First, a quick update on the Richmond Transit Network Plan:
At this past Monday's Informal City Council meeting, Council decided to continue RES. 2016-092 until their February 13th meeting. That (non-binding) resolution explicitly states City Council's support for the three major recommendations of the Richmond Transit Network Plan: a 70-30 split between frequent buses and buses that cover more streets, a stop spacing of about 5 per mile, and an implementation of the plan concurrent with the opening of the Pulse (or nine months after GRTC receives funding for said implementation, which ever is later).
It's disappointing that Council chose to delay supporting this desperately needed update to our City's bus system. But! Don't despair! Things are moving forward and still on track for a successful implementation, which leads to a successful launch of the Pulse, which leads to a successful first step towards a truly regional transit system.
We want to show City Council that we're excited for the Richmond Transit Network Plan and encourage them to pass RES. 2016-092 at their February 13th meeting. If you're best pals with your councilmember, maybe grab a beer with them and let them know how a network of frequent buses will provide increased access and freedom for Richmonders. If you're not on a grab-a-beer level with your councilmember, you can always send them a friendly email.
Oh, also, there are still a few Richmond Transit Network Plan meetings left. If you haven't attended one make sure you do so—check out the meeting schedule here.
(And, as always, you can forward this email to folks who haven't yet got on the transit bus!)
AROUND THE REGION
Ned Oliver at the Richmond Times-Dispatch covered the delay of the Richmond Transit Network Plan vote. This will give you an idea of where everyone stands at the moment. Cautiously optimistic is the general vibe.
I couldn't agree more with this letter to the Chesterfield Observer titled "Bus service is needed on Jeff Davis Highway." And let's be clear: Jeff Davis needs fixed-route, hourly service every day. While we work towards that, we need to continue to push for a Bus Rapid Transit feasibility study for the length of Route 1.
The Virginia House passed HB 1931, a bill that provides for the appointment of fare enforcement inspectors. Sounds boring, but this bill (or the accompanying bill in the Senate, SB 1172 is critical for running a BRT, and we need one of these to pass this General Assembly session!
Bill Lohmann has a history of the Richmond street car system and how it laid the tracks for the world's first subway. It's almost too depressing to link to. One quibble: the bus rapid transit line he mentions near the end, presumably the Pulse, will be completed this October—not decades from now. The regional vision for transit, which is a network of BRTs, may take a while to build and implement but hopefully not a handful of decades.
PREVIOUSLY, ON RVA RAPID TRANSIT...
- The significant benefits of implementing the Richmond Transit Network Plan: A frequent, fully-integrated network. If you've ever wondered how wasteful our current system would be if we added a BRT down Broad Street but did nothing else, read this amazing piece by Nicholas Smith.