Once upon a time I ran a news site, now I just have opinions on the news. 

Good morning, RVA: BIKE SHARE, human life, and a tunnel under Ashland

Good morning, RVA! It's 68 °F. It’s raining, and it’s probably going to rain for most of the day. While this means highs will stay below 70 °F, it also means a soppy, dreary Tuesday. Positives and negatives, y’all!

Water cooler

Richmond’s bike share opens today! To get biking, you can sign up for a membership over on the website, RVABikes.com, or you can download the app on app store of your choosing. Bike share is great for short trips around town when you don’t want to walk or drive or don’t already have a bike handy. A couple example trips to get you thinking: You work downtown but have a meeting at Lamplighter (Morris Street, don’t wrong Lamplighter yourself); You live near the Science Museum and need to grab some beers at the Broad Street Kroger before The Big Game; You and your pals are going on a brewery crawl! Bike share is just one tool for getting around town without a car, and as the system expands the more useful it becomes. With Phase 1 in the bag, onward to the Phase 2 expansion!

Naomi Benoit, the woman who was hit by a car while crossing Broad Street at 8th, has died. How can the City use this tragedy to study what makes that intersection unsafe—now deadly? Should we shrug our shoulders and move on? Or should engineers and planners work to make changes in the infrastructure there to prevent something like this from happening again? To quote Twitter user @mikeboos, “Infrastructure is only limited when we set other priorities above human life, which today are things like traffic flow or cost.”

Michael Paul Williams weighs in on Paul Goldman’s ballot referendum. I’d like to personally high five this quote: “Nothing — including a tax hike — should be off the table if this is a serious effort. Anything else is too political and invites cynicism.” The very fact that this referendum prohibits the use of new taxes—of any sort—to fund a decades-old backlog of school facility maintenance should make everyone super skeptical.

I am surprised that the State will consider a billion dollar tunnel under Ashland to avoid running high-speed rail through some folks’ backyards. Michael O’Connor at the RTD has more details on allllll the options on the table for the town. At some point soon, the Federal Railroad Administration will swoop in and have the final say on how the trains will get through Ashland. Stay tuned.

The New York Times did some before-and-after-Amazon price comparisons at Whole Foods.


  • Squirrels fell to Altoona last night, 2-1. Assuming things dry out, they’ll try again tonight at 6:35 PM. Tickets are available online.
  • Nats mashed the Marlins, 11-2. That series continues tonight at 7:05 PM.

This morning's longread

Did This Book Buy Its Way Onto The New York Times Bestseller List?

Listen, I don’t know anything about the Young Adult Publishing Scene, and I can’t speak to the veracity of this piece, but man was it fascinating. There’s even a special guest appearance by Thomas Ian Nicholas, the guy who played Henry Rowengartner in Rookie of the Year!

Nowadays, you can make the bestseller list with about 5,000 sales. That’s not the heights of publishing’s heyday but it’s still harder to get than you’d think. Some publishers spend thousands of dollars on advertising and blogger outreach to get that number. Everyone’s looking for the next big thing and that costs a lot of cash. For the past 25 weeks, that big book in the YA world has been The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, a searing politically charged drama about a young black girl who sees a police officer kill her friend, and the fallout it causes in her community. Through publisher buzz and exceedingly strong word of mouth, the novel has stormed to the forefront of the YA world and found thousands of fans, with a film on the way. Knocking that from the top of the NYT YA list would be a major deal, and this week it’s going to happen. But something’s not right.

Good morning, RVA: Violence, power, and empathy

Good morning, RVA: Flooding in Houston, a stack of monument news, and affordable housing in Chesterfield