This week in transit: Fill! That! Bus!


This coming Saturday, September 7th, GRTC will host a food drive benefiting Feed More at the Willow Lawn Kroger. Stop by between 12:00–4:00 PM and fill the bus with the sorts of shelf-stable food items for which Feed More is always on the hunt. Conveniently, since the food drive is literally at a Kroger, you can buy all of the most-needed items right on the spot. And, of course, Willow Lawn is easily accessible from most parts of town via GRTC’s bus network.


The Henrico CitIzen has a good piece looking back on the past year of newly expanded bus service in Henrico County. Rider stories support what we already know from the data: Adding nights and weekends to Henrico’s major routes made public transportation more useful to more people. Here’s one rider talking about Route #91: “And what’s worse, people who perhaps did not have the means for a car and live out here along [the Laburnum] corridor in particular couldn’t take jobs that required shift work.”

Two other things to note:

  1. While ridership on Route #79 (which runs by Regency) has decreased, a proposed mixed-used development in the area will ultimately drive a lot of bus ridership. Henrico’s assistant director of Public Works says “We know there’s more development coming in that area that will help make that route more successful, so we have the route in place anticipating that development.” Smart. Also, looking into the future a bit, when the Pulse gets extended further west, the Regency area will need a frequent route connecting it, via Parham Road, to Broad Street. With VCU buying a 234,000-square-foot building out that way and the County hinting at denser development around the intersection, there is a possibility we could see westward Pulse expansion in the not-too-distant future.
  2. One of the major complication with extending public transportation into a county dominated by decades of suburban landuse patterns is the lack of safe ways to walk to that improved bus service. Currently, it’s incredibly unsafe to cross Broad Street in the western parts of Henrico County, and it’s disappointing to read that VDOT will only consider building elevated pedestrian bridges in that area because of the heavy car traffic. That kind of infrastructure sounds expensive and, unfortunately, unlikely. By doing nothing at all, though, the message to bus riders here is that their safety is less important than car drivers’ convenience.


Two big transit success stories from across the country:

Today, Indianapolis will launch the Red Line, a 13-mile Bus Rapid Transit line with 10-minute headways and an all-electric bus fleet. Richmond’s BRT was the new hotness for the last year or so, but, there’s no doubt Indianapolis’s new system will now be all anyone’s talking about (well, anyone who spends time thinking and talking about cool transit infrastructure). Back in Richmond, we should ask ourselves what the next surprising, bold thing we could do as a mid-sized city with a lot of transportation momentum?

From Streetsblog: “Voters in Phoenix have soundly rejected a proposal that would have halted the expansion of the city’s light rail system—a proposition that had the backing of dark money linked to the notorious anti-transit Koch brothers.” Most transit referendums in recent memory, but not all (see Nashville), have passed in a big way, and it’s nice to see an anti-transit referendum fail similarly.

—Ross Catrow