Nov 28, 2023 - News

Sidewalks top Richmond's transportation wishlist

Illustration of a pedestrian crosswalk sign showing a dull icon of a hand indicating "stop" and a lit up and glowing icon of a handshake.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

The people have spoken, and they want more sidewalks.

What's happening: Richmond released a draft of its two-years-in-the-making transportation action plan, Richmond Connects.

  • Repairing and filling gaps in the city's network of sidewalks — especially in low-income areas that have been ignored — topped the list of more than 100 recommended action items.

Why it matters: The plan draws on feedback from more than 20,000 residents who took surveys and joined town halls with the aim of elevating voices harmed by past planning decisions, per city officials.

  • It will guide transportation improvements in the city for a decade to come.

The big picture: The recommendations cover everything from small streetscape improvements, like better lighting in Church Hill, to major undertakings, such as the extending the Pulse's eastern terminus to the airport.

It also proposes an array of small steps and demonstrations, such as testing out a car-free Carytown via temporary weekend street closures.

  • Other ideas: Adding protected bike lanes to Monument Avenue, increasing the frequency of key GRTC routes, and establishing a park and ride at Willow Lawn.

Reality check: None of the projects flagged will move forward without signoff from the mayor and city council.

  • For instance, addressing the city's sidewalk needs will require city leaders to increase annual funding. To extend the Pulse to the airport, officials would first need to order a detailed planning study.

What's next: The plan is still at the draft stage and officials are accepting feedback through Dec. 5.

Of note: On Monday the city kicked off $1.2 million worth of pedestrian and street improvements in Scott's Addition.

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