't trust the will of "the masses". As for Fenwick, he's duped otherwise well-meaning democrats into following a Republican. When he gets in office, he'll just be another Rob Schilling. If that's what you want, then fine, but if it isn't then you may want to reconsider.

dirt worshipper, I believe you yourself are misguided in posturing to paint Fenwick as a racist. As I have observed, the entire group working to save McIntire park, has made an effort to sincerely welcome and include all races. I see many African Americans using the wading pool. I view proud men of many races using the golf course. I listened last week, as a former African American Mayor of Charlottesville stood up during the rally to endorse saving the park. As I recall, Mr. Fenwick stood by his side. DW,you should be ashamed of yourself. What a desperate cheap shot of a rant.

Every time the dems want to prevent an independent from getting elected they start a character assassination campaign. They did the same thing to Peter Kleeman. I know Mr. Fenwick, he would be a fine Councilor, he understands infrastructure and would stand up to the staff and the county and provide a welcome change.

quote: "...over a thousand cville residents had to apply for tax relief this year..."

This is what happens when you have homes appraised at 20% more than they are currently worth.

For many of the older retired citizens on a fixed income, the monthly taxes on their home is now higher than the last mortgage payment they made when paying off their home.

Betty, You are right on as to voting for Fenwick. It is now a priority to get him on council. Szakos speaks out of both sides of her mouth too often. It is obvious she is perfectly willing to let the destructive parkway roll on through Charlottesville. Norris could also speak up more to stop the parkway. He is not fighting hard enough to prevent it, and many don't see that Norris is "anti parkway" enough. He appears more interested in "working with,caving into county demands" in this regard. Did Norris or Szakos attend yesterday's protest? My guess is, they did not. But, I'm sure Fenwick attended. Many plan to single shot a vote for Fenwick this time around.

IF Fenwick has opposed the master planning process for the park, perhaps it is because he doesn't agree with the way this particular plan has been set up. If so, I admire Fenwick for making sure the stage is properly prepared before buying into the process.

You're absolutely right. On all points
One trick pony, narrow platform... but I think thats what we need. FOCUS. Council is being railroaded by the County, the RWSA, the RSWA and their own employees and want to spend more time at meetings debating paint schemes for new buses or volume levels for talking g0ddamn street-crossing devices. Part time councilors, like we have, can get bogged down in the minutiae. We need, in my opinion, a half-crazy rabid anti-dam person with the credentials and expertise on the issue to ask the right questions and refuse to be put off with non-answers in engineer-speak.
Are there risks to this? Definitely.
Norris' positions are great, but don't frequently translate into action. Why isn't he the councilor on RWSA? Did they pick names out of a hat? Holly Edwards has been next to useless there. Why not ask her to step down and replace her, Dave? You have to lead from the front. She can even blame it on a scheduling conflict or something...

Sigh, you just don't get it. Biking in Charlottesville, or biking to Cherry Avenue, is as safe as it is anywhere else... IF those riding bicycles pay attention to the laws and ride responsibly. Combined with the fact I don't recall cyclists being run in Charlottesville as being even a "small problem" here in the city. How often does it happen? I see a lot of close calls, but they're --always-- caused by irresponsible riding, not the roadways.

When I go to the polls to vote in November, I couldn't care less how ANY candidate feels about bicycling in Charlottesville. Especially when voting for our new City Sheriff. While I prefer Brown over Baird any day of the week, I don't think a sheriff's candidate should be hitching his wagon to the city council candidate's silly platforms.

blindasabat, I can conduct that study and report back for $375,000.

The priority should be to get Fenwick on council. He may not be perfect in every way, but he will stand up to the County and the Chamber OC. Enlightened folks in the city know the parkway and dam will cause more problems than they will solve. Look at the signs along Park Street calling for the park to be saved. Even folks on Park Street now agree the road is pointless for the city. Szakos will push the road through regardless and also take a chunk out of the park for the YMCA. Remember, Norris is also pushing for the Y in the park. And yes, someone better fix the old sidewalks before handing out funding for new ones. I'm planning to push one button. That button is for Fenwick.

