Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Charlottesville Downtown Tunnel Study

The Charlottesville Institute for Eventuality (CIE) understands that change is driven by innovative concepts and gradual acceptance. In the case of the Meadowcreek Parkway, primary resistance can be linked to an overall opposition to increased traffic through the downtown area. The CIE realizes that, while the destruction of McIntire Park is currently on forefront on everyone’s mind, once this major artery is opened, gradual acceptance will take hold. Eventually, one will really care that the land used for the parkway was once declared a park.

Initial Investigation
Under an exploratory grant from the Intermodal Subterranean Development for Mobility in Cities Act (ISDMOCA) the CIE explored multiple options that would increase traffic through downtown Charlottesville with the least impact to the community. Our research team down selected 23 alternatives and settled on option 14A: A new four lane tunnel from Ridge-McIntire to 5th Street Extended.

In this Topo map section of Charlottesville’s downtown you can see the blue line depicting alternative 14A, the planned route and associated North and South termini. The CIE felt that this implementation would greatly improve overall traffic flow while leaving fragile, historic residential areas untouched. Additionally, no homes would be taken by eminent domain.

More importantly, the Jefferson Gray moles discovered during the Environmental Impact Study, can be safely relocated to Mcintre Park.


The CIE center for graphic arts has developed accurate renderings to illustrate the tunnel entrances. The southern terminus, south of Tonsler Park, is show here.

The Charlottesville Downtown tunnel would continue approximately 0.7 miles to the Northern terminus near Vinegar Hill shopping center.

Re-purposed Roadway

As an added benefit, the Charlottesville downtown tunnel will eliminate the need for the 5th Street extension segment parallel to Tonsler Park and the block of Ridge-McIntire from Staples, to the Lewis and Clark (with cowering Sacagawea) statue. The CIE recommends repurposing the reclaimed roads to park space. After all, highway deconstructing is the latest fad in urban renewal; it can only improve Charlottesville’s standing in the next top ten cities rating.


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