Good morning, RVA! It's 30 °F, and today you can expect highs to stay below 50 °F—plus, wind!
Remember yesterday when I talked about Henrico releasing their budget and hoping they’d include money for meaningful, useful buses? Not some garbagey pilot program that wouldn’t help people get to jobs? Well, dang, y’all, I’m overjoyed and kind of amazed with what actually ended up in there. You better site down for this: Nights and weekends on three of the County’s major lines (the #7, #19, and #91) plus extending the #19 to Short Pump! This is big! With such a dramatic change, we’ve finally started to connect our region back together after decades of intentional segregation. I keep thinking about that map of affordable housing and modest-wage jobs put out by VCU’s Center for Urban and Regional Analysis (PDF, p. 2) and how these bus improvements will start to link those two things in a meaningful way. There’s still, of course, a ton of work left to be done, but as Mayor Stoney said on Twitter last night, this does a heckuva thing to push the region forward and for regionalism in general. The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Michael O’Connor has all the details (including some non-transit notes).
Somehow, over the weekend, I missed this piece from Ned Oliver in the RTD about which and how many Richmond families decide to send their children to Richmond Public Schools (or even have that choice available to them in the first place). Note the mention of Elkhardt-Thompson Middle School on the South Side, how it’s overcrowded, and how it relies on trailer classrooms. From the shadows, you hear a spooky whisper... rezooooooning, reeeeeeezooooooning.
If you’re into it, I put the first City Council budget work session up on The Boring Show. It’s almost five hours long, but oh so interesting—I promise! If you want the quick-and-dirty, I guess you can look through the slides (available at the above link) given to Council instead of listening to the entire presentations.
Today is #NationalSchoolWalkout, the first of three planned student-led protests against gun violence. At 10:00 AM students across the nation will leave their classrooms for 17 minutes in memory of the 17 students who were murdered in the Parkland mass shooting. Vox has an explainer of the protest, and, locally, Marc Cheatham at the Cheats Movement has an interview with Douglas Freeman High School organizer Maxwell Nardi.
Edwin Slipek takes the planned development at 805 W. Cary Street—aka the Borg Cube—to task in this article for Style Weekly. I mean, dang: “Exterior cladding would include pre-fabricated black panels punctuated with an awkward mansard roof and weird projecting balconies. The discombobulated elements comprise the architectural equivalent of a hoochie-coochie dancer doing the shimmy.” It’s hard for me to argue against density because a thing looks like an oppressive monolith, but compare this project to how the proposed development on Brookland Park Boulevard at least attempts to echo the old church it’s replacing.
The James River Film Festival is ongoing, and Style Weekly’s Brent Baldwin has a Q&A with some of the folks involved.
And finally from the RTD, Colleen Curran has a first-look at the exhibits you’ll find in the ICA. If you’re extremely spoiler-adverse, you may want to avoid this piece for now!
Oh, hey, this weekend, City Stadium will host it’s first-ever women’s professional soccer match. The Washington Spirit will take on the North Carolina Courage at 7:00 PM on Saturday. You can get your tickets online.
- #8 Hokies face the #9 Alabama Tide tonight at 9:20 PM on TNT.
This morning's longread
We’ve got our own neighborhoods in Richmond that were destroyed by Urban Renewal: Jackson Ward, Fulton, Byrd Park, and others. Look around the region at our highways, and underneath them you’ll find the remains of what used to be thriving neighborhoods populated by people of color.
The program gives down payment assistance to first-time homeowners who were displaced, or at risk of displacement, from the city’s north and north-east neighborhoods because of urban renewal; it falls under a city plan that delegates how $20m will be spent on affordable housing, in an effort to atone for the sins of gentrification. Last fall, the housing bureau received some 1,100 applications for the policy. With enough funds to subsidize 65 households, the bureau has so far succeeded in moving five families, including Causey, into their new homes. Forty-eight applications are in the pipeline to becoming mortgage-ready. And in February, under the preference policy, hundreds applied for rent-subsidized apartments in two buildings in north-east Portland, slated to open this year.
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