September 18, 2007
There are plans to make significant traffic changes to the Route 29 corridor as a part of Places 29, but before the plans become reality, the business community along 29 wanted to know how it fits into the county's economy.
“The actual commercial district is less than one percent of the county and is generating 45 percent of the revenue,” said Mike McGowan, Chairman of the North Charlottesville Business Council, adding “20,000 jobs are along 29 generating $800 million of salaries.”
This new data proves why the business community wants to make sure that any changes made by the Places 29 plan would not hurt the area's economy.
The plan would add more lanes to the road, and several overpasses to alleviate traffic tie-ups.
“What's that going to mean to businesses in terms of staying open while those things are being done. Long term, what's it going to mean are people going to want to just fly through here to get on up to Greene County to shop. Are we building the type of place people want to come to, that they want to live in, work in, and shop in or are we going to turn it into something that’s a good quick way to get through Albemarle County,” said McGowan.
Business manager Chuck Lebo agreed. He said other cities on Route 29 can provide a good example.
“Danville, Warrenton, and Lynchburg, they did a nice job of building roads to allow the thru traffic to get through so that when people do want to shop or just get to their house they can either take that bypass or if they want to get off the bypass they can go to the various stores along the main street which is 29,” said Chuck Lebo, owner of Lebo Commercial Properties.
Those who released the report are hoping public officials will take the information and use it while making important development decisions.
The Free Enterprise Forum conducted the study for the North Charlottesville Business Council.