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

Good morning, RVA: Buses, bikes, and Murphy

Good morning, RVA! It's 27 °F, and highs today will be in the mid 40s. There's a pretty strong chance for a bit of snow beginning late tonight / early tomorrow and continuing through tomorrow afternoon. I don't think you should expect major accumulation.

Water cooler

Big public transportation news over the weekend! Michael O'Connor at the Richmond Times-Dispatch was at Henrico County's two-day retreat and reports that three of the five supervisors support extending GRTC service to Short Pump, like, ASAP. No, seriously, this could be a reality in the very short term: County Manager John Vithoulkas said "that staff would prepare a budget for the upcoming fiscal year that includes GRTC exentsion to Short Pump." Check out the presentation given by the Henrico Department of Public Works (PDF) to see some of the costs associated with a couple different service improvements in the County (for example, it'll cost an additional $3.4 million per year to provide nights and weekend service—did you know there's currently no bus service on the weekends in Henrico?). Michael Paul Williams talks about what our lack of regional transit means from a Civil Riights perspective (it's not good). Predictably, the RTD editorial board is against expanding bus service and for continuing to segregate our region through a lack of access. They also incorrectly state that the new planned service to the airport will cost $1.24 million when in fact it will cost a total of zero dollars, but whatever. Finally, here's a Twitter thread I put together over the weekend with some of my responses to common arguments against extending bus service to Short Pump.

While we're talking transportation, Bike Walk RVA has a survey up about where we should put the second round of bike share stations. Check out the list of factors the Department of Public Works uses when deciding a station location, and then make your own decision! But, first, I'd like to add an additional factor for you to consider: Equity. If that particular topic interests you, check out this study on Bringing Equitable Bike Share to Bed-Stuy (PDF).

While we're talking about equity, I did want to point out Governor Northam's very first Executive Order: Executive Order Number One, Equal Opportunity (PDF). To quote briefly, "State appointing authorities and other management principals are hereby directed to take affirmative measures, as determined by the Director of the Department of Human Resource Management, to emphasize the recruitment of qualified minorities, women, disabled persons, and older Virginians to serve at all levels of state government."

RVA Mag has some photos from the inaugural weekend.

Fine. I will link to this piece in Richmond Magazine by Tina Eshleman about the new governor's dog, Murphy.

Don't let folks tell you it's too expensive to change the names of schools named after Confederate generals. In Petersburg, the school system received a $20,000 donation to cover the change, Vanessa Remmers reports.

The City's Planning Commission and Land Use, Housing and Transportation Committee both meet today. An interesting/nerdy item from the latter's agenda: RES. 2018-R002 would request a study on updating the zoning ordinance to require buried power lines.

This morning's Patron longread

Inside One of America’s Last Pencil Factories

From Patron Sam comes this photo essay of a pencil factory that I find very satisfying.

Other parts of the factory are eruptions of color. Red pencils wait, in orderly grids, to be dipped into bright blue paint. A worker named Maria matches the color of her shirt and nail polish to the shade of the pastel cores being manufactured each week. One of the company’s signature products, white pastels, have to be made in a dedicated machine, separated from every other color. At the tipping machine, a whirlpool of pink erasers twists, supervised patiently by a woman wearing a bindi.

If you’d like your longread to show up here, go chip in a couple bucks on the ol’ Patreon.

Good morning, RVA: SNOW!, a poem, and metal

Good morning, RVA: New gov, new names, and a new director