Admit defeat? Plaintiffs lose one battle against Parkway

news-meadowcreekparkwaysurveyConstruction on the Meadowcreek Parkway will continue after Judge's ruling, for now.

After waiting for nearly six weeks, a group of Charlottesville citizens fighting against the Meadowcreek Parkway finally heard the judge had ruled against them in their lawsuit to stop the controversial road.

The plaintiffs argued May 19 that the city of Charlottesville illegally sold a nine-acre stretch of land east of Melbourne Road to the Virginia Department of Transportation by evading a three-fourths super-majority vote required by the Virginia Constitution.  The land will be used in one part of the three-sectioned parkway project.

The argument, however, failed to convince Judge Jay Swett, who said that the easement of land from the city to VDOT was "not the type of conveyance contemplated by the framers of the Constitution" in Article VII section 9.

City Attorney Craig Brown, who represented the city in the trial, says he is "very pleased" with Swett's ruling.

"This was a case that involved some legal issues where there was not a lot of case precedent," says Brown, who believes Swett's decision is "very sound and very reasonable."

"Initially, very initially, being a human being I was disappointed," says Colette Hall, president of the North Downtown Resident's Association, which is a plaintiff in the suit.

The plaintiffs are not planning to appeal Swett's decision, and never planned to, says Hall. "We just don't have the funding to do that," she says.

While they may admit defeat in this single battle against the parkway, they are not planning to raise the white flag quite yet.

Hall believes their strongest suit is in federal laws.

"The Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park is actively considering taking this case to federal court," says a statement from the coalition, another plaintiff.  And according to Hall, the plaintiffs have hired a lawyer who specializes in environmental law to analyze their case and decide what should be their next move.


Where were all these opponents 40 years ago when the plan was first unvieled? Probably the same place I was, being driven around in their parents car, in the back seat. We needed the road then and we need it even more now. Let's all just move out of the way and let the road go on. The time for protests and legal fights is long past.

All this parkway thing will do is move the congestion and make 5th, Ridge, McIntire even more of a rush hour mess than it is already. Why on earth would anyone want that and how could anyone fail to see that is where we are headed?

Once we build this road people will start complaining that there's too much congestion and want another road. This was meant to be a network of agreed upon transportation improvements a Western By-Pass, improvements to 29 and the Meadowcreek Parkway. None of that was built in a timely fashion and now the area has completely changed. We need a 21st century solution that includes more than roads to handle these changes and some strong leadership in the community to bring it about.

Nothing. From my observations, the county board does not listen to the public on some subjects like roads and reservoirs. There's another engine pulling that train.

"This was meant to be a network of agreed upon transportation improvements a Western By-Pass, improvements to 29 and the Meadowcreek Parkway." Yes, that's why I always chuckle when people argue that the City should build it's portion rather than break the three-party agreement when the County broke the agreement first by not to build the Bypass in the late nineties.

Cville, So what can be done to MAKE the county move?

You need to get at least 3 city councilors who unwaveringly oppose a road thru Mr. McIntire's Park !

As someone who uses Rio and Park to get downtown, this road is absolutely necessary, and where they're putting it is exactly where it needs to be. Would it be better if it didn't have to take some park land? Sure, but it should have been understood as this area was growing that the park would lose some land to infrastructure improvements. This "Save McIntire Park," stuff is ridiculous. The park isn't being completely obliterated. It's still there, and still huge.

"As someone who uses Rio and Park to get downtown, this road is absolutely necessary..." If it's necessary then how are you getting downtown?
"Sure, but it should have been understood as this area was growing that the park would lose some land to infrastructure improvements." If Paul Goodloe McIntire had understood that, does anyone think he still would have provided the wherewithall for a park?
"This 'Save McIntire Park,' stuff is ridiculous. The park isn’t being completely obliterated."
People who lose part of their faces to cancer must be ridiculous also since there's still a lot of face left.
Let's try using some form logic here.
Plop, I'm leaning towards Fenwick, too.

Greg: As someone who lives downtown, I get sick of hearing how we are supposed to provide a road for the convenience of people who live out of town. I also get tweaked that I have to deal with the additional traffice people create on 29 by running out to communities like Forrest Lakes. Buy a house downtown, and you won't have to use Rio to get downtown.

What is needed is not the silly parkway, but a true Eastern Bypass, that does not allow any communities or commercial developments access. That' s why 250 has worked so long. All the parkway is going to do is create more problems at an intersection already tight. Imagine what will happen to the Ambulances?

The dumb errors by officials just don't stop. I saw in the DP where the county is kicking in funding to move the Belvedere project forward on east Rio Rd. It seems this project will cause much more traffic to spill onto the already congested Rio Rd. and on through Park Street or the Bypass. I can't see residents of Belvedere "backtracking" to drive the new McIntire Parkway?? Is the city concerned about the impacts for this subdivision further clogging city streets? Once again, the county is allowed to degrade and take advantage of the city because city officials won't speak up or advocate properly.

