On June 17 at noon, while I traveled south on U.S. 29, traffic — as it often does — came to a dead halt across from the post office. Sitting there, I privately applauded the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors’ recent vote to open the door for another shot at the bypass.
As I proceeded down to the westbound ramp to the U.S. 250 Bypass, I wondered if there is another locality in Virginia where tractor-trailers pass 10 feet from pedestrians on an urban sidewalk. Those who have lived here a long time may remember years ago the tractor-trailer that plowed into the real estate in front of McDonald’s at Shoppers World.
If you travel the interstates frequently as I do, truck-related debris, mostly retreads, is a common concern. You never know when the rubber will come loose. Running these huge vehicles in close proximity to pedestrians on sidewalks is a design for disaster.
Friends moving to Richmond from the Atlanta area recently commented on Charlottesville traffic being worse than Atlanta.
Then there is the statistic that only 10 percent of the traffic on U.S. 29 North is nonlocal. So what? Many of the remaining 90 percent are residents living south and west of town who now travel through town to get back and forth to commerce and jobs north of town. Would a bypass improve traffic movement and safety? You betcha.
The worst statistic, of course, is the number of deaths that have occurred along the U.S. 29 corridor in the urban ring.
All of this is to say that Charlottesville has become a boomtown, and most of what’s happening is north of the city along U.S. 29. The addition of the new development at Hydraulic Road and U.S. 29 will also vastly increase inner city traffic. Folks, we need a bypass.