I have just learned that information has been obtained Tuesday from VDOT but is not being released by the MPO chair. I have demanded release of that information immediately.
I hope you have read my letter to the editor with Dennis Rooker a week ago about our views of the current bypass resurgence. Some road supporters have complained that it is old information, but the information is still accurate and complete, as opposed to the incomplete assurances which are being offered today for local projects.
As you may expect there has been an outpouring of concern about the speed toward approval and lack of new information on the proposed bypass, about the process of coercion from the state, which has starved our local transportation budget for several years to create the desperation we now feel, and about the design and location of the proposed road. Why should we destroy such a swath of developed neighborhoods and school environment for a few minutes gain on a connector road? The current design will increase the traffic issues at each end, in places where there is considerable congestion and level of accidents today.
Many of you have emphasized the long term health effects on our school children of the truck traffic near the school grounds, on top of the noise distraction which will interfere with learning. The residential neighbors will suffer the same fates. We should not, knowingly, put our residents in harms way.
I am not in favor of this change in our long range plan and definitely NOT in favor of changing the TIP or transportation improvement program funding list. If the MPO votes to make that change, without the local roads promised voted into the state TIP and investment begun, we may lose all our local funds and get only the bypass and the widening. Those two parts alone will not solve our problem and will create more.
Since there has been no memo from VDOT as promised, how can we know what we will receive? Why should we give up our small leverage without it? How can any offer from VDOT and the CTB be enforced? How can our citizens be protected?
New engineering information indicates that building the bypass will make a Berkmar Extended unfeasible, due to the expensive flyovers or intersections necessary to cross the bypass.
We have seen no design for the northern end. What will be the effect on Forest Lakes and Ashwood Blvd? What contract or MOU do we have to prove that VDOT means what it promises? Future politicians may force the VDOT staff to rescind their offers.
I am unable to be at the meeting Wednesday, but four of the board members will be in attendance. I have written my concerns to them, just as you have. Thank you for your attention to this matter. The citizen participation on this issue has been the major factor over the years to bring good government and good process to road building.