In the weeks leading up to Election Day, Charlottesville co-sponsored candidate forums for Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors races.
In the County, candidates were asked about their position on a limited-access bypass for US 29 around Charlottesville and Northern Albemarle County.
Election Watch 2007
website and this blog feature comprehensive coverage of our local
elections. The verbatim responses below are excerpted from the
Do you support a limited access bypass for Route 29 around northern Charlottesville and, if so, where would that be located?
David Wyant (R) – White Hall – Incumbent:
“I prefer probably not to call it a bypass, but it’s that parallel road again. I think we ought to really seriously consider that. I know folks say it’s a large amount of money… The design of that road is critical… VDOT has already replaced everybody in the right of way, acquired all the right of way. It’s pretty disturbing that we have a large amount of tax base, out of our tax system, for non-collection. VDOT rents the parcels that are there. So I am very supportive. Like I said [in response to another question], we have 82 percent of the local traffic getting to UVA. The alignment might need to be just a little bit different, but we need to be able to figure out a way to get the traffic around to the University and even those 18 percent that goes through town.”
Ann Mallek (D) – White Hall – Challenger:
“My response is aimed at the design which is currently before the community… and no, I do not support that…In the environmental impact statement prepared years ago in support of its construction, disclosure was made that within 50 years, at least one truck carrying chemicals harmful to our water supply would wreck and discharge its contents into the water. Not if, but when. That concept is not compatible to me with a location providing water to over 60,000 residents of Charlottesville and the urban ring of Albemarle County. The road is already outdated due to its location and to growth on the northern end. At $287 million dollars, it would require all the money we might get from the federal government for the next twenty years for all road projects. That is not a reasonable investment in my opinion for a road that might carry eight to 12 percent of the traffic. Route 29 is busy because we as a community of drivers need to be in the area for our business use. Not because of travelers from DC to Lynchburg. Commonwealth Transportation Board has taken the road off of the state transportation improvement plan. The only local dollars on the [Transportation Improvement Plan] are for completion of right of way negotiations and purchases. At some point that right of way might be used for transit or it may be returned sooner to the market. That’s a decision that will have to be made by the local elected officials and the state highway department coming up.”
Marcia Joseph (D)
Rivanna – Challenger:
“I really don’t. I think that the Places29 [Master Plan] has determined that we don’t need that. I mean, I haven’t heard that as part of their recommendations, and again, I’m relying on experts but I’m not an engineer and haven’t done any traffic modeling, but they say we don’t need it, so I don’t support it.”
Ken Boyd (R) – Rivanna – Incumbent:
“Well, just so everybody understands, the so-called Western Bypass as it is more commonly referred to was not, was taken out of the [Places 29] study group, so they were not allowed to look at that as an alternative, so that was the recommendation, that was a majority of the Board that did that. I in fact do support a connector road. I would rather call it a western connector rather than a western bypass. I think that if we follow the route of the existing, proposed bypass, by which they’ve bought most all of the land already for that, and then if we had a road that would dump in right across from Leonard Sandridge Road, that this would be an excellent help to us to route traffic off of 29 and we could then possibly have 29 become truly that main street that we want it to be because people that want to pass through to get from Greene to the University or Forest Lakes to the University or Hollymead to the University, taking a limited access road allowing them to do that, I think it would be a tremendous benefit for this area. But, for right now, there’s not enough support on the Board to do that so that’s not a road that’s even being considered as part of Places29.”
Lindsay Dorrier (D)
“It’s an interesting question. One time there was a recommendation for a western bypass, but the Board didn’t support that for a number of years… It’s in too close to be workable… I would support a bypass around Route 29, around northern Charlottesville. I guess I would probably favor it running from Airport Road to Route 64 on the eastern side. I think it probably has to come on the eastern side and that it would be probably the least built up area would be on the other side of Keswick, or at least, I don’t know where the road would go. You’d have to look at the configuration, but I think that would probably be less expensive than it would be to try to build it on the west side of 29. But we do need some bypass for Route 29… Warrenton has a bypass, Lynchburg has a bypass, Danville has a bypass, and eventually Charlottesville is going to have to have a bypass for the northern part of the city that’s right now a bottleneck for the thirty percent of the traffic that goes through on a regular basis. Once again, paying for this is going to be problematic and I don’t have any answer for that, and it’s a multimillion dollar, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of money involved. So I think we do need to talk about it. We need to make darn sure we put it in the right place and we know what we’re doing, but all the time we spend on traffic matters and, we’re still talking about Meadowcreek Parkway and it’s been thirty years we’ve been talking about it, and I don’t expect we’ll have any bypass for Route 29 in the near future…”
Denny King (I)
“I’m glad you mentioned the Meadowcreek Parkway Lindsay because every time I travel up or down Rio Road I look at that great tombstone there that says ‘Meadowcreek Parkway Rest In Peace’ – 30 years? More like 35 years. And we’re talking about a bypass for 29. Is this going to be another 30 or 35 years? We have to start making decisions. I disagree a little bit Mr. Dorrier. I believe the bypass should run from out near the airport west, towards Crozet, and have the access on Earlysville Road and Garth Roads and intersect at 250, east of the 240-250 intersection, and then continue southward down 29 near Plank road… To even consider building the Meadowcreek Parkway today I think would be totally ludicrous. It’s antiquated. Why, why attempt to spend that money today when the results won’t be what they would have been had it been built when it was originally talked about thirty or thirty-five years ago? Once again I have to say that we have to have a vision, we have to understand how we’re going to pay for these visions, and we have to let infrastructure guide growth. And infrastructure and roadway systems and adequate water supplies have not guided growth. We’ve reversed everything, and it’s time that we get back and do things the proper way, and not backwards. We have to approach it in a forward positive method. I would love to see a bypass. I think all of us would love to see a bypass… But how many of us in this room would be able to enjoy the 29 bypass when it’s completed 35 years from today?
Kevin Fletcher (I)
“I think it’s interesting that the Attorney General recently came down with a ruling that was brought up by a delegate from Lynchburg that says Charlottesville owes the state something like $45 million if they do not move forward on this plan that has been sitting idle for a number of years, it’s been looked at in many different ways and I would say that I would not support it just because I do not believe it’s ever going to happen. I think by using the bridge network we discussed before I think we do an adequate job of moving quickly down 29. There may have to be some sort of extra work, a ramp work done at Best Buy to get the traffic, to get tractor trailers and things moving quickly up through there, an extra lane. It might be the nearest fix for the problem, but like I said, I don’t foresee it ever happening. Certainly it probably will happen at some time in the future but as of right now, I don’t think that I could support that because I think we have much greater traffic needs that need to be funded right now. “
According to the transportation analysis in the DRAFT Places29 Master Plan, VDOT believes that only 12% of the traffic on Route 29 North is
. These are trips where “both the origin and destination are outside the urbanized portion of Albemarle County.