Every few months I drive from Arlington down to Charlottesville for meetings of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities at their headquarters next toÂ the Boar’s Head Inn. I always allow myself enough time to deal with the random delays that crop up when you’re trying toÂ putÂ Northern Virginia in your rear view mirror, and I’ve never been late for a meeting. Until last week. I escaped from Area Code 703 without incident; the hangup was in AC 434. Things may be changing in Charlottesville, and not for the better.
It took me nearly 1/2 hour to go the final mile on 29 South and get onto 250 West. As is so often the case in NOVA, there was no visible sourceÂ for the backup: no overturned SUV in the median, no burning tourist bus at the side of the road. I’d like to chalk the delay up to holiday shopping or some event at The University, but the next morning a woman approaching from the west was 1/2 hour late due to a similar experience. Some incident on I-64 sent traffic cascading over onto local roads, causingÂ gridlock that would do Tysons Corner proud.
There are those who see Charlottesville asÂ a kind ofÂ Little City In The Bubble,Â magically sealed offÂ from the indignities of urban life such as highway noise walls, Fuddruckers, — and congestion. Those days of innocence may be coming to an end. Sorry, Charlottesville, but welcome to America, and the real world of Virginia.Â