The City of Charlottesville’s
250 Interchange Steering Committee
held their second meeting yesterday. This committee is planning the interchange for Route 250, the Meadowcreek Parkway, and McIntire Road. Information on environmental impacts and the benefits of roundabout intersections was presented, as well as several new conceptual images for the design.
The neighboring rescue squad and Charlottesville Skate Park will likely be relocated, as pictured to the left. The consultants from RK&K claimed that some parts of the park may not need to be examined for potential harm from the project, apparently drawing from a 1995 document finding no significant environmental impact from the entire Meadowcreek Parkway project. Transportation
activist Peter Kleeman
pointed out in his comments that that finding was based on a development plan for the park that is no longer being considered, and is therefore irrelevant. Mr. Kleeman called for the entire Meadowcreek Parkway project to be examined for potential environmental impacts.
Consultants pointed out the safety and efficiency benefits of roundabouts, noting potential problems for sight-impaired pedestrians. All three designs currently under consideration feature roundabouts.
Three options were discussed by the committee. The first was a partial cloverleaf intersection, similar to the existing eastbound onramp at 29 and the 250 bypass. The second was a diamond intersection with two roundabouts, similar to the intersection of 64 and 250 at Shadwell. The third (pictured above) was a diamond pattern feeding into one large roundabout. The committee members spoke favorably of this option, noting its smaller footprint on the land, and potentially smaller impacts on neighbors. City councilman Kevin Lynch noted that the Meadowcreek Parkway project can potentially connect the city, McIntire Park, and the northern neighborhoods of Charlottesville and Albemarle for bicyclists and pedestrians. Committee members supported a pedestrian tunnel (pictured below) under the 250 Bypass that shared space with Shenk’s Branch as a safe and attractive option.
Former City Councilor and Mayor Maurice Cox substituted for another committee member. He pointed to a potential problem with the highway scale of the designs under discussion, calling them “bloated.” Mr. Cox pointed to the recent stone bridge constructed near Monticello as a more appropriate scale to consider for this project.
A major problem that was discussed at the meeting was the issue of public participation in a project under significant time constraints. Project Director Angela Tucker noted that “this is an extremely aggressive schedule.” The intent of the project is for it to be completed at the same time as the McIntire Extended and Meadowcreek Parkway projects. However, only two members of the public have been able to participate so far, Mr. Kleeman and Colette Hall, President of the
North Downtown Residents Association
(NDRA). Committee members discussed putting up a billboard at the intersection with the
s address, newspaper advertisements and e-mails, and an informational meeting. The first public meeting is planned for some time in March.
is an intern at Charlottesville Tomorrow who has been closely following area transportation projects. This post updated on January 13th to accurately reflect the name and affiliation of Colette Hall.