Your Input is Needed

6 Jun

I posted last week about the public input session for the Varina section of the Virginia Capital Trail happening today.  It’s important that we reaffirm the necessity that this section – like all of the others – be a separated trail rather than a widened shoulder.  The email I provided last time (in case you would like to send VDOT your input but cannot make the meeting is different from the most recent one provided in a message from the Capital Trail Foundation.  So, send your thoughts to: richmondinfo@vdot.virginia.gov and reference “Virginia Capital Trail” in the subject line.

Another, perhaps even more important public input session is also occurring today (sorry for the late notice – I’m actually writing this from California!) on the Richmond Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s draft 2035 transportation plan.  If you’re able to get there quickly, there’s a public information session today (6/6) from 5-8 p.m. at the Richmond Regional Planning Commission’s offices, 9211 Forest Hill Ave., Suite 200.  In this case too, if you cannot make the meeting you can read the plan online (there is a separate chapter on bicycle and pedestrian transportation) and submit comments to the following email address: MPOPublicComment@richmondregional.org.  Comments will be accepted until June 10.

I’m afraid I only read the bike-ped chapter at this point.  But I know how well that fares is always related to the broader approach and priorities, so I’m planning to look at at least some of the other chapters on transit and roads.  The chapter on bike-ped says a lot of things that sound good to someone who favors these things; on the other hand there is not all that much in the way of detail, and then there are the issues of follow-through and funding.  It’s always hard to say how much of this kind of thing is lip service and how much is serious.

For my part I think it would make a lot of sense for the state to dedicate a percentage of transportation funding to bike-ped.  Another issue that needs to be addressed is the fact that municipalities interested in doing road diets (reducing the number of travel lanes on overbuilt roads) for the sake of traffic calming and making room for bike-ped accommodations have a big disincentive to do so: reducing the number of “lane miles” on their roads means they’ll get less state money for maintenance.  This is not something the Richmond region alone can change, but it would be worth lobbying for.

I’d be interested to know what others think of the plan, and I’ll try to read further and post again in the next couple of days.

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