Monday, December 1, 2008

City Council need to "walk the walk" and keep pedestrian projects in CIP

As Charlottesville City Council ponders its Capital Improvement Program (CIP) spending, it appears that our pedestrian friendly city - committed to a balanced transportation system - is opting again for cars over pedestrians. Councilors need to literally "walk the walk" of making Charlottesville a truly walkable city and not eliminate the pedestrian oriented elements from the CIP as appears to be the current plan. Rachana Dixit wrote in the Nov. 26 article "Work that will have to wait?" that protecting funds for the Meadow Creek Parkway (actually the McIntire Road Extended and Route 250 Interchange at McIntire Road) will remain but:

"in 2010, $350,000 in West Main Street improvements, $250,000 for Forest Hills Park, $120,000 in neighborhood projects and $300,000 for new sidewalks are some items that are proposed to have their 2010 funding completely removed."

With over $1.5 million of city transportation funds spent on planning for the proposed interchange, and many thousands more spent and yet to be spent on building the controversial road and interchange through McIntire Park - Charlottesville's most significant parkland and land eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

I will encourage city council tonight to "walk the walk" and not just "talk the talk" of making Charlottesville truly pedestrian, bicycle and transit friendly. If you care to weigh in on this matter, tonight - December 1, 2008 - is your next opportunity. You can comment during the Matters from the Public item that starts about 7:00 pm at council chambers in city hall.


Anonymous said...

It may be worth noting that many of the cuts you've mentioned were unilateral decisions made by planning staff - not elected officials. The Planning Commission was not entirely pleased with the decisions, and they are questioning their role in the process.

Here is the justification for the decisions:

Sidewalk money has not been used, and a balance of $800,000 is just sitting there. That begs the obvious question: why is this money not being spent!?

The road projects MIGHT have state or federal money contingent upon the city's funding. I don't know if it needs to be done this year though.

Just like the parking situation, the city is opting for enhanced auto accessibility over pedestrian and bicycle accommodations.

James said...

Peter, I'm really glad to have you taking on these issues. I'm not always able to make it to City Council meetings but I had read about the funding cuts and noticed how most of the money being cut was for folks on two feet or two wheels. Its unfortunate, but Charlottesville does talk the talk but doesn't walk the walk.

Anonymous said...

There is a list of 99 sidewalks projects, why is that money not being used?