I-66 Style Main Street?


By. Neil Williamson, President

Last week at the Charlottesville Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Policy Board meeting, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) unveiled the preliminary outline of their Route 29 Corridor study.  There are many interesting slides in the presentation.  They will be presenting their findings to the public at 5:00pm on Tuesday evening at Department of Forestry 900 Natural Resources Drive | Charlottesville, Virginia 22903

The study reaches several conclusions:

  • Route 29 between Route 250 and Hydraulic Road is a major choke point of the entire 219-mile corridor
  • As currently designated, the Western Bypass is no longer an effective option to serve corridor-wide trips
  • The VDOT-owned Western Bypass corridor right-of-way represents a possible transportation corridor to potentially serve local and regional traffic, as well as a possible corridor for regional commuter bus service

The report saves its most stinging rebuke for the Places29 recommendations stating,

Places 29 recommendations do not fully address long-term needs on Route 29 from Route 250 to Hydraulic Road

The Corridor Draft report goes beyond simply highlighting the issues it also provides a recommendation for moving forward.  On the West side of US 29 the study calls for consideration of an extension of Leonard Sandridge Road North to Hydraulic or Earlysville Road.  On the East side of US29, the study calls for a bold new vision reconfiguring the proposed US29/Hydraulic interchange so that it extends south to include Route 250.

 Slide 1

 Make no mistake, this is a game changer.  It will be interesting what the local decision makers choose to do with the long range plan known as Places29 in the face of VDOT indicating it does not solve the long range issues.

Further, as businesses and residents attempt to get there heads around the Places29 plan and the VDOT plan it would be wise to remember Virginia Transportation Secretary Pierce Homer’s quote from Sunday’s Washington Post [referring to Northern Virginia]  “I-66 is part of Main Street in this area,” he said.

How should US29, Charlottesville’s main street develop?

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