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

Good morning, RVA: Coliseum thoughts, a scooter research project, and an East End staple

Good morning, RVA! It's 56 °F, and temperatures will stick right where there are for most of the day. Seems like a reasonable fall day on deck.

Water cooler

Well, I finally read through the entire 181-page coliseum redevelopment proposal PDF—which I’ve been asked to remind you is not a PDF of the actual proposal, but, instead, a PDF of the 3rd-party analysis of the proposal by Hunden Strategic Partners. Again, you can read through most of the interesting thoughts I had in this Twitter thread, but I am still stewing on at least three things. First, this PDF is not a description of the financial agreement that will make the project work. If you’re expecting specific details about the TIF, interest rates, debt repayment schedules, that kind of thing, you will be disappointed. And to be clear, this is information that folks definitely need to see (even if it’s boring and complicated)! Second, the Convention Center gets a heckuva deal: A new hotel, preferred booking rights in that hotel, access to additional space in the Blues Armory, and, correct me if I’m wrong, they’ll get the entirety of any new lodging taxes create by the project (PDF). I’ll be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about the convention and hotel business, but the arguments and charts and tables laid out in the Hunden PDF didn’t do it for me. Third, there’s almost no analysis of the GRTC Transfer Center. I’ve said before that the need for humane facilities for bus riders is super important, but the need for a single, massive downtown transfer point (several blocks off of Broad Street) is not pressing. Currently, buses do, however, need a spot to congregate in the evening, but I will be upset about a vast many other things if in 30 years (the length of this particular analysis) we haven’t improved bus service to obviate the need for an evening transfer point. If you’d like to weigh in on any of these topics or any other, the developer has scheduled a bunch of public engagement sessions. Interestingly, the last engagement session takes place several days after the final City Council meeting of the year, which I think says something about the timeline we’re working with.

The Urban Design Committee will meet today with a few interesting things on their agenda. Check out this pedestrian improvement and traffic calming project at the intersection of Shafer and Franklin (PDF). Although I’m not a super huge fan of brick crosswalks, this looks like it would slow traffic, improve visibility, and shorten the crossing distances for pedestrians. Tons of humans, VCU and otherwise, cross this intersection on the way to and from the Pulse station up on Broad Street. Speaking of, UDC will also look at streetscape improvements that were funded as part of the Pulse project. More details are theoretically contained within this PDF (PDF), but it was too big to open on my iPad, so I guess we’ll never know? Most exciting, again, theoretically because I can’t really look at the dang PDF, is the planned closure of a bunch of curb cuts. Finally, here are the conceptual “location, character, and extent review” for the new middle school (PDF) and new elementary school (PDF) that the meals tax increase bought us.

One quick scooter note: Charlottesville passed their scooter ordinance and will only require a flat, $500 fee. Richmond’s ordinance (currently in committee limbo land) would require a $400 fee per vehicle. I haven’t done the research, but I’m pretty sure Richmond’s proposed fee would be an order of magnitude greater than anywhere else in America. In fact, if anyone wants to go pull a bunch of scooter fees from Richmond’s peer cities, I will commit to getting that data in front of Council. To get you started, here’s a list of Richmond’s peer cities that I’ve pulled from a couple different sources.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s C. Suarez Rojas has look into why and how Republican Dan Schmitt won the Brookland District special election in Henrico 💸. I disagree with Bob Holsworth, who seems to be the only political analyst that anyone ever talks to and, may, in fact, be the only political analyst left alive in all the land! Seriously, everyone talks to him. Anyway, despite Spanberger’s incredible victory in that district, this election was always going to be about Courtney Lynch’s disruptive time on the Board, and I think any Democrat would have had a hard time winning. All a Republican had to do was promise no political drama—which is exactly what Schmitt did.

Eileen Mellon at Richmond Magazine says that Church Hill Staple, Chef Lee Gregory, will leave The Roosevelt to focus on his new spot, Alewife. It’s wild that the Roosevelt has been around for eight years—here’s to eight more!

This morning's longread

Let’s Talk About Sex Scenes

Sex scene counselors are something that seems obvious now that I think about it, but, until I read this, totally hadn’t even considered.

It is something of a happy ending (try not to) that the women who have faced exploitation for so long are now the ones providing a corrective. “If you haven’t experienced that vulnerability, it’s not even in your thoughts,” explains O’Brien, adding, “people are embarrassed and don’t know how to deal with it and so avoid it.” She has worked for Netflix, Amazon and HBO and says that the time constraints with film and television and the unclear rehearsal process make planning sex scenes harder than in theater, where there is more room for exploration. But some general rules apply at all times: having gender balance on set when a woman is performing, training actors to speak up when they feel uncomfortable — “I say your no is a gift, because then your fellow actor and the director can trust your yes,” explains O’Brien — and the capacity to stop if it all gets too intense.

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Good morning, RVA: Equitable access to services, the Richmond Marathon, and Veterans Day

Good morning, RVA: Election results, ballpark improvements, and the Urban Hang Suite