AROUND THE REGION
It’s budget season around the region! Richmond’s Mayor Levar Stoney announced his proposed budget which included a $965,000 increase in GRTC’s operating budget for “increased service and route frequency to those communities that need it the most.” You can read the Mayor’s remarks here (PDF) and dig into the full budget here (PDF). Chesterfield’s proposed budget is also available, and while it does not allocate resources for additional public transportation, it does restate their commitment to study bringing some sort of transportation to the Route 1 corridor. You can read that document in full here (PDF). Henrico County’s budget should be available later this week.
More money for more bus service means a need for more bus operators and mechanics! GRTC is in the midst of a Spring Hiring Blitz, so if you’ve ever wanted a job with a transit agency, now is your chance.
Oh, also! If you missed Mayorathon, you can now watch the entire thing over on Richmond Magazine’s website. Make sure you watch all the way through until the end for the Mayor’s answer to a good question about land use.
Boston’s mayor has rolled out a stack of proposed transportation initiatives that we could learn from here in Richmond: Expanding student bus passes to middle school students, lowering speed limits on neighborhood streets to 20 miles per hour, focusing on speeding up some of the highest ridership bus routes, and adding designated Uber/Lyft drop off spots near dining and nightlife. Excellent ideas all around! You can easily imaging taking a few parking spaces near Cary & Robinson to install ride-hailing dropoffs, reducing some of the dangerous double parking that goes on nearby.
GQ has a great and breezy story about why folks might choose—willingly!—to take public transportation instead of driving. From the article: “If we build public transportation to be the cheaper, more convenient, more accessible, and better-for-watching-a-movie-on-my-smartphone-until-my-stop option, it may very well become the preference of almost everyone else too.”
Here’s an interesting study out of Cleveland that looks at how adding transit service to a neighborhood (census tract, really) resulted in a 12% drop in poverty over the span of a decade.