Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Back in Charlottesville Again

I just spent a wonderful week in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands and need to get back to blogging on some of the many local issues I am concerned about. But, first, I recommend you find a time to visit the Virgin Islands. I only got to visit St. Thomas and St. John, but there are two other significant islands - Water Island and St. Croix I will have to visit next time. Also, there are many small islands you can visit by private boat. I hope to post some pictures of my adventures in the Virgin Islands when I get a chance.

I have just gotten involved in a newly forming group called "Do Something Charlottesville" that is planning to act locally to address challenges of global climate change. If you are interested in checking out this group, their next meet-up is on Feb. 6 2008 at 6:30 pm at a meeting room in the Central Library (301 E. Market Street, Charlottesville VA). The library is accessible by public transit (including the free downtown trolley). The meetings are intended to end at about 7:45 pm so you can attend and still have time to get to a movie, a play, or other downtown venue for some Wednesday night fun.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Protecting our Historic Resources

I have been involved with the controversial roadway project known as the Meadow Creek Parkway since about 1997 and have been a frequent contributor to discussing if building a road through McIntire Park - Charlottesville's largest park - is a reasonable investment. It is a project that has been discussed since the 1960s. It was abandoned in the 1980's, and was reopened for consideration a few years after abandonment. Discussion of this project now is very confused in that what is often referred to as the Meadow Creek Parkway (also referred to as Meadowcreek Parkway by some) actually consists of three projects:

1. The Meadow Creek Parkway - a two-lane road project proposed between Melbourne Road and Rio Road managed by Albemarle County,

2. McIntire Road Extended - a two-lane road project proposed to extend McIntire Road from Route 250 Bypass through McIntire Park to Melbourne Road managed by the City of Charlottesville, and

3. The Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road - a grade-separated interchange proposed to be constructed where McIntire Road and Route 250 Bypass currently meet managed by the City of Charlottesville using federal funding.

Several questions are yet to be answered as I see it.

1. Are these three projects truly independent of each other or are two or three of these projects actually components of one project?

2. Are any or all of these independent or collective projects desirable investments to meet our future transportation demands or should other alternative transportation investments be considered?

3. Is putting an interchange in or a road through McIntire Park a reasonable course of action given our community's need for open space, tree cover, and parkland particularly when federal funding triggers parkland protection consideration under Section 4(f) of the U.S. Department of Transportation Act of 1966?

4. Is adequate consideration of preservation for the several properties eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places included in determining designs for the Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road and McIntire Road Extended projects as required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966?

All of these questions are part of the current conversation about these projects. I will provide some background material and thoughts on these and related issues in future blog postings. But, for now, I would like to share (and encourage you to read) Executive Order 11593 executed in 1971 by Richard Nixon that addresses the issue of historic preservation.

Reading these documents may seem like a bit of a chore, but I assure you that our natural resources, cultural resources and historical resources are at risk and these laws, their implementing regulations, and related executive orders are one of the few protections we have in preserving them for future generations.

Peter Kleeman is Blogging Again

I am blogging again. I took a few weeks off from blogging after my blogging as a candidate for City Council in Charlottesville Virginia. I was not elected, but I believe my participation in the campaign brought attention to key local issues relating to managing growth, providing broader transportation choices, enhancing citizen participation in government, and encouraging more responsive government. My campaign blog is a good example of what this blog will be. I have been an active voice on issues before Charlottesville City Council for many years and will continue to bring my ideas and suggestions before city council, the planning commission, city staff, and other stakeholders. I plan to post information, ideas, schedules, relating to many of these issues.

I hope you will bookmark this site and visit often. And, don't hesitate to post comments to my blog in the spirit of lively interaction in search of positive outcomes.