Szakos points to the crumbly sidewalks around Tonsler Park that are unsafe for wheelchairs and strollers. ââ?¬Å?People are very concerned about the lack of safe ways to get around,” she says.
The only reason crumbling sidewalks around Tonsler Park add to an already high risk when walking in that area is because looking down to watch where I step means I can't concentrate fully on not getting hit over the head with a malt-liquor bottle in a paper bag and robbed. Get your head out of your a$$.

Sorry, I meant to write Betty Mooney

Bottom line, Fenwick is looking good!

Interesting. How would the name "Betty" expose your affiliation to the candidates if you were to critique them?

Mr. McIntire said the park ought to remain a park forever, but because there was a racist slant to his decree, it ought to be a road instead. Is that what you're saying Dirt Worshiper? That's some leap of logic you have there if so. If I'm not getting your point, please explain it to me.

From what I can see, Paul McIntire loved this city and gave it a great deal of his wealth in an effort to improve it. I don't think for a minute he would approve of sending a roadway right through the middle of it out of spite because we've moved on to some degree from the racist attitudes that were more prevalent, or at least more openly expressed, in his day.

Turning downtown into a river of stop and go traffic for cut through drivers from the county is an absolutely terrible idea. It is horrifying to me to think that we have city "leaders" that are so short sighted that they would do that in any form, but to achieve that goal by simultaneously destroying our central park borders on the criminal. That one issue alone is significant enough that I will vote for Mr. Fenwick and be quite content if he achieves nothing more during his entire term than stopping it from happening. I am elated know that if elected he also is likely to be the one to finally call for some accountability from both RWSA and RSWA. Trying to derail his candidacy by insinuating that he is a racist because the deed for the park he wants to preserve has a racist clause is underhanded at best. We need a real discussion here, not senseless diversion.

Charlottesville should hold the county feet to the fire and make them build their own roads through the county. I'm sick of the forces on the western side of Albemarle pushing to funnel traffic through the city or to the eastern side of the county. What is this I'm hearing about a proposal to channel Route 29 traffic through and along the eastern railroad tracks? Right! We need city politicians who are willing to stop such proposals in their tracks.

My understanding is that Ms Szakos has adopted the county position on the dam/dredging debate as well, which is: we should study dredging for recreation and water supply maintenance, but not as a possible replacement for the massive new dam at Ragged Mt., and she has written in her comments to the Sierra Club, that she supports the new South Fork to Ragged Mt. pipeline, even without knowing the cost or the comparison of cost between the new pipeline and replacing the Sugar Hollow pipeline. Mr. Fenwick on the other hand supports stopping all new dam expenditures until we have the dredging information, and because of his experience in the Army Corp of Engineers, he understands that dredging can be done for our future water supply plan and supports that.

Szakos is scary and will spell trouble in too many ways. She has already revealed enough for us to read the writing on the wall.

Norris and Szakos agreed at the candidate forum last night that citizens are fed up with the responsiveness of city government to citizens concerns. Their solution, hire someone else who works for the City Manager to meet citizen needs. Fenwick's answer, the responsibility rests here with City Council. I'm voting for Fenwick. No more passing the buck !

Ohh, OK. :)

For the record I'm not saying Fenwick is a racist. I am saying that it's ill considered to repeatedly quote a "perpetuity clause" which also just happens to grant exclusive access to white people. Perhaps he thought no one would know the full quote? Either way not evidence of a guy you'd want on council.

Anyway, anyone can read the DP article for themselves and make up their own mind. You can believe I'm a spy sent by aliens for all I care. It still doesn't change the facts.

If Rob Schilling had managed to kill the parkway, he would have been among the better city councilors we've had in 30 + years despite his other shortcomings. Single shot for Norris!

By Dirt Worshipper's "flawed and ill-considered" reasoning, we ought to declare void every deed that was written in that era. maybe every high school diploma that was given before the mid 60's. What about retroactively taking back marriage licenses from the days when blacks and whites were forbidden from marrying one another?