"I hope that when someone dies because of traffic congestion slowing down an ambulance or someone dies around the curves on Rio that these people are the victims." Funny, I've never heard that the MCP was intended to get ambulances to the hospital faster. Are we making stuff up at the Chamber of Commerce? As for the dangerous curves on Rio, that road is not shutting down; it will continue to handle a great deal of traffic and be congested during rush hour.

Mr. Arthur, if your "up in trees" suggests protesters California-style tree-sitting, note that we have something they don't have in California: Winter. Laying down in front of bulldozers doesn't work here either because we have something else they don't have: irascible conservative judges, quick on the trigger with a trespass citation. Environmental mini-martyrdom didn't work last time in California, it won't work here. Its just a childish way of expressing anger and disaffection. Martyrs and saints by definition suffer, and fail, and become cautionary tales. The remedy here was political. Your catalog of reasons nobody thought the Parkway would actually get built over the years is true enough, but really a sad litany of the reasons the anti-Parkway Democrats did not take advantage of their leverage in the city's nominating process. They relied on temporary obstacles like lack of money (later provided), or lack of compliance with conditions (later removed)--rather than working to nominate candidates pledged to defeat the Parkway. So pro-parkway City Councilors like Dr. David Brown got elected, and re-elected, and were there to cast the fatal votes when the time came. Its been pointed out that if the anti-Parkway Democrats put their money and energy into political campaigns rather than lawyers, they'd have had a majority on City Council. Too late.

all aboard is wishing death for "these people"'. Whoa, this is pretty bad and scary for all aboard to be that angry! all aboard, you also appear clueless. This parkway will not help the traffic congestion in the longterm. In fact the facts point to such. You sound like an ugly individual as you carry a death wish for others. Remember this: Most times individuals who hope for bad things to happen to others actually get a slap in the face themselves along life's way.

All Aboard, You should be ashamed. Do (these people) deserve to die in a car accident just because they put up a challenge through the court? Do you know the people in this group? They are law-abiding, sincere, worthy human beings. Your comment is sick to the core!

Greg, From what I'm seeing, a lot of people have a problem with the city's vision in chipping away, one piece at a time, of McIntire Park. There are a lot of folks willing to post a save park sign too.
Sue, I think you are correct about needing 3 councilors. As we vote in Bob Fenwick, we will have 3.

Some congestion and inconvenience until we develop a new way of thinking about transportation are the price. The parkway is incredibly short-sighted. We need jitneys and light rail from Northern Albemarle to the city. We need carpools. We need Park and Ride. We need more telecommuting and flex time.

We need to recognize what an extraordinarily precious asset this grand park is to the City of Charlottesville. At some point, when our children take over, they will say, "Thank you for making a stand for this park." They will take their children there for refreshment, fun and solace.

What kind of community do we want to leave them? We can think green and think forward to a better way of life, creative community design, and healthy soil and air. They may need the park more desperately than we can imagine now.

Don't sacrifice McIntire Park out of impatience. Be willing to think about later generations, and even about the earth.

I hope that when someone dies because of traffic congestion slowing down an ambulance or someone dies around the curves on Rio that these people are the victims.

If they had simply put all the money they have wasted on this fruitless fight into buying and donating land they would have more than made up for any loss of land at Mcintire.

So let's see, everybody who thinks the environmental lawyer they hired to "analyze their case and determine what their next move should be" WON'T determine that this needs to be filed in Federal Court and appealed all the way to the Supreme Court raise your hands.

That's what I thought.

Parkway opponents have spent a lot of their own time and money trying to preserve a public park, for which they deserve thanks for their selflessness. The government officials who are destroying the park deserve to be thrown out of office. But it is too late, since the official who cast the deciding vote (then-Mayor Virginia Daugherty) is already long gone. A legal challenge asserting a failure to get an environmental review will only postpone the inevitable: they'd just get an environmental review. So at this point unless the current City Council is willing to vote to stop the Parkway, we have to wave goodbye to what could have been, and should have been, Charlotteville's equivalent of Central Park. Charlottesville is becoming another Crystal City, Virginia, nothing but asphalt and dehumanizing nine story office and condo towers. So be it: time to move elsewhere.

Where were the parkway's opponents all these decades?
I think I'm like 95% of residents, completely unable to remember all the reasons why it was never built AND unable to comprehend this year's news about what happened to get it started.
I've only lived here for twenty years, and I am sure that in this time, informed and capable people, ( that small minority,) understood that:
1. at times there was money trouble
2. at times it made no sense
3. at times efforts to push it forward were thwarted by competing trans and municipal needs
4. at times there was confidence that there just was no god-damned way that in the future, people would ever let such a corrupt, asinine, destructive project proceed
5. there actually wasn't yet the evidence that once traffic behavior degenerates to a point, larger "arteries" only WORSEN congestion and lengthen travel times.
6. it was assumed that in time, more and more people would read about bad development or recognize it from other places

Come on, Gargoyle, use your name. The way to oppose this kind of destruction of quality of life, and disregard for real traffic conditions, is on the ground, in front of equipment or up in trees, identifying the local corrupt businesses and politicians,-- and then making them miserable,... by obstructing the ground progress.
Let them hit the gas and brake hard, over and over.

This project never would have happened without corruption.