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

Good morning, RVA (lite): Bike lane action items, Fulton, and 7th District school board

Good morning, RVA! It's 66 °F, and today’s forecast looks extra pleasant. Expect highs in the upper 80s and tons of sun.

Water cooler

OK! The Brook Road Bike Lane is back, and I’ve got action items for those of you who wish to see more—not fewer—safe ways to move about the City. First, Jeremey Lazarus at the Richmond Free Press says Councilmembers Gray and Hilbert will meet with the presidents of Northside civic associations tomorrow at the Ginter Park Library. Ostensibly this meeting is for the councilmembers to answer any questions the civic association leaders may have about the already approved, designed, and funded bike lane. However, as far as I’m aware, to date neither councilmember has accurately described the planning and facts that support this project, so...color me skeptical about the fairness of the information presented at this meeting. I kind of don’t want to put the civic association heads on blast about this, as they’re mostly just regular folks, but this is an important issue to their neighborhoods annnnnnd their email addresses are totally available on the City’s website. So, the first thing you can do is, if you’re a Northside resident, kindly email your civic association in support of the Brook Road bike lane. The second thing you can do, regardless of where you live, is sign this Sports Backers petition in support of the bike lane. They’ll print out all of the signatures and present them to City Council if/when the ordinance to prevent the bike lane (which, again, is already approved, designed, and funded) shows up on the agenda. Third, if you feel like you need talking points to send to your civic association, or just want some scintillating dinner conversation, download this informational PDF Bike Walk RVA has put together about the bike lane. You’ll learn the answers to such great classics as “Will emergency vehicle response times be affected?” (No!) and “Will all the parking be deleted?” (No!), and who could forget “Will any once and future apartments flood Brook Road with so many cars that a bike lane would create a gridlocked mayhem?” (No!) Any way, it’s a good PDF, and you should check it out.

Michael Paul Williams in the Richmond Times-Dispatch turns his keyboard toward Fulton, its history, the current developments, and the neighborhood’s future 💸. I knew the Artisan Hill development was big, but I didn’t realize it’d bring 204 apartments to the area—some of them “priced at workforce rates,” whatever that means. As always, more housing is good, but, like with other Richmond neighborhoods experiencing growth, we’ve got to be proactive in policies to prevent folks from being displaced while leveraging the development to bring needed amenities to the area. I’ll keep looking towards advocates like Cheryl Groce-Wright of the Neighborhood Resource Center of Greater Fulton for guidance and leadership on how we can best thoughtfully move forward.

Also at the RTD, Michael Martz has the news that Anthem will begin offering insurance on the marketplace in a bunch of Virginia localities 💸. Richmond is not one of those localities, but we will get another player in the marketplace next year in Virginia Premier Health Plan. With monthly premiums fast approaching $1,000 per month, it’s hard not to see this system as pretty dang broken. I will now link to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s page about Medicare For All.

RTD hat trick! Mark Robinson has this lede: “The head of Richmond’s Bureau of Permits and Inspections — long a source of headaches for residents and builders seeking approval to do renovation and construction projects in the city limits — is no longer employed by Mayor Levar Stoney’s administration.” 😳

Maggie Campbell, writing for RVA Mag, sat down with the three candidates (Gary Broderick, Cheryl Burke, and Bryce Robertson) running for the 7th District school board seat. This is a special election, so folks living in other districts won’t see school board on their ballot come November. Still take a minute and get to know the candidates, though.

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