The biggest irony here is that the idea of a road through the heart of the city would never have gotten off the ground in the beginning if it weren't directed right though and aimed at destroying the mostly African American Vinegar Hill neighborhood. It's no coincidence that Preston Ave. did the same thing. I don't believe for a second that Mr. McIntire would have wanted to destroy the park that bears his name to hasten that goal.

That's funny, I don't recall my parents marriage license saying anything like "Said marriage shall be in perpetuity for as long as both parties are white"... Nor do I recall the deed on their home having a "whites only" clause in it either. As I said before, Fenwick's "perpetuity clause" isn't seperate from the white's only provision, It's actually the SAME clause and even the very same sentence!

For that matter, if Fenwick and Save McIntire are okay with that deed and it's modern implications then I DARE him to him cite the entire thing in front of City council to defend his point. The truth is that it simply doesn't say what he claims it does. Here's the full text:

ââ?¬Å?Said property shall be held and used in perpetuity by the said City for a public park and play ground for the white people of the City of Charlottesville but the authorities of the said City shall at all times have the right and power to control, regulate and restrict the use of said property.”

Seems that all along Fenwick been challenging the Cities authority to "control, regulate and restrict the use of said property", but that TOO is part of the deed... If he's not comfortable with the full text then he and supporters should stop citing it.

Szakos, a brave politician? What is brave or admirable about following the lead of those who have fouled up the city's plan for too many years? Szakos wasn't brave enough to make her own way. Instead, she tied up with Norris. Looks to me she can't stand on her own two feet.

A few facts for your consideration Dirt Worshipper:

McIntire Park golf course is one of the few low cost recreations we offer. It allows lower income residents to get some exercise (not everyone can afford ACAC). Golfers include many races, and range in age from one (because strollers are welcome and not uncommon) to the 70's. Often entire families, including dogs, play together. According to the city, over 3,800 paid rounds were played last year (on the honor system).

The City's new P&R philosophy is for parks to cover their own operational expenses. McIntire Golf is the only park that fulfills this goal. Yes, even Meadowcreek has lost money. McIntire generates almost $20k and costs less than $9k. It uses no chemicals or water. Most of the maintenance is done by volunteer labor and materials.

The golfers have proposed alternative course designs, that allow for the McIntire Highway, for more than five years. We have offered to share the space with the 2004 proposed Arboretum, the 2008 proposed Botanical Garden. We let about 50 golfers be turned away so that an average of four people can enjoy it for other purposes each week in 2003 and currently once a month without protest.

I'm available anytime, anyplace to debate park issues -- I use my real name. You can also check out our documentary at

Unsafe to ride to Cherry Ave? Give me a break. I think the real reason is that they hadn't biked to work, and thus didn't have bikes handy to ride to Cherry. If safety is indeed the real reason, why not choose to hold this press conference somewhere where they could ride to safely, thus reinforcing their bike-friendly agenda? I just don't think this was well thought out.
As for Mequa's comment, don't get me wrong, I'd like Norris over anyone but Fenwick, but thats not saying much. I just don't think he's shown the backbone to earn my vote. Also I'd rather see Fenwick as top vote getter. This might help position him as next mayor? and wake council up to the fact that we'd rather not see them play the part of sheep to O'Connell's shearer

All of this bike BS is 1997. Drop it. It's never going to be a viable form of transportation in Cville. Bike lanes on Park, Rio, and 29? Or "alt" routes? Ever heard of the Meadowcreek Parkway? Takes 40 years to get anything done in this backwater.

Before bike lanes are ever actually built, we'll all have access to jetpacks.

I do appreciate the attention to bikes and we certainly do need improved, safe riding opportunities in the city and county, but to stray a bit, what we really need is improved transportation in the county and not through McIntire Park. I was at the demonstration at McIntire yesterday, and as you stand in the path of the proposed road thru the park you realize what a huge scar this will create and how destructive, not only the road, but the massive interchange will be, and then you look where it is going. Straight thru the city. I am convince this will create massive traffic problems for city residents and certainly make biking more dangerous. This will be primarily a cut thru to 64 and bisect the center of Charlottesville. It will decimate the historic Ridge Street neighborhood.

