Why are we excited about transit in Richmond?

Our very own Nelson Reveley writing for the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Two key opportunities lie before us to join GRTC in taking our transit network and the access it affords to the next level. Our first bus rapid transit (BRT) line, the Pulse, will open in fall 2017, running along portions of Broad and Main like light rail on wheels. It will have 14 station stops, dedicated lanes in high-traffic areas, and frequent 10-15 minute service. The next step is leveraging the Pulse into a regional system, extending prosperously west to Short Pump, east to the airport, and north and south along the Rt. 1 corridor. While we need to consider the best avenue for dedicated funding, the Richmond Regional Transit Vision Plan, set for release this fall by the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, lays out where this transit network could generatively grow. Such a regional asset paired with complementary jurisdictional planning would raise property values, redevelopment and job opportunities along its corridors akin to the prosperity spurred around Cleveland’s successful BRT, the HealthLine.

A second critical opportunity before us is the Richmond Transit Network Plan (RTNP), set for release in January 2017. RTNP is analyzing three alternative ways to renew the city’s bus lines in the near-term — at no added operational cost to the city — so that they connect seamlessly with the Pulse and more efficiently overall. The most exciting and game-changing alternative is a high-frequency, high-ridership network that would provide 15-minute service for many parts of the city while maintaining good coverage throughout. Houston offers a valuable example of this kind of transformation. Houston rearranged its bus network in 2015 from hub-and-spoke to more of a grid, with higher frequency on key corridors and expanded weekend service. Despite a brief downtick as people adjusted, Houston’s transit ridership has grown 6.8 percent overall so far with a goal of 20 percent by fall 2017.

Read the full article here.