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

Good morning, RVA: Heat wave, Pulse ridership, and Council spending

Good morning, RVA! It's 77 °F, and today will be HOT—there’s even a heat advisory in effect from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM today. Temperatures will reach 100 °F, but the heat index could hit 107 °F. Brutal.

Water cooler

The ridership numbers for the first couple days of service for the Pulse are in, and whoa! Sunday through Wednesday (the only days for which GRTC has released ridership data at the moment), our new BRT saw tons of folks hop on board, obliterating goals and expectations. Goal: 3,500 daily riders. Actuals for Sunday–Wednesday: 6,240; 8,669; 7,968; and 7,877. I’m sure the newness of the thing and the week of free fares helped push those numbers up, but still! Dang! We’ll know more about regular ridership after this week, but keep in mind we’ve got a holiday on Wednesday, which will probably throw things off a bit. Now that the Pulse (and the redesigned bus network) are off and running, we can focus on the smaller things that will make day-to-day usage of the system better. The most immediate need, in my view, is that new spots across the City where many folks end up transferring between bus lines need benches, shelters, and trash cans. Then, for a great list of Pulse-specific recommendations, see this Twitter thread by @DFRSH757. I agree with #3, #4, and #6 a ton ! Safe pedestrian access to Pulse stations and strict enforcement of no-parking in the bus lane will be huge moving forward. P.S. All of those improvements I just mentioned are the responsibility of the City, not GRTC. So if you want to holler at someone, make sure it’s the right someone.

City Council will have a special meeting this evening to consider some expedited papers. First, the mayor will appoint four folks to the RMTA, which sound boring but could be important as the region starts to get its transportation act together. Second, they’ll look at two resolutions to update City Council’s reimbursement policy. These new resolutions will allow Council, in some cases, to reimburse itself for expenditures without requiring a resolution to do so (RES. 2018-R065) and will increase the threshold of those reimbursements from $1,000 to $5,000 (RES. 2018-R066). I’m not out here suggesting Council is trying to reduce transparency under the cover of night in an expedited special session—putting together an ordinance to approve the purchase of pizza for a meeting is most likely a tedious waste of time. But, like, what’s the rush? I swear, I do not fully grok this Council. Half the reason they delay or kill things is to continually do additional studies, get more information, and allow the community to further weigh in. Sometimes, though, stuff just zips right through. It’s fascinating.

There are certainly more, but here’s a list of some 4th of July events from Style Weekly—if you’re still looking for something to do on Wednesday.

Richmond Magazine has a Q&A with Michael Verner, a server at Hermitage—but you probably recognize him from a couple other spots. I have this mental list of really excellent, career servers around town, and Verner is definitely on that list!

Mexico has a new president, and you can learn more from the Washington Post.


  • Squirrels face Harrisburg tonight at 6:30 PM.
  • Kickers fell, 1-3, to North Carolina FC.
  • Nats start a new series against Boston tonight at 7:05 PM.

This morning's longread

America Is on the Verge of Ratpocalypse

Well, this seems bad.

Public health is not just a local issue, and neither is climate change. Researchers admit that it’s extremely difficult to study rats, but many are confident that if temperatures continue to rise, rat populations—and the problems that come with them—will continue to grow. “I personally feel there is a connection with climate change, just because of logic and the biology of rats’ reproductive cycle,” Corrigan said. “Global climate change fits into this discussion in some measurement. How much, I’m just not sure.” But the Trump administration doesn’t need to accept that climate change will make rodent infestations worse to step in and save the cities from their rats. As the administration has eliminated federal programs to fight climate change, cities have stepped up, aggressively funding their own efforts to slow carbon dioxide emissions. Cities are already fighting battles that shouldn’t be only theirs to fight. The least the federal government could do is chip in for some rat control.

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Good morning, RVA: Heat wave, monuments, and parking PDFs

Good morning, RVA: Brook Road bike lane thoughts, a meeting for justice, and the end of RVA Transit Week