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

Good morning, RVA: Bike lane update, Coliseum redevelopment, and a Supreme Court nomination

Good morning, RVA! It's 62 °F, and highs today should stay in the 80s with plenty of sunshine to go along.

Water cooler

Police are reporting that Kevin V. Burks, 57, was hit and killed by a driver while riding his bike near the 5300 block of Hull Street Road. That portion of Hull Street has an inconsistent and patchy network sidewalks and certainly no bike lane to protect people on bikes.

Alix Bryan and Shelby Brown at WTVR have put together a good piece on the Brook Road bike lane which refutes a lot of the misinformation floating around out there. Councilmember Gray says she’ll continue the ordinance that prevents the bike lane (ORD. 2018-194) until the fall. I’ll keep an eye on the agenda to see if that’s actually the case; She said she’d withdraw the two ordinances prohibiting bus service on W. Grace Street after the bus routes were moved, but there those ordinances still sit.

Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch got his hands on some of the documents related to the redevelopment of the Coliseum and the several surrounding blocks 💸. You can also read for yourself some of the public information released by NH District, the group driving the whole thing. First, an important caveat: The City and NH District are right now in the midst of negotiations, and the info Robinson has dates from May 9th—I would guess at least some of the information has changes over the last two months. When the mayor first announced this project he said that while the City would not bear any of the associated debt, he would consider a TIF (tax increment financing) district. What’s a TIF? Basically you draw a box around a development (like the Coliseum) and dedicate any increase in tax revenue inside the box (that’s the increment) toward financing the borrowing capacity needed to build the project. The new news in the RTD piece is that NH District—and remember, Dominion’s Tom Farrell heads the group—wants to draw the TIF box to include the new Dominion towers down by the river. So you’d have any new tax revenue generated by these towers down by the river go towards supporting the development around the Coliseum. I guess, technically, this is not taking money from the City, but dang if it doesn’t feel like a violation of the spirit of a TIF. And so, for now, as a person who admittedly knows nothing about real estate development or financing, I remain in the “OK, I could be convinced” camp. While I think a lot of development around the Coliseum would happen regardless, some of the things proposed by NH District would not. The City has to weigh whether the cash from those Dominion towers and the rest of the TIF district over the next several decades is “worth more” than the theoretically cash generated from the entire North of Broad development. That’s a tough call to make and feels kind of like a legacy-defining call. I imagine we’ll hear and learn more over the next several days.

Also in the RTD is this quick story about a $75,000 grant from the African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund to pay for a study on “creating a memorial park in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom district.” I can’t bring them all to mind at the moment, but it seems like there have been several recent studies focused on what to do with Shockoe Bottom and how best to tell the stories of the enslaved people bought and sold in Richmond.

Trump will nominate his next Supreme Court nominee tonight at 9:00 PM—that is if he doesn’t blurt it out on Twitter before then. Vox has a guide to the 9 likeliest picks, if you want to read up a little.


  • After dropping the series with Akron, the Squirrels have a couple of days off.
  • Kickers face Penn FC tonight at 7:00 PM. You can watch on ESPN+ or locally on CBS 6.3.
  • Nats took the series from the Marlins over the weekend and start a new series with the Pirates tonight at 7:05 PM.

This morning's longread

Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?

I spend a decent amount of time avoiding the daily machinations of Trumpworld, but sometimes it feels good to just dive right in, all the way to the bottom.

The safest assumption is that it’s entirely coincidental that Trump launched a national campaign, with himself as spokesman, built around themes that dovetailed closely with Soviet foreign-policy goals shortly after his Moscow stay. Indeed, it seems slightly insane to contemplate the possibility that a secret relationship between Trump and Russia dates back this far. But it can’t be dismissed completely. How do you even think about the small but real chance — 10 percent? 20 percent? — that the president of the United States has been covertly influenced or personally compromised by a hostile foreign power for decades?

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Good morning, RVA: TIF talk, parental leave, and The Basketball Tournament

Good morning, RVA: Miss Confederacy, East End Landfill, and rib tips