I watched the December 9, 2008 Charlottesville Planning Commission Meeting rebroadcast on Charlottesville's Own TV-10 and watched the discussion and vote by the Planning Commission on the proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP). I wanted to go to them meeting to comment on this very item, but could not be there. But, many of my thoughts were presented by several members of the public who were apparently as disappointed as I that the proposed CIP does not address several of the highest priority needs - including improved pedestrian infrastructure and acquisition of parkland both of which advance several elements of council's vision statement for the city. Commissioner Bill Emory pointed out that no parkland has been purchased through the CIP since 1980. And Mayor Norris questioned the decision not to have any funds in the CIP for pedestrian projects.
After several strong comments from members of the public asking for reprogramming of matching funds for construction of the controversial McIntire Road Extended and the Route 250 Interchange at McIntire Road project toward park preservation, acquisition of parkland, and pedestrian infrastructure construction, a lively discussion by planning commissioners I was pleased to see the commission recommend that the CIP be changed in pretty much that way. The vote on the CIP motion was 4-2 and sends a clear message that our planning commission supports a CIP that addresses the high priority investments in a sustainable future for Charlottesville and its residents.
I applaud commissioners Emory, Rosensweig, Keller and Pearson for supporting a CIP motion by commissioner Keller (with several amendments by other councilors) in line with our city's stated goals and vision. Well done commissioners. Commissioners Osteen and Lewis voted against the successful motion primarily because they don't wish to delay construction of McIntire Road Extended and the Route 250 Interchange at McIntire Road. Commissioner Keller clearly articulated her opposition to sacrificing McIntire Park by implementing a 1960's solution to our transportation needs. See the Charlottesville Tomorrow story on this issue and listen to the podcast if you want to hear the comments and discussions.
I am interested to see if at least three of the members of Charlottesville's City Council will agree with the recommendations of the planning commission. I hope so. Now is the time to stop spending so much of Charlottesville's capital on roadway projects whose time has passed. Directing capital funds toward these projects limit - not enhance - making Charlottesville the sustainable and pedestrian oriented community we are striving to become.