Floyd Bike Boulevard Update

28 Oct

As noted in yesterday’s post, the Floyd Avenue bike boulevard project is up for a vote at this evening’s city council meeting (6 pm, city council chambers).  Word is that the resolution has been moved from the consent agenda to the regular agenda.  This suggests that there is significant risk that it could be voted down.  According to an article in today’s RTD, this would effectively kill the project before we even know what it would look like.  (Richmond.com’s Phil Riggan also has a very informative piece on the project here).

So we really really need residents of the Fan and Museum District to come out and express support.  The RTD piece provides evidence that shrill voices in opposition to something new get attention: one of the residents quoted in the piece is critical of the project because she believes that bikes hitting cars is a big problem and that cyclists should be required to have driver’s licenses and insurance.  Even if you were to grant some credence to those ideas, they are not an argument against making things safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Talking Points

That said, I think the best strategy for us is to not be shrill, but make reasonable points.  Here are key talking points for tonight’s discussion:

• Approving this resolution does not make the Floyd Ave. bike boulevard a done deal.  It just allows the city to pursue funding to do the project if the public supports it once the preliminary designs are presented next year.  The project will still not proceed if the community is against it.  Concerns about traffic volume on adjacent streets, access for emergency vehicles, and others can and will be addressed in discussions about the preliminary design.  Tonight’s vote is not an approval of the project per se, but simply will allow it to proceed if it is supported.  Why kill the project without full information?

• City council has previously expressed support for making the city more bicycle friendly.  This kind of infrastructure (bicycle boulevard) has many significant advantages: it makes the street safer for residents as well as those traveling through by bike, by foot, or by car; it will likely boost property values (most bike infrastructure projects do) by making the street safer and more attractive; it will likely reduce overall traffic and air pollution in the Fan by helping to increase the use of bicycles as transportation; it will show those who visit or see Richmond on television during the UCI races in 2015 that the city takes bicycling seriously.

Again, it’s vital that constituents of Charles Samuels, Parker Agelasto, and Jonathan Baliles, especially those who live on and around Floyd, let them know they’re behind this.  Thanks for your help!!

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