Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What is in a Name? Confusion!

I received the following notice from the City by email about an upcoming City Council work session. Some will say that this is a project that has been going on for a long time - others (including me) say they have never heard of the "McIntire Road Extended Interchange" project. What is up?


ON Wednesday, June 4, 2008

AT 5:00 p.m. IN THE “City Space”
in the Charlottesville Community Design Center
100 5th Street, S.E.
(downtown mall side of the Market Street Parking Garage
formerly the Visitors Center)


Work Session: McIntire Road Extended Interchange


BY: Jeanne Cox

DATE: May 29, 2008

I don't believe there is any intention on the part of the city to obfuscate that this is to be a work session about the Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road project, but inventing new names on announcements is not a good idea and does add greatly to the alreadly confused sea of names associated with a transportation project proposed to connect McIntire Road (at the intersection with Route 250 Bypass) to Rio Road.

This project has been referred in city, county, or VDOT documents in its entirety (Route 250 Byapass to Rio Road) as:

(1) McIntire Parkway,
(2) McIntire Road Extended,
(3) Meadowcreek Parkway,

as two independent component projects:

(4) McIntire Road Extended (from Route 250 Bypass to Melbourne Road); and Meadow Creek Parkway (from Melbourne Road to Rio Road)

and as three independent component projects:

(5) Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road (from Route 250 Bypass at McIntire Road to approx. 775 feet north of Route 250 Bypass), McIntire Road Extended (from approx. 775 feet north of Route 250 Bypass to Melbourne Road), and Meadow Creek Parkway (from Melbourne Road to Rio Road).

To add to the confusion, the federal legislation providing earmark totaling $27 Million refers to the Route 250 Bypass Interchange at McIntire Road as the Meadowcreek Parkway Interchange.

Now, we have yet a new name introduced as McIntire Road Extended Interchange.

Is anybody paying any attention to this at all?

I attended the May 2008 Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Policy Board meeting and recommended during the 'matters from the public' period that it would be desirable to present information on this (or these) project(s) using current official names so it is clear what information goes with what project. I also recommended that some key misrepresentations in the MPO "Project Status Matrix" also be corrected. To my surprise, Jeanette Janiczek from the city staff reinforced incorrect information and MPO chair David Slutzky supported using unofficial names for projects (in particular using the long changed name Meadowcreek Parkway for the combined McIntire Road Extended and Meadow Creek Parkway projects although this is different from what used to be called the Meadowcreek Parkway prior to initiating an interchange project and now with different project limits on the McIntire Road Extended).


I know I am and I would add disappointed to that. How can an interested citizen get information about the current state of a project when the status report is flawed, and one would have to search under a broad range of different official and unofficial names online in an attempt to find information (hopefully correct) through online sources.

The confusion is not limited to the project names. There has also been a series of easement ordinances and council resolutions passed that put conditions on use of right of way, replacement parkland, design features, operation requirements, and other transportation improvements being required prior to even constructing these facilities. Although these projects are adamantly considered independent of each other for political reasons, they are so intimately connected through these conditions.

I along with several other involved citizens have been following and commenting on these issues for years with some success in clarifying what is happening. Unfortunately the key decisionmakers at the city, county, MPO, and state levels don't seem to mind perpetuating the evergrowing confusion.

What to do?

Check out what is happening on these projects. Do a Google or other search under the various project names and see what you find. Contact your councilors or supervisors to find out what is happening. Share your thoughts with city, county, and VDOT staff. And, visit this blog to follow whatever it is that I can report that will help you understand what the facts are about the project and the processes being followed by various groups pushing this project forward - no matter what they call it. I also encourage you to browse my previous postings on this project to get some added background on what has gone before. Enjoy the ride.

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