Western Bypass

Update

NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville -- VDOT Releases Property Acquired to Build Proposed Rt. 29 Western Bypass
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The June 2011 Board of Supervisors meeting was dramatic, as hundreds of citizens came out to show their support for local sustainability initiatives that were under attack by vocal members of the Jefferson Area Tea Party. Citizens packed the auditorium, stood in the aisles, and overflowed to the balcony.

 

Speakers urged the Board to
support local sustainability
initiatives. 

By a nearly 3 to 1 ratio, speakers urged the Board to move forward on local environmental initiatives. Correspondingly, local e-mails supporting these programs far outpaced those opposed, by nearly 7 to 1.

Ultimately the Board kept the $990,000 grant for the Livable Communities Plan, but caved to pressure from the Tea Party and dropped their membership in Local Governments for Sustainability (aka ICLEI). They also chose to defer any action on Cool Counties until a future meeting. The vote on ICLEI was surprising, given the overwhelming support for the program--but what happened next came as a shock to everyone.

 

A Midnight Switch on the Western Bypass

In a late-night move, and without warning, Supervisors Boyd, Dorrier, Thomas and Snow voted to suspend the Board's own rules against last-minute action



This quarter billion dollar road
would siphon money away from
transportation investments that
would actually work.

items, and then voted to reverse the County's long-held opposition to the Western Bypass--a wasteful $250-350 million project that VDOT studies show would not significantly reduce traffic on Rt. 29 North.

Apparently won over by a phone call from Va. Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton, Supervisor Dorrier changed his position from just one week before. Nearing midnight, the Board voted 4-2 (with Supervisors Mallek and Rooker opposed) to ask the Metropolitan Planning Organization--a planning body with representatives from the City, the County and VDOT--to remove language blocking the allocation of federal funds to construct the bypass.

 

Bypass Would Siphon Money From Local Transportation Priorities

The hugely expensive Western Bypass would compete with the priorities laid out in the local Places29 plan. In addition, VDOT studies show that only 12% of the traffic on the bypassed stretch of road is through-traffic, so the proposed bypass would not significantly improve local traffic problems. Further, because the proposed road ends at Forest Lakes South, the "bypass" would simply drop vehicles back into a corridor where a great deal of development has been built, approved, or planned.

In short, and according to VDOT's analyses, the congestion on 29 North is caused by local traffic, and we need improvements to the local road network to fix it. A taxpayer-funded, quarter-billion-dollar bypass won't help.

 

 

PEC will be closely involved in these issues, and we'll keep you informed about opportunities for input. If you have any questions, pleasea contact PEC's Albemarle & Charlottesville Land Use Officer, Jeff Werner, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 434-977-2033 x. 29.

 

 
 
 

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Sketches with Jeff

 

Learn more about the (now-defunct) Western Bypass project and its alternatives in this series of illustrations put together by our staff.

Real Solutions to Rt. 29: Video

Nobody doubts the need to fix traffic problems on Rt. 29. But the proposed $250 million Western Bypass is not the answer. Learn more about cost-effective alternatives in this video.

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