AROUND THE REGION
Two GRTC updates! First, beginning September 5th, most bus routes that use Broad Street (which is a ton of them) will detour over to Franklin and Grace to avoid construction until the Pulse opens. This is a much better solution than just zooming down that long, 7-to-8-block stretch of Broad without stopping. Second, GRTC has released a destination guide tool which lets you piece together a multi-leg trip. If you’ve got a ton of errands to do by bus but aren’t sure how to make it happen, this tool could help!
Boomer Magazine has an overview of the regional transit system we’re all working towards, written by the Rev. Ben Campbell. High-quality, rapid transit down the region’s major corridors is the goal, and the Pulse down Broad Street is the first piece. One thing to keep in mind: The “contractual fixed completion date” of the Pulse is June 30th, but the contractor “is pushing to get the work completed as early as possible.”
Chesterfield has hired a new Director of Planning: Andrew Gillies of Farmers Branch, Texas. One exciting detail from the Richmond-Times Dispatch piece about Gillies is that “Farmers Branch is currently developing a new urban center next to a rapid transit line.” A new Director of Planning in the County with transit-oriented development experience is very exciting news! As the region takes steps towards the regional transit vision plan (see above), Chesterfield County will have a lot of opportunities to put that experience to use along Route 1, Midlothian Turnkpike, and Hull Street Road.
The Memphis area is moving towards a bigger and better regional transit system, too. They’re working on a vision plan at the moment (we’ve already got one of those), but they do have access to some state-approved funding mechanisms for the systems (something we, at the moment, lack).
I love these smart fare initiatives like Portland’s “pass earning.” In short, if you ride twice in a day, you’re charged the day-pass rate and no more—even if you didn’t start out with a day pass. No more wasting money when your plans change and you’ve purchased the wrong pass. Programs like this help make transit systems more equitable for low-income riders and more legible for folks new to the system.
LA Metro has found that “80% of its bus riders currently reach transit on foot, along with 67% of its rail riders.” Every transit rider, at some point, is a pedestrian! That’s why improved sidewalks, safer streets, and programs like Vision Zero are an important part of the entire transit picture. To improve the pedestrian experience, LA Metro will channel hundreds of millions of dollars into street improvements and has also developed a “First Last Mile Strategic Plan” to help municipalities with street treatments near transit.