Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Saving U.S. 15's Hallowed Ground

The U.S. 15 corridor from Gettysburg, Pa., into the Virginia Piedmont encompasses of the nation's most historic sites and some of its most beautiful countryside. But it's also under intense development pressure, particularly from Washington's booming suburbs.

A new coalition formed to preserve the corridor is exploring a strategy of persuading "socially conscious investors" to buy into a real estate investment trust that would buy up key properties, place easements or restrictions on future uses, and sell them. The group - Journey Through Hallowed Ground - includes 120 federal, state and county agencies. Its executive director is Cate Magennis Wyatt, a Waterford resident who served as Doug Wilder's secretary of commerce and trade.

Wyatt told the Loudoun Times-Mirror that the coalition wants "to demonstrate that preservation can be economically sustainable, that nothing we are suggesting constrains landowners’ rights, and that it will ensure quality of life for the communities along the corridor.”

The coalition also wants National Scenic Byway designation for parts of the corridor. But Bob Chase of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance told the paper that such a designation makes a proposed western bypass through Loudoun even more critical. "Absent such a bypass, you can designate Route 15 as a historic corridor all you want, but you will not change the fact that it would be, by default, a major north-south traffic route," Chase said.

2 Comments:

At 8:33 AM, Blogger Virginia Centrist said...

The route 15 thing is spot on correct. Maybe a bypass isn't the answer, but the fact remains that route 15 is being used as a north south connector right now.

 
At 9:03 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

Wyatt told the Loudoun Times-Mirror that the coalition wants "to demonstrate that preservation can be economically sustainable, that nothing we are suggesting constrains landowners’ rights, and that it will ensure quality of life for the communities along the corridor.”

I'm waiting for the details.


With regard to 15 I have suggested that instead of a Wesern Bypass we put up an Eastern Blue Ridge Parkway. Run it right along the top of the Bull Run mountain ridgeline where interchanges are not possible in order to prevent the road from causing additional growth.

On the other hand, growth is one way you justify the costs of roads, so I'm not sure you can win this one.

 

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