Chesterfield County’s Planning Commission will meet this coming Tuesday, February 20th to consider the Northern Jefferson Davis Special Area Plan. At 6:00 PM they will host a public hearing.
The plan, in its current state (PDF), does not recommend fixed-route bus service on the corridor. Ideally, we’d see an extension of existing GRTC service from the city limits to John Tyler and over to the Government Center with at least hourly service, seven days a week. The plan also lists microtransit as an alternative to that fixed-route service. Micotransit, or demand-responsive transit, can be incredibly inefficient and cost up to $1,000 per passenger trip. So that’s disappointing.
But it’s not all bad news: The plan does contain several important pedestrian and bike improvements—as we know, all transit riders begin and end their trips as pedestrians. It also acknowledges the existence of the Regional Transit Vision Plan and its recommendations while mentioning making accommodations now for potential future transit service.
If you are a Chesterfield resident and would like to see GRTC service—real, useful public transportation—extended into the County, please let them know at the public hearing on Tuesday the 20th, 6:00 PM, 10001 Iron Bridge Road in the public meeting room.
AROUND THE REGION
Today we’ve got two stories from Richmond BizSense about transit-oriented development around the Cleveland Street Pulse Station.
First, the owner of local taco shop Don’t Look Back will open two new locations, one of which is near the Cleveland Street Station. From the article: “‘Scott’s Addition, with all the breweries and growing options, is becoming Richmond’s entertainment district…We feel we’re going to be a nice complement to an already very cool collection of businesses,’ he said, adding that they like the proximity to Veil Brewing and the forthcoming bus rapid transit line on Broad Street.”
Second, just down the block a bit, plans to turn the old SunTrust branch into a brewery have fallen through due to permitting issues, which is a bummer. But! As the current owners of the building try and figure out what to do with the space, they have been “inundated” with offers to sell.
Proximity to high-quality transit will be a huge boon to these business, and you should expect to see more and more development along that part of Broad Street over the coming months and years.
The big news in transit world this week came in the form of a new report out of Seattle. From 2010 to 2017, Seattle added 60,000 jobs while seeing the number of solo car commuters drop by nine percent. How did they get all of those extra humans downtown without filling their city to the brim with traffic? An increased investment in public transportation, of course! As part of an earlier funding package, the City and County built three new light rail stations, and, in 2014, “voters approved a 0.1 percent sales tax hike and higher vehicle registration fees to add bus service within the city.” Now, an eye-opening 64% of Seattle residents live near frequent transit compared to just 25% in 2015.
American University offers their students an unlimited bus and Metro pass at a steeply discounted rate which is covered by their student fees. Providing students access to jobs, internships, off-campus housing, and all the cool parts of a city that aren’t within walking distance of campus is a no-brainer. Especially when a new BRT line is about to open that runs directly through the heart of your downtown campus...
Not every transit improvement needs to have the scale (and cost) of a BRT line or an entire bus network redesign. Rhode Island has seen serious improvements to their transit system by making small, no-nonsense upgrades like traffic signal priority, adding bus stop amenities, and providing real-time arrival information on key corridors. These are the kinds of improvements a transit agency can make without relying on massive state or federal funding.
Finally, almost everything in this column about bus service in Connecticut applies to Richmond. Even the part at the end where the author tries to convince you that you should try the bus since all the cool kids are doing it!