On May 1, the Charlottesville School Board voted to approve the use of land near the high school for the Meadowcreek Parkway (MCP), and last night City Council granted the first of two readings for the easement. But Mayor Dave Norris made it clear that when the easement comes back to Council for a final vote, he’ll be voting against it.
That announcement may signal a switch in thinking from his last vote on the MCP, when he chose pragmatism over principle.
Five people spoke at the public hearing, all of them against the MCP in general, and granting the easement specifically. Colette Hall and transportation activist Stratton Salidis argued that the replacement land the city is set to receive from the Virginia Department of Transportation is of poorer quality than the land on which the roadway would be built.
Peter Kleeman, long-time critic of the MCP, pointed out that a traffic study has yet to be done at the Melbourne Road intersection and argued a steep grade in the road could prove dangerous around a crowded intersection. Ernest Reid asked Council whether approving the easements violate the intent of previous Councils that the MCP be part of a regional network of roads, like the eastern and southern connectors, none of which have a good chance of being built.
Norris cited all of these concerns as reasons he would be opposing the easements. It remains unclear whether there are two other votes on council to block these easements.