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

Good morning, RVA: Pedestrian deaths, a budget work session, and a horse barn

Good morning, RVA! It's 41 °F, and today’s highs should peak around the mid 50s. Keep an eye on Wednesday—at the moment there’s a chance for nontrivial snow!

Water cooler

Ali Rockett at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a feature on the region’s pedestrian deaths and its Vision Zero efforts. This is a sad article about preventable deaths and how far we have left to go to change the mindset of those charged with protecting everyone who uses our streets. Here’s a quote from the person leading Richmond Police’s crash team: “There is this belief, and I don’t know where it came from, that pedestrians have the right of way — that’s not true...’No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic.’” That last bit comes from § 46.2-924 of the Code of Virginia. Where does this wild idea that pedestrians have the right away come from? Idk, maybe from the very next sentence of the code? It says: “The drivers of vehicles entering, crossing, or turning at intersections shall change their course, slow down, or stop if necessary to permit pedestrians to cross such intersections safely and expeditiously.” While I am not a lawyer or a legislator, I sure as heck am a human who walks around our City, and it does not make me feel safe that our police department prefers to protect people driving cars over people crossing streets on foot. Anyway, read a bit further in the article for a recap of the consternation felt toward the recent VisionZero process and the disappointment with the mayor’s lack of support for the final product in his proposed budget.

Meanwhile, a person was hit and killed in Henrico near the Wawa while crossing Brook Road this past Saturday. This portion of Brook Road is poorly-lit, lacks good sidewalk infrastructure, and is designed for speeds more like what’s found on a 6-lane highway.

City Council will hold their second budget work session today beginning at 9:00 AM (you can listen to the first by subscribing to the Boring Show). On the agenda to make the case for their continued existence today: Public Works (parking & fleet); Information Technology; Richmond Capital Improvements; and Council’s Attorney, Clerk, and Chief of Staff. Then, after lunch, they’ll hear amendment proposals for all the folks who previously presented. Last week, mostly due to Councilmember Newbille’s excellent direction, Council stayed on task and got through the entirety of their ambitious schedule. Good luck on today’s similarly ambitious agenda!

Mike Platania at Richmond BizSense follows up on the possible demolition of the Intermediate Terminal Building I talked about last week. I keep trying to figure out if I think this building, which is almost 100-years-old, is worth saving or if whatever Stone puts up in its place will just be a million times better. I haven’t decided yet, but am leaning toward the latter!

It wouldn’t be a Good Morning, RVA with out some of that sweet, sweet zoning and rezoning news. Jonathan Spiers, also at BizSense, says Planning Commission will meet today to consider rezoning a chunk of Hull Street to allow for more density and less parking. Also if you want to see what the proposed Richmond Police Equestrian Center will look like, I’ve got a PDF for you. Unsurprisingly, it looks like a barn for horses.

Read this Ezra Kline piece at Vox on this weekend’s firing of FBI Director Andrew McCabe to learn a few things and get some context.


  • Kickers fell to Bethlehem Steel FC, 1-4. Regular-season soccer is back!

This morning's longread

When Twenty-Six Thousand Stinkbugs Invade Your Home

Kathyrn Schulz, one of my favorite writers, is back with this very interesting, sometimes gross piece about how stinkbugs are changing America.

“It was like a horror movie,” Stone recalled. She and Zimmerman fetched two brooms and started sweeping down the walls. Pre-stinkbug crisis, the couple had been unwinding after work (she is an actress, comedian, and horse trainer; he is a horticulturist), and were notably underdressed, in tank tops and boxers, for undertaking a full-scale extermination. The stinkbugs, attracted to warmth, kept thwacking into their bodies as they worked. Stone and Zimmerman didn’t dare kill them—the stink for which stinkbugs are named is released when you crush them—so they periodically threw the accumulated heaps back outside, only to realize that, every time they opened the doors to do so, more stinkbugs flew in. It took them forty-five minutes to clean the place, at which point, exhausted, they dropped into bed and switched off the lights. Moments later, something went barrelling across the room, sounding, as stinkbugs do, like an angry and overweight wasp. The couple jumped up and turned the lights back on. Looking for the stray bug, Stone pulled a painting off the wall and turned it around; dozens of stinkbugs covered the back. She opened a drawer of the dresser: dozens more. That’s when she and Zimmerman realized that they were going to have to treat their bedroom “like a hazmat situation.”

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Good morning, RVA: A new policy advisor, another budget session, and some training camp ideas

Good morning, RVA: Violence, walkout recaps, and a GA special session