Good morning, RVA! It's 45 °F, and it only gets colder from here! Make sure you wrap your pipes or whatever, because temperatures drop below freezing tonight for the first time in a long while.
Vision Zero and pedestrian and bike safety continue to occupy a significant portion of my thoughts. Last night, a driver killed a pedestrian in Henrico County near Reynolds Community College. And then, in the City, a man on a bike was hit by a driver at the intersection of North Avenue and Laburnum Avenue and taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Yesterday, atop City Hall, Mayor Stoney announced the redevelopment plan for a many-block area surrounding the Coliseum. Well, technically, he announced the release of an Request for Proposals for the "North of Broad/Downtown Neighborhood Redevelopment Project" (PDF). Some highlights and thoughts from the RFP:
- The project area stretches from 5th to 10th and from Marshall to Leigh, and includes the Coliseum, the Blues Armory, the Courthouse and it's massive surface-level parking lot, the Department of Social Services building, and the Public Safety building. This is a big, mostly crappy stretch of downtown filled with big, mostly crappy buildings. To redevelop the street grid, build things on a more human scale, and recreate an actual downtown neighborhood would be big (and not crappy at all).
- The City will not be responsible for any debt issued to fund this project. They will consider creating a TIF ("if needed," the Mayor emphasized) or some other sort of tax zone. I'm not smart enough to understand "the economy," but I like, out of the gate, that we're trying to avoid using public money for shiny projects.
- The City wants to see these things included in any proposal: A new arena, a Convention Center hotel, something sweet done with the Blues Armory building, repurposing of the City-owned sites, some affordable housing, parking, and a new GRTC transfer station. That last one I'm particularly interested in! We desperately need a new, appropriately-sized transfer center and to get one without having to dip into transit money would fill me with joy.
- Completed responses are due to the City by February 9th! Whoa dang, that's a quick turnaround.
I am really excited to see these proposal PDFs!
Michael Paul Williams talks to two newly-elected, local women: Courtney Lynch (Henrico Board of Supervisors) and Kenya Gibson (Richmond School Board). I'm stoked to see the former's impact on the long-conservative Henrico Board. And I'm looking forward to the latter diving in on the six million plates the School Board has spinning at the moment. It's an interesting and exciting time in local politics! Good luck to our new leaders!
Michael O'Connor at the RTD says the state will recommend a "3-2-3 rail option" for high-speed rail in Ashland. Instead of deciding whether to run another track through downtown or to eminent domain away some Hanoverians' property west of town to make room for a bypass, they punted on the decision. I didn't even know that that was an option! The obvious question: What impact will this reduction of tracks have on high-speed passenger service to and from D.C.? I'll look into it and get back to you.
The Richmond Marathon takes place on Saturday! I love this thing, and staking out a piece of sidewalk to cheer on runners was a highlight of my 2016. The Richmond Police have maps and a (totally daunting) list of all street closures. It can be challenging to make your way across the city, so plan ahead!
Two mega stories dropped yesterday accusing powerful men of sexual assault. The first, from the Washington Post: "Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32." The second, from the New York Times: "Louis C.K. Is Accused of Sexual Misconduct by 5 Women." Almost everyone woman you know probably has a story just like this. Believe them when they talk about it.
- Rams open their season tonight against Grambling State at 7:00 PM.
- Spiders (roundball) welcome Delaware to the Robins Center at 7:00 PM.
- Hokies (roundball), no joke, face "Detroit Mercy" at 6:00 PM.
- Wahoos (roundball) and UNC Greensboro tip off at 7:00 PM.
- Spiders head west to take on the #1 James Madison Dukes on Saturday at 3:30 PM.
- Hokies will grapple with Georgia Tech at 12:20 PM on Saturday.
- Wahoos look to take down Louisville at 3:30 PM, also on Saturday.
- Washington will host the Vikings on Sunday at 1:00 PM.
This morning's longread
This is one of things that, as I was reading it, I didn't want to end.
The Fancy Food Show is a twice-a-year occurrence, winters in San Francisco and summers in New York. In both cities, the scene is the same: a vast concrete plain where rows of booths stretch to the horizon under a fluorescent sun, each dedicated to a single, niche, specialty food item or brand, each handing out samples. It’s like visiting 5.8 Costcos, but just the samples. Really good samples. Rich wedding samples. There are little cups filled with Iberian charcuterie or Maine lobster, cubes of Wagyu beef flown in from Japan, a global variety of chocolatiers and cheesemongers, all competing for just a corner of your stomach. An energetic young man offers passersby calamansi juice cocktails, which is like lemonade if lemons tasted even better. There are crackers made out of quinoa, pasta made out of quinoa, and crackers made out of pasta. Even if you could eat an infinite amount of food, you could not walk fast enough to try everything before you collapsed in exhaustion, felled by a thousand bites.