Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Parallel Roads- invitation to more gridlock?

Fascinating report by the head of the TJPDC last night at Charlottesville City Council, Harrison Rue. I love pretty slides and boy did he have them. His primary emphasis is to build parallel local roads to 29N to ease the traffic on 29. I like the work the TJPDC does and appreciate the role it plays in the community, even if I dont agree with them all the time.

Here is the problem: the slides show these beautiful changed roads (ped, bike friendly and trees-glorious trees), then each subsequent slide showed a new building, until the whole street was lined with these beautiful pedestrian friendly neighborhoods (and business centers)--the number of cars on the road NEVER changed. Isnt that amazing, we would triple or quadruple the number of people/businesses and have NO MORE additional traffic? I know these are supposed to be centers, transit friendly, but honestly the slides didnt show any buses (one slide showed that new bullet bus-rapid transit) or people for that matter.

How realistic is this? Mr. Rue has this wonderful disarming way about him, one that really doesnt leave room for questions (I suppose questions are for the politicians to answer). I think reports should leave a bit more room for realism and maybe people.

Dont get me wrong- I absolutely support the parallel roads of Berkmar extended and Hillsdale drive, they do relieve the burden for local drivers. How much development are we willing to tolerate on those parallel roads? And how much will that development negatively/positively impact our community? How much more traffic will result from this development? How do we ensure that developers actually create transit friendly shopping centers and neighborhoods when our community is still so dominated by the motor vehicle?

These are questions that citizens need to be considering as we plan for our future.

1 comment:

Patience_Crabstick said...

It sounds pretty, but I agree with your assessment. And, why is the emphasis always on 29N? The area south of town is getting built up fast, too. Avon Street, for example is carrying an incredibly heavy traffic load every morning for a narrow, two lane road. Widening it would ruin property values of a large portion of Belmont. I wish there was a way to shunt some of those people to Fifth St.