By. Neil Williamson, President
In the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz”, the Guardian of the Emerald City refuses to allow Dorothy and her friends in until he recognizes the importance of her visit. When he realizes her identity, he proclaims, “Well, bust my buttons! Why didn’t you say that in the first place? That’s a horse of a different color! Come on in!”
from this point forward the movie is in glorious Technicolor and the perspective changes dramatically. Edited 9:05 pm July 7 See Comment 2 below NW
During my research on the Western Bypass of US 29, I had a similar “Bust my Buttons” revelation.
While digging into data on the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) website, I reviewed US 29 North Transportation Corridor Study Technical Memorandum #3 “Existing Transportation & Urban Conditions Addendum”.
I found over 14,000 daily trips (all numbers based on 1998 CHART Regional Transportation model) that the opponents are cleverly not counting as Bypass beneficiaries. Please let me explain this horse of a different color.
The Memorandum categorizes trips in three ways:
Trips with both ends outside urbanized Albemarle County – These are trips that have both ends outside (i.e., travel through) the urbanized portion of Albemarle County and use US 29 in the Places29 study area. These trips are regional through traffic.
Trips with one end inside urbanized Albemarle County – Trips that have one end in the urbanized portion of Albemarle County, outside the Places29 study area, and one end outside the urbanized portion of Albemarle County and use US 29 in the Places29 study area. These trips would include Greene County residents that work at the University or in Charlottesville.
Trips with both ends inside urbanized Albemarle County – These include trips made by persons living in the Places29 study area and working or shopping in the urbanized portion of Albemarle County (including Charlottesville) outside the area or by people from the urbanized area that come into the Places29 area to work or shop.This category also includes trips with both ends in the Places29 study area. These are trips made by persons living in the Places29 study area who also work or shop in the area.
Opponents claim that the ONLY trips that the western bypass would serve the first category – through traffic (7,100). While these trips would benefit, according to our research so would the majority of the second category ie: Forest Lakes to The University of Virginia.
There are approximately 21,400 external to internal trips that enter the urbanized portion of Albemarle County using US 29 North; these trips represent approximately 74% of the total 1998 ADT on US 29. Approximately, 14,100 or 67% of the trips that originate outside the urbanized portion of Albemarle County terminate in the urbanized portion of Albemarle County outside the Places29 study area and use US 29 in the Places29 study area. Approximately half of these 14,100 external to internal trips (7,800 trips) that pass through the US 29 North study area originate in or are destined for the remainder of the City of Charlottesville (city). Emphasis added – NW
Based on this data, the Free Enterprise Forum extrapolates that the US 29 Western Bypass could serve at least 49% of US 29 traffic (1/2 External to Internal + External to External) – That’s a Horse of a Different Color.
Senator Daniel Moynihan once said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts”.
Considering the most vocal opponents to the western bypass are well versed in this trip data, their vitriolic cat calls that this road serves no purpose is either a gross oversight or a deliberate error of omission designed to steer the debate away from the facts.
In either case, the community should demand better.
Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a privately funded public policy organization covering the City of Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa and Nelson County. For more information visit the website www.freeenterpriseforum.org
(Photo Credits: MGM)