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Joseph Passonneau, a nationally celebrated architect and engineer, proposed an "urban expressway" design for U.S. Route 29 in the late 1980s. However, the design's proponents, including the Piedmont Environmental Council and county supervisor Tim Lundstrom were unable to overcome opposition from business owners along 29 North.
Passonneau was acclaimed for his design of I-70 in Colorado's Glenwood Canyon, for which he received a Presidential Award for Design Excellence. He also was involved in the effort to convince reticent St. Louis political leaders to approve the now-famous St. Louis Arch. Passonneau died in Washington, DC in August, 2011 at the age of 90.
Plans for 29
In a 1988 report, Passonneau asserted that well-designed urban roadways should "delight the communities in which they are built." For 29, he proposed an expressway for through traffic featuring grade-separated interchanges at Hydraulic Road and Rio Road. He envisioned a set of parallel roads such as Hillsdale and Commonwealth Drives which would allow the business strip along 29 to develop into a fully fledged business district. This plan would have taken 242 fewer acres of space than the then-proposed (and now-undertaken) Western Bypass. However, the powerful business owners of North 29 opposed the plan, which eventually fell into disrepute.
- Web. Like Halprin: Passonneau had a vision for Charlottesville, Kay Slaughter, The Hook, Better Publications LLC, 9/29/2011, retrieved 10/7/2011. Print. 9/22/2011-9/28/2011 , 10.38, page 47.