I am a member of a group trying to stop an unnecessary dam from being built and hundreds of millions of dollars from being wasted. My group has been accused of doing this to stop growth. That is not our position.

What is stopping growth is the lack of willingness on the part of the County to build roads. They stopped the Western By-Pass and now they are trying to stop an Eastern -Bypass. They've been totally irresponsible in their planning for the development they have, without even talking about the development that's in the pipeline.

City residents should not sacrifice their parks, their money and their quality of life for County growth. We need to elect members to Council who understand this. That is why I am joining the Sierra Club and endorsing Dave Norris and Bob Fenwick for Council.

diagoliv, The 250 bypass is already congested for too much of the day. Encouraging additional traffic is just plain crazy. Before long, there will be a call for another bridge to Pantops. Once MJ hospital opens, there will be the need for a faster trip to the mountain hospital. Szakos is out of touch and is a "tag a long". She and others appear to think she is a shoe in, as she rides the democratic wind. Diagoliv, it is not ok for the county to take traffic through the city and on to county businesses outside of city limits, especially as city businesses are trampled over in the process. "Making a mockery of the legislative process"? What a joke! The citizens of Charlottesville are rising up because their Govt. leaders? withheld the whole truth. Szakos is willing to carry on the lies and misdeeds of the parkway scheme. And now Szakos is playing up the Melborne Rd. plight. The city allowed the county to come to Melborne. I have no sympathy for the city or Szakos as they cry in their milk. Szakos sounds foolish as she supports more chaos and destruction in order to protect Melborne Rd.

Ah, glad you mentioned Washington Park... You do know that a historic neighborhood was destroyed where that park is now, right? Did you know there was a club there where jazz greats like Louis Armstrong performed?
It's worthwhile to note that McIntire did not donate this land. As I understand it, he donated the money to take it through eminent domain.

McIntire may have been a great benefactor in his day, and he very well may have seen his actions as supporting the best good for all people minorities included; however, the intentions in the deed are pretty clear. It isn't two seperate sections, it's ONE Sentence ("ââ?¬Å?Said property shall be held and used in perpetuity by the said City for a public park and play ground for the white people of the City of Charlottesville”Š". If we reject the exclusivity clause (as we rightly should) then the whole perpetuity clause is bound up in that as well and must also be invalidated.

For the record, I'm AGAINST the meadowcreek parkway. I just think it's wrong to continually selectively quote the same section of the deed that also set up segregation. That Fenwick is so eager to heap praise on McIntire's intentions for the parks is misguided at best. If we want to "Save McIntire" then it must be by deciding the best use of the park for the ENTIRE community through an open and democratic process. So far, Fenwick has expressed his opposition to the master planning process where that would happen. Failure to plan for the parks is exactly why we are facing the situation of a road going though it now. We created a planning vaccuum in the park, and Nature abhors a vacuum.

Norris and Szakos are too tight with David Toastcanto. It is clear to all that David is just fine with allowing the county to impair the city forever. You see it is all a $$$$ thing. "money talks","power feels good".
We also hear Norris plans to move to a higher office in time,and surely hangs back in order to avoid burning bridges.

Fenwick had his own "Rodney Thomas moment" in the Daily Progress. In an article about Paul McIntire's intentions for the park, it mentions the deed which says:

"Said property shall be held and used in perpetuity by the said City for a public park and play ground for the WHITE PEOPLE of the City of Charlottesville..." (emphasis mine)

In response to whether he felt it was right to quote the deed as justification for his attempts to stop the parkway Fenwick said:

ââ?¬Å?We have quoted it extensively,” Fenwick, a member of the Coalition to Save McIntire Park, said in an interview. ââ?¬Å?We felt comfortable using it until challenged. And it never has been challenged.”

