A week ago, Chesterfield County released a draft of the Northern Jefferson Davis Special Area Plan (PDF), and there is a chance for public feedback next Wednesday, May 10th. This is a great opportunity to let Chesterfield County hear what kind of public transportation we want in that part of the county: Fixed-route, local service, every day of the week (aka plain ol' bus service provided by GRTC) from the City limits to John Tyler.
Unfortunately, the plan does not recommend that, and despite a heavy focus on pedestrian and bicycle improvements (hooray!), the plan makes almost no mention of public transportation. When it does, it offers these two options:
- Some form of Uber (boo!)
- BRT down Jeff Davis (yay!)
While the latter sounds great, the plan goes on to say that BRT is not something for now, but for the year 2040, and that county staff is working to "determine what types of service, if any, could be successfully implemented in the next 1-5 years."
In our opinion, the type of service that needs to be implemented in the short term is fixed-route, local service, every day of the week, from the City limits to John Tyler.
So! Put May 10th on your calendars. The county will host the meeting from 3:00 PM–7:00 PM at the Bensley Community Building (2900 Drewy's Bluff Road). You don't need to stay the entire time, just drop in whenever and let them know what you think. If you can't make the meeting, you can email your comments and thoughts to: email@example.com.
AROUND THE REGION
The Rev. Ben Campbell has an essay in Richmond Magazine about our work towards a truly regional transit system. It's important work, but it's work that's running way behind schedule. I was speaking to a group of very smart George Wythe High School students the other day, and when I showed them the state-approved map of what transportation should look like in the region by 2040, one student raised her hand and said, "What? That's what it should look like now!" I totally agree!
Jim Bacon over at Bacon's Rebellion writes about the success the City has had at luring major employers downtown. Bacon says, from a strictly market-driven perspective, that to attract employers and employees alike the region needs to build "more moderate density, more mixed-use development, more grid streets, more investment in streetscapes, and, where economically justified, more mass transit."
I had a chance to talk with Kelli Lemon this week on Coffee With Strangers. We covered a lot of ground, including the Pulse and the need for better public transit in the region. Also, where to get the best pickles in town!
Columbus, another city that hired Jarrett Walker to rejigger their transit network, just turned their system on this week. I love the idea that one night you flip a switch and, boom!, totally new system. As with any massive change, there's a learning curve. But it's nice to read about how other cities handle things as we approach our switch-flip moment later this year.