Sunday, May 25, 2008

As a follow-up to my previous posting - Where will all the flowers grow?, here is the city council approved 1975 Open Space Plan for McIntire Park. Click on the graphic to see it in greater detail. One goal of this plan was to "plant thousands of crocus and daffodil bulbs" in McIntire Park. This is also the plan often cited as justification for constructing a grade-separated interchange and parkway (then called the McIntire Parkway) in the eastern part of the park. It appears that neither the planting of thousands of bulbs or construction of an interchange and parkway or many of the other proposed improvements happened in the life of this plan. It is interesting to note that the proposed McIntire Parkway provided access to the eastern side of McIntire Park where many recreation opportunities were proposed - unlike recent McIntire Road Extended plans that simply cross through the park from Route 250 Bypass to Melbourne Road - and in plans dated May 2008, McIntire Road Extended plan starts in the park about 775 feet north of Melbourne Road.

Perhaps some bulbs were planted in McIntire Park in the late 1970s after city council approved this plan. Council did pass a request that a parkway (without an interchange) be planned by VDOT in 1978. Many plans for McIntire Park and a parkway through the park have apparently come and gone since this 1975 open space plan. Interestingly, little discussion about the eastern side of McIntire Park 0ccurred during presentation of recent McIntire Park Master Plan activities at the May 19, 2008 city council meeting.

Council has scheduled a work session in June to discuss the Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road and its relationship to what is still officially considered the independent roadway project called the McIntire Road Extended. Yes, if you question (as I and many others do) how these two projects can be considered independent by our transportation planners, you are invited to join the conversation. The public will not be able to speak at the upcoming (I believe June 4) worksession, but you can attend and listen and provide your feedback to councilors by phone, email, letter, and at future council meetings. I hope you will join in this important discussion about the future of McIntire Park and vehicular transportation in greater Charlottesville.


Lonnie said...

I'm pretty glad that plan never happened... It's arguably much worse than anything proposed now.

Also, regarding the flowers, hopefully growing awareness of ecology will encourage the park to plant native bulbs like wood hyacinth, trilium, or turks cap lilies (instead of naturalizing exotics like those proposed in 1975)

Peter Kleeman said...

I guess some of this plan actually did happen - spray pool, some trails, etc. I do agree that using native plants in the park is a much better idea than the ofiginal planting selection. I do wonder if any significant number of trees were planted in the park in response to this plan.

I am glad that the McIntire Parkway wasn't built soon after the plan was developed. Perhaps the council will drop the idea of the now planned McIntire Road Extended and the Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road and focus on adding better bicycle and pedestrian ways and expand public transportation to meet future transportation demands.

Lonnie said...

I've always thought that a Bikeway makes far more sense than a Parkway, but I increasingly feel it may be a losing battle. I don't know why anyone feels it is necessary to build this road when effectively is only a private freeway for developments that should have never been there in the first place. We created a problem, through bad planning, in search of a cure.

I feel Park Street residents are the unfortunate pawns in this game. I think many sincerely think this will help their situation, and few realize that they are actually the sacrificial lamb. There are already developments on Park Street marketing their proximity to the Parkway, and once it is built development will explode consuming the entire road. In addition, other developments on 29 will see that as a green light to move forward themselves. The end result will be more traffic than ever before, plus a new road and lost park space.

The park street problem could be solved in a few months if we wanted to do it. We could sever the road, add a commuter parking lot, and put a gate that only buses and emergency vehicles could pass through. They'd have their neighborhood back, and everyone else would have a fast and effective way to get to work. This solution is effective, affordable and could be done with a minimum of effort and time. It's also just way to obvious for anyone to ever adopt it.