So, apparently, Thomas is not the ONLY one insensitive to the history of segregation in Charlottesville. His fellow Republican Fenwick is even willing to selectively quote a segregators "intentions" for Charlottesville parks as long as serves his political ends.

Sounds like you are part of the democratic hit squad. I think you are taking his comments totally out of context. He was referring to the in perpetuity part of the deed. Everyone knows that this road is a disaster for the historic Ridge Street neighborhood and African American neighborhoods surrounding it. That is why Maurice Cox spoke at the save McIntire Park rally and said, his only regret about being on Council was not having the 3 votes to put this road to rest. Well now, if we elect Bob, we'll have the 3 votes. Let's not disappoint Maurice and the Ridge Street neighborhood and all the residents of the City who value this park. Elect Bob Fenwick !

mastercat, if you think Dirt Worshipper is someone hired by anyone to post on the Hook website, then you are either extraordinarily naive, or have mental problems. When you make an accusation like that, then you'd better have something to back it up. You don't.

Dirt Worshipper is a well known poster here and on for quite awhile now, and his/her views cover the political spectrum. He/she is known, however, as being an ardent environmentalist, which certainly flies in the face of your imbecilic accusation. You should be ashamed of yourself.

I would appreciate anyone critiquing the candidates running for office blog under their own name, so we are aware of their affiliation to those candidates.

Is this the best Norris and Szakos can do? Hire someone to make a limp attempt to fan the flames of racism? So much for the genuineness of the apology. Couple of hypocrites. Shame on you. Dirt worshipper indeed.

For the record, I have also quoted that deed to people as evidence that Mr. McIntire wanted the land to remain a park "in perpetuity", as has The Sierra Club, and many many others who are trying to save McIntire Park . Of course, this has nothing to do with the exclusivity part of the deed which none of us would support. We are fighting to save the park because public park land is where all people have the chance to be together, to find peace away from the bustle of our busy, stressful lives, and this is our major city park and should remain so for all races and economic groups to enjoy. I admire Mr. Fenwick, the Sierra Club, Colette Hall, Rich Collins, Daniel Bluestone, Maya Cummingham, John Cruickshank, and the many, many others that are fighting to keep this a refuge for us all.

Szakos view on Meadowcreek happens to make sense and shows political bravery.
Everyone who wants the city to go back on its promise to finish the Meadowcreek Parkway makes a mockery of the legislative process. Everyone who wants no Parkway please, please explain what happens to Melbourne and Grove road as massive amounts of traffic are dumped just down from the high school. What will Charlottesville football games on Friday night be like without the city’s completed Parkway.

Paul McIntire in one grant wanted a part of the park to be a park forever- most of the park will be and far more it then that one grant states. McIntire also gave parks for just the "colored people" (Washington Park) which was quite something for the time in Charlottesville. Not mentioning that cheapens his gifts and that is wrong.

Lastly those who worry about 5th street becoming a thru road to the 5th street 64 exit aren't making any sense at all. If I come to the 250 bypass and want to go west I will stay on the 250 bypass. If I want to go east I will take Pantops to go east, to go straight and then go east won’t save much time or gas and makes the trip longer. 5th street will get more use because housing and business have increase over the 64 bridge in Albemarle County. This will happen no matter what happens to the Meadowcreek Interchange.

james, I do actually appreciate your perpective and I would indeed be open to discussing park issues in person sometime.

Here's two simple issues I'd love to see answered by the McIntire Golf group..

1. How would you resolve the access issues with the pool if the MCP is built? Where would access be and where would parking be?

2. As I'm sure you know, Meadowcreek was built as McIntire's replacement. All the golfers speak of how unswustianable and expensive Meadowcreek is. Why not redesign that course in McIntires image and lower fees? For that matter might that course be put to some better use? (Especially if McIntire remains)

Thanks for your honest and thoughtful comments

Szakos announced during the Charlottesville Tommorrow forum she wanted to increase density in the city.How will the outcome of her initiative actually pan out?SROs are of concern.Will those who live in the apartments contribute toward the well being of the city once they settle in?Will they be required to work or pay rent?