Good morning, RVA! It's 76 °F, and it’s gonna be a hot one. You know the drill: Drink water, maybe wear a hat.
There’s a a ton of multimodal transportation news to dig into this morning, so let’s get started.
Last night, a driver struck and killed a 17-year-old boy on W. Broad Street near the Libbie Place Shopping Center. The teenager was walking home after a shift at the McDonald’s nearby. No one should die walking home from work. No one should die walking on our streets. But as our city grows and our transportation networks begin to reach out into the surrounding counties (Libbie Place is a likely spot for a future Pulse extension), we have to do a better job at protecting pedestrians. Henrico’s got a lot of work to do to make the entire length Broad Street safer, and they need to start immediately.
Well, this is some garbage. As I mentioned earlier this week, Councilmembers Gray and Hilbert had a meeting planned with civic association presidents to discuss the planned-and-paid-for Brook Road bike lane. I was under the impression, as were a bunch of folks, that this was a meeting for civic association presidents, not for citizens and media. That apparently wasn’t the case, and NBC12 has a pretty disappointing piece that makes me miss the work Alix Bryan did at debunking ludicrous statements like “Why should [the bike lane] be given to bicycles when they pay nothing.” Now, I don’t know if this was a savvy political tactic by the councilmembers to stack a meeting with folks in opposition to the bike lane and get some juicy media coverage while keeping supporters in the dark and out of the room, but, dang, that’s sure what it feels like. Before last night, I had some hope of getting the anti-bike lane ordinance withdrawn, but now I don’t see how it doesn’t make it in front of the full City Council. You can and should email your councilmember today, regardless of where you live, if you support the Brook Road bike lane. This whole process is incredibly frustrating. I want our bike advocates out there advocating and organizing for the next big thing to help folks get around Richmond safely and without a car. I don’t want them wasting their time defending a project that was already planned, designed, and paid for. Forcing advocates to scrape and claw for every single inch of progress is exhausting and why they leave for more friendly cities. Y’all, I’m real bummed.
Speaking of things that need bike lanes to make using them safe, it’s finally happened! Electric scooters have arrived in Richmond! Under the cover of darkness/the morning, as is their M.O., Bird dropped off some electric scooters on Franklin Street. I’ve been saying that this would happen sooner rather than later, and that City Council needed to pass some legislation regulating these things. Well, here we are with scooters on the ground and no legislation on the books. Prediction: Council will pass an expedited ordinance to ban the scooters temporarily until they can get around to hammering out some regulations. While I really would have preferred a proactive ordinance instead of a reactive one, I’ll take what I can get to make sure the City gets a good deal that makes sense while also allowing these scooter systems to thrive.
Lol, the RTD Editorial Board took today’s movement by newspapers across the nation to oppose the president’s attacks on a free press and chose to, instead, halfheartedly side with Trump’s anti-news rhetoric. They say they supported a free press yesterday, and that “President Trump has, as have almost of of his predecessors, used his bully pulpit to criticize the news media, though he has done so in more strident terms than most modern presidents.” I will now stridently link to the video of that time Trump mocked a reporter with a disability.