Good News for Cyclists

7 Apr
A cycle track in Portland, Oregon.  Richmond could see something like this downtown in the near future.  (Image from Treehugger.com)

A cycle track in Portland, Oregon. Richmond could see something like this downtown in the near future. (Image from Treehugger.com)

A bit of catching up on 4 pieces of good bike-related news that came out in the last week or so…!

• Today’s RTD includes an opinion piece by Mayor Jones announcing the Richmond Strategic Multimodal Transportation Plan.  It’s encouraging that Jones mentions two significant bicycle infrastructure projects included in the plan: a cycle track downtown and a bicycle boulevard (probably in the Fan).

This coming Thursday, 4/11, will be the final public forum where you can get more information and weigh in.  It will be 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the VDOT auditorium, 1221 E. Broad Street.  Here is a link to the plan so that you can look it over before arriving.  You can also submit input via the site.  Either way, even if you don’t come up with specific suggestions, just letting the city know you support this effort to expand transportation possibilities in the city (especially for bicycling, of course) is important.

• The RTD also reported this week that the Richmond Area Metropolitan Planning Organization adopted a six-year plan that includes, along with the usual road-widening and similar projects, money for “coordinating traffic signals and pedestrian crossings at the foot of the new Huguenot Bridge at River Road near the University of Richmond, and $1 million to begin developing a citywide bike-sharing system.”  There have been concerns about the situation for cyclists coming off the new Huguenot Bridge, so hopefully this will help with that.  And a bike-share system for the city sounds great — assuming we’re really moving forward with the cycle tracks and other places for people to ride those rented bikes.

• The third big piece of news from the city was the announcement of an event coming up in late June called RVA Streets Alive!  The city is partnering with Sports Backers to finally have a large-scale ciclovia-style event in Richmond (though I’ve heard there will be some closed streets devoted to cycling and other non-motorized ways of getting around on Earth Day).  Lanes of the Mayo and Manchester Bridges, along with parts of Hull Street, Commerce Avenue, and Byrd Street will be closed to make a loop.  Apparently there will be various activities, booths, and other attractions along the route as well.

My first reaction to the route was, “Hmmm.”  Previous conversations about this kind of event envisioned closing off streets with more businesses — like Cary Street from Nansemond down to the Bottom.  After I thought a bit about it, the route does have the advantage of promoting the idea that we need bicycle-friendly bridges.  The Manchester Bridge in particular is shouting for a diet — two lanes in each direction is more than enough to handle the volume.

• The final news was an RVA News profile of Parker Angelasto, the new council representative for the district formerly represented by Marty Jewell.  It did not come as a surprise to me since I’ve seen Angelasto at some cycling-related events and know he’s been working on an ordinance to deal with “dead bikes,” but it’s nevertheless encouraging to see bicycling highlighted among his interests.

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