This week in transit: "We deserve the same quality of life"


This week, the Richmond Times-Dispatch dug into Chesterfield County's Northern Jefferson Davis Special Area Plan. First, Vanessa Remmers covered the Planning Commission meeting where they discussed the newest draft of the plan—a draft that includes a recommendation to investigate running a historic replica trolley (a bus that looks like an old trolley) up and down Route 1. This idea comes from the Roanoke Star Line, which operates in a dense, downtown area and runs a much shorter route than the Jeff Davis Corridor. While it's encouraging to see some public transportation included in this plan, Route 1 needs hourly, local, fixed-route service provided by GRTC from the City limits to John Tyler. Luckily, Chesterfield, as co-owner of GRTC, has all of the resources available to provide this service in a high-quality and efficient way.

Next, Michael Paul Williams talked to Carrie Aus, one of the residents of the Jeff Davis Corridor who is leading the work to bring real public transportation to Chesterfield County. From the piece:

It shouldn’t take a feasibility study to demonstrate the need. All it takes is the spectacle of women toting groceries uphill along a busy highway on a steamy summer day. Holland’s proposal would address the immediate need of residents who would have enhanced access to groceries, prescription drugs, health care, a library and other county services.

Trolleys have their charm. But residents of the Jefferson Davis corridor need a practical and unpretentious solution to their stunted mobility. And they need it now.

Or as Aus said during that long, hot walk: "We deserve the same quality of life as anybody else in the county."

If you're a Chesterfield resident and would like to contact your Board of Supervisors representative about bringing public transportation to the County, you can do so here.

In BRT news, the first pieces of steel were installed at the eastbound Allison Street Pulse station (pictured above). Direct from the rendering to Broad Street! Now that you can kind of get a feel for the size and scope of these stations, I'm doubly excited to see them start springing up along the corridor.


For the next couple of weeks, this section of our wonderful weekly email will be provided by our new intern Zac. He'll be helping us with some research, planning, and writing—including, among other things, this!

As part of the city’s commitment to transit, Seattle is connecting its two streetcar lines, the South Lake Union and First Hill streetcars. The streetcar track will replace one lane in each direction as part of First Avenue’s focus on transit and walkability. It’s awesome to see a city converting so much of its downtown to transit friendly streets; Second Avenue now has dedicated bike lanes and Third Avenue is a transit corridor.

Raleigh is rolling out a multimodal redevelopment plan for two of its fastest growing areas, Cameron Village and Hillsborough Street. The hope is that providing transit options will lead to even more growth, and so far it seems to be working with one resident saying that the Cameron Village’s pedestrian friendliness was “one of the main reasons that I moved to this area.” Business owners are also excited about connecting the two areas because Hillsborough Street’s walkability has lead to an increase in customers and connecting it to Cameron Village will bring even more.

Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez has just come out in support of BRT over light rail. Last year, the county unveiled a $3.3 billion light rail plan, dubbed SMART (Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit). Mayor Gimenez wants to change most of the light rail in this plan to BRT. His reasons: the higher costs and longer build time of light rail.

If you'd like to support RVA Rapid Transit's work to bring a truly regional transit system to Richmond, consider picking up an awesome transit map T-shirt or making a tax-deductible donation.

—Ross Catrow