GREAT MINDS WANT RAPID TRANSIT
RVA Rapid Transit has a vision. A vision of an affordable, effective, and premium Rapid Transit systems that serves everyone and that everyone wants to ride. But this isn’t an idea that we came up with on the spur of the moment. We are a group of citizens who are watching the larger trends in America towards sustainability and mass transit, and we are responding to that movement. We love Metropolitan Richmond, and we see RVA’s potential to become a go-to city for young professionals, start-up businesses and anyone looking for a high quality of life. We’re working to promote a vision for the future of RVA.
And we are not alone.
On May 13, 2013 the Urban Land Institute (ULI) of Richmond met at the VCU Siegel Center to launch a one-day event called RVA Reality Check. According to ULI’s website RVA Reality check, “is a one-day exercise that brings together diverse regional leaders to build consensus on where the projected growth of housing and jobs should be located across the region.”
RVA Reality check did not set out to take the place of an official regional plan, but to bring professionals together from various fields to envision what the Richmond of 2035 might look like. RVA Reality check consisted of multiple planning teams working independently of one another to see if any common vision of the Richmond of 2035 would emerge. Participants in the teams were from various backgrounds and included real estate professionals, small business owners, government officials, urban planners, economic development professionals and nonprofit representatives from various faith-based and civic groups. By the end of this massive brainstorming session of some of the best minds throughout RVA, a big surprise emerged! In the words of the report;
“Leading up to the day, volunteers anticipated that some participants would opt to include transit, and others would focus just on the placement of Legos®, as the transit and roads were optional. Over 70 percent of the major transportation improvement miles recommended were new or improved mass transit routes.”
By the end of the Reality Check “Game Day” consensus emerged around the following transit routes:
Downtown to Airport 85%
–– Route 1 Downtown to Chester 85%
–– Route 1 Downtown to Ettrick/Petersburg 70%
–– Route 1 Downtown to Ashland 70%
–– Broad St. Downtown to Short Pump/West Creek 70%
–– Route 60 Downtown to Midlothian 70%
–– Route 360 Downtown to Brandermill/Woodlake 67%
–– Route 360 Downtown to Mechanicsville 63%
Overall, 93% of groups that participated in “Game Day” saw Rapid Transit as key to the future of Richmond. Connected with the desire for Rapid Transit was the desire for high density zoning.
RVA Rapid Transit representatives did not attend this event, nor we were aware of the event until recently. But the Reality Check’s proposal for new transit routes are virtually the same as those RVA Rapid Transit is proposing! This isn’t about us. This is about a movement, an idea, a vision, that is rising up from multiple organizations, leaders and the citizens of the Metropolitan Richmond area. The vision is clear. The question remains …
Are you ready to ride?
Then why wait till 2035?