Monday, August 18, 2008


Hopefully a lot of the folks reading this blog have heard something about the "MCP" project. If you haven't here's the translation:

MeadowCreek Parkway (aka MCP)

This project has been around in the Charlottesville/Albemarle region for decades. Tonight, by a 3-2 vote, Charlottesville's City Council gave the green light to move forward with the final land acquisition in order to build a significant portion of the project. This portion will cut through McIntire Park. Since this is a cycling blog, I'll keep this post relevant to cycling.

The project calls for the development of a two-lane parkway beginning at Route 250 and McIntire Road and extending through the park past Melbourne Road to Rio Road. The plans call for pedestrian and bicycle facilities to be built along with the roadway.

Tonight, the city council gave the green light to move forward with the development of this project. As a cyclist there are reasons you should be concerned about the project. As a citizen of Charlottesville there are even more reasons to be concerned. First, as a cyclist this project is yet another example of how most of our public dollars get spent on infrastructure supporting motorized transport. Fortunately we've made a little progress as a society to the point that some of that money at least gets allocated to support basic bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. But, if you look at the percentage of money spent on supporting motorized transport, only a very small slice of the pie goes to non-motorized transport. Second, as a citizen of Charlottesville we should all be questioning this project based on its merits as a transportation project. Basically, it has little merit in terms of transportation. It is essentially an economic development project that everyone wants to call a transportation project. It solves no significant transportation problems in the city or the county according to any studies that I have seen. Yet, most of the city council supports the project because it will help downtown business. Thus, it is an "economic development" project masquerading as a transportation project.

I realize that this may not be directly related to cycling but as a cyclist you should be concerned. The more that we allow our governments to build unnecessary road projects that serve to support urban sprawl and do little to address real transportation problems, the fewer resources we will have to dedicate to improving our existing infrastructure to make it usable by all modes of transportation. If you have an interest in cycling as a mode of transportation beyond sport you should consider paying some attention to this issue and others like it. There are numerous ways that you can support cycling in Charlottesville. One way is to get involved in the public participation process for transportation projects.

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