This week in transit: Help us with community engagement

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Exciting news: We’re hiring a handful of part-time community advocates to help us with outreach, recruitment, and community engagement for a new project we’re working on called RVA Rides. If you’re interested read more about the position and apply before October 22nd!

The annual Morton B. Gulak Lecture in Urban and Regional Planning is this Wednesday, October 17th at 7:00 PM in VCU’s University Student Commons. Majora Carter will give this year’s lecture, which sounds fascinating and is titled “Beyond Mobility: Designing Public Transit to Cultivate Communities of Opportunity”. The event is free and open to the public, although space is limited so get there early!

AROUND THE REGION

Charles Mitchell, interim CEO of GRTC, has a column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch about GRTC’s work towards reducing their carbon footprint and helping to create a more sustainable commonwealth. Getting more folks using public transportation is one of the ways to offset climate change. As City Lab put it this week, “The Planet Can’t Survive Our Transportation Habits.”

In micomobility news, Richmond’s dockless, shareable scooter ordinance, ORD. 2018-262, should end up in front of the City’s Land Use, Housing and Transportation committee this coming Tuesday. Scooters, deployed in an equitable way, can be an important tool to fill gaps in our existing transportation network.

ELSEWHERE

The Washington Post looks forward to a comprehensive rethinking of the D.C. region’s entire bus network. While they’ve got multiple, large systems to work on, the basics of improvement remain the same regardless of system size: “Ideally, there would be a robust network of bus lanes, frequent service 24/7, all-door entry and an electronic or off-board payment system.”

TransitCenter has a new report out about what makes a good bus stop. Richmond already does some of their recommendations, but I would like to see more movement on something like this: “Transit agencies should become experts on their bus stops, and maintain information about every stop in an interactive database that can be shared publicly.”

—Ross Catrow

This week in transit: Chesterfield considering public transportation on Route 1

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Our friends over at the faith-based Isaiah Project had a good turnout at the Henrico Board of Supervisors meeting the other week. They were there to give public comment and show public support for the recent expansions in the County’s bus service.

Next up on the Isaiah Project’s calendar: A trip to the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors on Wednesday, October 24th from 6:00–8:00 PM at 10001 Iron Bridge Road. While the logistics will match the trip to Henrico (a handful of speakers, a roomful of supporters all wearing green), I imagine the message will shift from celebrating new public transportation to demanding that the County take the first steps towards connecting Chesterfield into the region’s existing public transportation network.

You can RSVP to the Isaiah Project event on their Eventbrite.

AROUND THE REGION

Speaking of Chesterfield, the County has finally received the report that they requested from the Department of Rail and Public Transportation about transportation options for the Route 1 corridor. The report recommends two different paths forward:

  1. Extend GRTC into the County from the City limits to John Tyler Community College (👍).
  2. Bring in a company that provides reservation-based service on 14-passenger vans. (👎).

I wrote some more on the specifics of the two options over on the RVA Rapid Transit blog, and Jim McConnell at the Chesterfield Observer has some of the thoughts and feelings from Chesterfield’s Board. You can read the study for yourself (PDF) or watch video of the presentation to the County’s Board of Supervisors (skip forward about 22 minutes).

Unrelated, GRTC has slightly simplified and updated the way you can track your bus by text. Just text “GRTC” and your stop number to 22827 and you’ll get back the next couple of buses headed to your stop and the estimated arrival times. Stop numbers are clearly printed on bus stop signs.

ELSEWHERE

How much would it cost to install a bus shelter at every bus stop in America? Angie Schmitt at Streets Blog has an estimate!

—Ross Catrow

This week in transit: Celebrate public transportation victories

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Quick reminder: A bunch of folks will be at Henrico’s Board of Supervisors meeting this Tuesday, September 25th, at 7:00 PM in the Henrico Government Center Administrative Building. If you want to show your support for expanded public transportation in Henrico County, all you’ve got to do is show up and wear green!

If you plan on attending, please RSVP here.

AROUND THE REGION

Hold on to your email apps, because there’s a ton of bus-related news to read this week!


The Richmond Times-Dispatch looked at the launch of new bus service in Henrico and talked to some of the county supervisors about what’s next. Everyone sounds generally supportive, which is great and encouraging. Across the county org chart, Richmond BizSense spoke with County Manager John Vithoulkas and he had a ton of incredibly positive things to say about access to jobs, transit-oriented development, and planning for the future in Henrico County. The change in attitude about public transportation in Henrico County is simply astounding.

Early last week, GRTC dropped some new ridership numbers for the Pulse and the local routes. Pulse ridership is about 6,000 per day, crushing the goal of 3,500, while local service has seen an increase from 141,000 to between 152,000–162,000 weekly riders.

Mayor Stoney announced that he’ll submit an ordinance this week to make bus rides free in the City on Election Day. Increasing access to public transportation and voting? Sounds like a win-win.

This week, the Greater Washington Partnership released a report on how the Capital Region (Richmond, D.C., and Baltimore) can rethink the bus (PDF) as a way to improve mobility across the entire super region. Here’s a rundown of the report’s recommendations for Richmond and how they relate to some of the initiatives and plans we’ve already got going on.

Finally, because there’s always work to be done, NBC12 looks at just how dangerous it is to cross the street at the Shockoe Bottom Pulse Station. This is obviously a concern for Henrico as well, but public transportation is only accessible if folks have a safe way to get to and from it.

—Ross Catrow