2nd Street Connector: A Lost Opportunity?

1 Nov

The 2nd Street connector, which apparently is now under construction, has been controversial for a number of reasons.  It has been portrayed as a project whose main goal is to shorten the commute of Dominion employees by a couple of minutes.  It has also been criticized for damage to a brick wall that is part of the historic canal.  A lot of the discussion has been on the Oregon Hill neighborhood site here.

A less-noted problem is that the extension has no bicycle lanes or other accommodations, and a sidewalk on only one side.  A recent letter to the editor of the RTD raised this issue:

As I biked home recently and saw the Second Street connector road under construction, I pondered the design, which calls for two narrow travel lanes and a sidewalk on only one side of the road. This road will connect Second Street just north of the Lee Bridge to Tredegar Street and descends at an extremely steep grade.

The lack of an uphill bike lane and sidewalks will increase delays for motorists and compromise safety for everyone. This new road is in the middle of the city and immediately adjacent to Belle Isle, the Canal Walk and the James River Park System — some of the most popular places to walk, run and bike in the city. For even more evidence that a sidewalk on both sides of the street is needed, look no further than Tredegar Street itself, which lacks a sidewalk on the north side and has a worn dirt path there instead. Fixing this is one of the recommendations in the new Riverfront Plan. What about the thousands of pedestrians who descend this hill to attend the Folk Festival?

Dominion employees will probably have the most time to ponder the road design as they wait behind bicyclists traveling uphill at 5 mph, a problem that would have been easily avoided by adding a mere 5-foot bike lane. It is always more expensive to retrofit a road than to build new, so please, Richmond, let’s stop being pennywise and pound foolish.

John Bolecek.

Hard to see why this street would not be designed as really pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.  Hope this is not a precedent for future new street projects in the city.


One Response to “2nd Street Connector: A Lost Opportunity?”

  1. james November 2, 2012 at 1:41 AM #

    Man, that sucks. Dozens of cyclists ride down there, so why not keep them in mind? I will just ride in the street in that case, so you’re right, the buses will lose that time anyway because I’ll be right in the middle of the road. I have a road bike and I really have to finagle my way to the island and Tredegar. Going down 5th street is kind of a hassle especially when I just want to come from Oregon Hill or anywhere that isn’t downtown. 5th is out of the way and was a terrible mess for the Folk Fest. I just took off my shoes and walked across the grassy fields to get everywhere. So much for roads.

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