Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Interchange Vote

This post may upset some folks (hey Peter!). Part of my charm has to be my willingness to say things that make my friends upset, right? Its my father in me, if I am making someone mad, I am probably doing something right. So here goes...

(hold breathe, shut eyes tight) I support the interchange committee's recommendations and believe Council should allow the interchange process to move forward (slowly open eye and release breathe). Now then. Here is Peter's take on the subject. Here is CvilleTomorrow's report on it and the podcast of the hearing.

The Interchange Committee has 22 people on it (at least, and not me fyi) and a website. They have been working hard for two years to come up with an appropriate interchange for the 250bypass/McIntire Rd intersection. The process has been open, thorough and reflective of the differing values of this community.

The interchange is needed, what a great way to access the park for people who really want to enjoy that part of the park. How many more accidents have to happen there (I just passed another one yesterday)? It is not the decision of this City Council whether the interchange goes in, that decision has been made, and federal monies have been allocated. The design is certainly subject to debate- but a two year debate made in good faith and in public has just occurred- lets get this thing moving forward.

Here are my retorts to some of the dectractors of this design:
1. I understand many opponents are loathe to view this as three projects (interchange/McIntire Extd/MeadowCreek Pkwy) because the federal environmental impact statements would be required if the three were one project, however this is not a good reason to postpone change at this failing intersection. VDOT now requires environmental assessments similar so I am not convinced by this theory any longer.
2. The project is too big. There is more grass in the final product than road. There is room for pedestrians, bicycles, probably emergency vehicles will be able to move safely through the intersection. My friend Virginia lives close to this project, she derisively calls it the "monstrosity," reasonable people can disagree and I hope she still likes me after this post. I know the committee tried to lessen the footprint of this interchange, they have to follow federal guidelines of safety because of the federal monies- this is not taking land willy nilly and putting into a road- this is a careful, narrowly tailored solution to a very large problem.
3. Historical resources. This is the one area I dont have an adequate response. Except to say the process was open, thorough, and took into account the differing values of the community.

I know people on the committee worked hard to get a good outcome, it's not their own interest committee members are looking out for, it is the City's, the environment, the traffic, businesses, and all people moving through that intersection- all the things we want them to take into account- or that we would take into account when making a decision.

When this large of a committee can overwhelmingly approve a design option, it is nothing short of amazing. How can we ask our Citizens to take so much of their time on a project only to be dismissed so easily? Their work should be applauded, not rejected. My opinion is that to thwart the entire project based on political issues with the parkway is not sincere or in the communities best interest.

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