On November 8th, Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the City will consider moving the Department of Social Services from its current location behind City Hall to a Southside location off Commerce Road. RVA Rapid Transit is concerned that the proposed location is hard to access for Richmonders traveling on foot, bike, or by public transportation. Please take a minute to read more about the specifics of those concerns, and if you—or a nonprofit, company, or faith group you’re involved with—would like to share your perspective on potentially moving the Department of Social Services, please reply to this email.
AROUND THE REGION
GRTC systemwide ridership numbers continue to impress. Weekly ridership stands at around 169,708 (that’s the average of the three weeks from October 7th to October 27th, the most recent data available). Compared to the week before the Pulse opened, which saw 141,513 rides, that’s an almost 20% increase! A year-over-year comparison would give us a better picture of how ridership is increasing, but regardless, it’s impressive. There are very, very few cities in the United States that are seeing ridership increases on their bus systems, and, now, Richmond is one of them!
While this article in the Washington Post recapping the first year of the dynamic I-66 tolls is framed from the point of view of single-occupancy car commuters, there’s a lot of really great takeaways for how congestion pricing can change people’s behavior. From the Fairfax County Transportation Director: “There are people who are now paying and people who are turning to transit or ride-sharing. The institution of the tolls has resulted in people changing their travel patterns.”
Why haven’t electric buses taken over the transit world? Well, in China they basically have, but in American they’re still mostly an oddity—but that’s changing! Angie Schmitt at StreetsBlog digs into some of the challenges facing electric bus service in the U.S. and how some localities are finding success with an all-electric fleet. Fingers crossed that some of the $14 million of Volkswagen Mitigation Trust money finds its way to the Richmond region for some sort of small, electric bus pilot.
Alon Levy, who’s known for their intensely nerdy thoughts on transit, has a fairly accessible post up about what part public transit can and should play in any future federal environmental / infrastructure plan. While the political will for massive transit spending may not exist at the moment, as Levy says, regional planning agencies should have some solid ideas for how to spend a bucketful of money—ideas that don’t involve building or widening roads.