Saving green acres

Ask half a dozen people why they live in Charlottesville, and inevitably some of them will reply, “the quality of life.” That “quality” takes many forms, not least of which are safety, size, and scenery. The relative ease with which we can move around town from one bustling hot spot to another is a prime plus in our cultural mecca. That ease, though, is continually finding itself gridlocked between bumper and fender. Traffic calming patterns don’t work, and shortcuts are non-existent. The positive car flow of this particular small town has come to an abrupt halt (especially Fridays after 5pm).

The Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club is working hard to get concerned citizens, local residents, and anyone who might be remotely affected (that means you) to attend a meeting on the proposed 29 Bypass at 7:30pm February 20. Bruce Appleyard of the Southern Environmental Law Center will lead a discussion exploring why this astronomically expensive highway won’t solve traffic congestion problems and how it threatens our environment, and outlining more effective and less expensive and destructive alternatives.

For four years, the SELC has effectively blocked the bypass. Its lawsuit enumerating the negative consequences of the bypass persuaded a federal court in August 2001 to order VDOT to halt all planning work on the road. Considerations included how it would affect the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir (source of drinking water for more than 80,000 people in Charlottesville-Albemarle) as well as accelerated urban sprawl, and the breakup of wildlife habitat.

Environmental apathy pervades our culture. Decisions are made, paving goes down, and the next thing you know, your town is a shell surrounded by 20 miles of strip malls. (Think Fredericksburg, or even Staunton.) Support your public green spaces where you and your neighbors can watch fireworks, play ball, or take a kid to the fair. Without these social options, community dies, and so does the charm of small town living. 


The meeting is set for Wednesday, February 20, at 7.30pm at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church at the corner of Ivy and Alderman Roads. Open to the public. Free. For more information check out the Piedmont Group’s website,   HYPERLINK "", or call 434-293-5901.