Monday, September 08, 2008

'Parkway' N.C.-style = boondoggle

They're calling it a "parkway"? That's about as Orwellian as the Republicans running a presidential campaign AGAINST Washington – you know, where they've held the White House?

Have you ever driven Connecticut's Merritt Parkway? Now that's a parkway. Here's one key fact: It prohibits truck and commercial traffic. So even when it's jammed with traffic, you're not hemmed in by tractor-trailers driving through your tailpipe or blowing you off the road. It's a noticeably more pleasant experience.

North Carolina's so-called Garden Parkway, a proposed toll road through western Mecklenburg County and eastern Gaston County, isn't – really – being built because it will relieve clogged roads. It's a development-enhancing road. And part of the rationale is to help the truck traffic from an intermodal (yucky word, it means dealing with trucks, trains and planes) facility planned at Charlotte's airport.

Read about how some transportation planners say the road isn't needed. And read about how two state senators (David Hoyle of Gaston and Robert Pittenger of Mecklenburg, who's running for lieutenant governor) have bought land along the proposed route Because of local politicians' continuing inability to say no to developers, those "parkway" interchanges are destined to become as full of glop as those around Charlotte's outerbelt highway. Tip o the hat to Observer reporter Steve Harrison for those stories. Pittenger, you'll note, recused himself from two votes that moved the parkway proposal through the legislature.

The 67 miles of the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways are lined with trees and woods, and the Merritt has a series of architecturally interesting bridges, designed by one architect. Both opened as toll roads but tolls were removed in 1988.

Even New Jersey has a parkway that prohibits truck traffic: The Garden State Parkway (not to be confused with our proposed Garden Parkway) was built in the early 1950s and prohibits trucks on the northern third of the route.

Somehow I don't think the N.C.-style "parkway" will be a "parkway" at all. New name suggestion: The Garden Boondoggle.

14 comments:

charlotte >raleigh said...

This "parkway" is completely unnecessary. How about using the money allocated to build far more needed projects like the completion of 485 and the expansion of 77 and 485.

Anonymous said...

"It's a development-enhancing road."

Do you have any idea how ironic it is that you are complaining about this "development-enhancing road" when the light rail system here in Charlotte is also clearly "enhancing development"?

The level of hypocrisy you generate is mind-blowingly staggering.

I agree that this parkway is unnecessary. But you, of all people, have no room to complain about the fact that it's going to be used as an engine to drive redevelopment.

Sloan from SouthPark and Uptown said...

Hoyle and Pittenger must have been watching too many reruns of the spaghetti western "Once Upon a Time In The West".

That's where the Henry Fonda bad guys plot to take over land destined to gain in value as a station stop once the railroad comes through. Nowadays the iron horse has gone, but the land rush is on along the proposed parkway route.

Where is Charles Manson now that we really need him?

Sloan Revisted said...

Oops! Rather, where is Charles BRONSON when we really need him?

(It's been 40 years since that movie, and my age is starting to show).

Anonymous said...

"intermodal (yucky word, it means dealing with trucks, trains and planes)"

My god Mary, when you use words like yucky, eww and isiotic, you really show how shallow your arguments are. Just as shallow when you blast highways and development, but hey, we expect nothing less than shallowness from you Mary.

The Garned Parkway has been in the regional plans for over twenty years, just as the intermodal distribution hub near the airport (the yucky one according to Mary) has as well. It was not a matter of if these projects would come on line but when.

I do agree that the widening of I-77 and the completion and widening of I-485 should come first, but the Garden Parkway is going to become necessary sooner or later. Of course Mary would prefer to dig up all the freeways and replace them with 40's bungalows full of little pixies dancing around with tulips in their hands, but that's another story.

Anonymous said...

Light rail and other mass transit system improvments are good because they add capacity to areas already developed. This road just makes more sprawl. Anon 9:30:00 is missing the point.

And other folks are missing the point of this blog. It's not a well researched news paper quality article. It's just the e-version of the water cooler exchange. Words like yucky are appropriate here. The Observer wins as long as you keep coming back and their ads are across your computer screen.

Anonymous said...

Well, if it's OK for the moderator to use the word 'yucky' to describe something, she shouldn't censor posts that use words such as 'redneck', etc. If she wants the discourse to be 'civil', she shouldn't use certain hollow words herself.

As for the Garden Parkway, it would only accommodate the sprawl that growth is going to bring anyway. This road will help with connectivity to Clover, York, Lake Wylie and a few other communities that now can only be reached via an hour's drive on NC-49. I say, bring it on!

Anonymous said...

She isn't the moderator, she's the blog OWNER. Don't like her style? Get your own. That's the whole idea behind free enterprise.

(ironic that the free-enterprise and private-sector boosters here are always the quickest to complain when their opponents excercise their own rights... quite Orwellian indeed)

Anonymous said...

The new bridge across the Catawba was announced some time ago. The media refused to consider the implications of it until the plans have been finalized, enriching the actual developers and politicians who arranged the whole deal. Incredible.

A similar situation upcoming when CSX sells the rail switching yard between Uptown and Noda. The whole deal will be done before the public hears one word of it.

The blatant corruption is out of control. Waldhof estates for the insiders. Section 8 for the rest!

Anonymous said...

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us - don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know!

How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell one's name the livelong day
To an admiring blog!

Anonymous said...

I moved to Charlotte from Connecticut, and I did really enjoy the Merritt Parkway. It did not allow any commercial traffic. It runs parallel to I-95, therefore the Trucks run 95, while cars use the Parkway. It definately was a pleasant commute to say the least- tree lined, historic bridges, etc. As for Connecticut as a whole, this was the only good thing about that state.

Anonymous said...

Can NC not finish projects it has already started first!!!!! i.e. I-485, Widening of I-77, Street Lamp repairs on all the interstates, etc.

Before starting a Garden Parkway to only delay it by 15 years (lesson learned from I-485), I say NO to moving forward until the other stuff has finished first.

Increase Web Site Traffic said...

Planned routes for the Garden Parkway would total between 21.5 to 23.7 miles in length. The general route would begin at the interchange between Interstate 485 and Garrison Road/NC 160 in Mecklenburg County, immediately southwest of Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.

The route would then cross (west/southwest) the Catawba River into Gaston County, passing south of Belmont and Cramerton. The road would cross US 321 south of Gastonia, before curving (north, then northeast) into a loop around the west side of Gastonia, crossing I-85 just west of the city.

Continuing northeast, the road would reach its endpoint at an interchange with the freeway portion of US 321, north of Dallas.

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