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

Good morning, RVA: Models trending down, bike lane recaps, and learn stuff about housing

Good morning, RVA! It's 72 °F, and it’s cooled off a bit. Today, expect highs in the mid 80s and maybe a few showers here or there.

As for Hurricane Florence, models have rain totals in Virginia trending downward—with Richmond seeing 2 to 4 inches of rain over the next seven days. The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s faithful John Boyer has the update from last night, but check back later this morning for the new news.

Weather-related cancellations are flooding in, too, with Virginia Tech’s football game against ECU cancelled; UVA’s game against Ohio moved to Nashville; VCU is closed beginning tomorrow; and Henrico and Richmond public schools are closed on Friday. Lots of folks are waiting to see how or if the forecast shifts today to make a call on Thursday, so this list could change a ton.

Water cooler

Mark Robinson at the RTD has notes from last night’s public meeting on the Brook Road bike lanes. Also, for a different perspective, you should read this twitter thread by @cburns62 which highlights a lot of the things that stuck out to me from the meeting. I don’t have a ton more to add. Bike lanes are sweet, a plan for a bike lane on Brook Road has been kicking around in some form for years, and if we built this one today it wouldn’t be a big deal and people would survive and go about their lives. Finally, a lot of the opposition really feels like spillover from the way the Westwood Tract process went down. Just listening to folks last night, it sounds like they felt unheard in that situation and continue to feel unheard as it relates to this bike lane. I hear and acknowledge that frustration, but don’t believe it should prevent this particular bike lane—and especially not all future Brook Road bike lanes, which is what the current ordinance does. P.S. Shoutout to the people running the free bike parking last night in a torrential downpour—that was amazing and incredibly kind of you!

WCVE’s series on housing continues, and there’s a bunch worth reading while keeping in mind all of the housing stuff that’s going on locally (if your brain can keep track of it all). First, Catherine Komp looks at Community Benefit Agreements and how they could be applied to the proposed Coliseum redevelopment. Fascinating! A CBA to guarantee a living wage at arena and hotel jobs created by the proposal sounds great to me. Megan Pauly digs into Richmond’s tax abatement program, which is also fascinating. Housing genius Laura Lafayette says we should take the money from expiring tax credits and dump it into the affordable housing trust fund, which, yes. Brian Koziol, from Housing Opportunities Made Equal questions the ongoing usefulness of the program, saying “We have to ask ourselves, why are we incentivizing further investment in upper middle class white neighborhoods to the detriment of the rest of the city?” Also yes. Finally, and I know this is a lot and you didn’t sign up for a daily tax explainer email (this email is obviously all about zoning and rezoning, am I right?), but Pauly has another piece on the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, its connection to affordable housing, and how Trump’s tax cuts for the rich have a real impact locally.

SPORTS! The Richmond Kickers have announced they’ll leave the USL and join the brand new USL Division III beginning next season. Adam Culler at the RTD has some details, if soccer division shifts are your thing 💸, but, basically, keeping up with the Joneses in the current division is probably not super realistic.

This morning's longread

Suicide hotlines really do save lives. I know because one saved mine

This is excellent writing.

Eventually, I turned it off, all of the obituaries, tweets, and pieces about mental health. But there are some channels that can’t be shut down easily, and it ate at me: not why these two individuals died in this way, which is unknowable, but why anyone does, and what invisible hand pushes some people in crisis closer to the precipice and holds others back. I thought about what a selfish, abusive parasite depression is. I thought about the ghastly pain that deaths by suicide leave behind. Most of all I thought about that hotline number offered up in the wake of suicides. I thought about why, for some people, a stranger’s disembodied voice cuts through the internal din of depression in a way that the voices of their most beloved friends and family cannot. I wondered why this phone number saves people, and I marveled at how lucky I was that it once saved me.

If you’d like your longread to show up here, go chip in a couple bucks on the ol’ Patreon.

Good morning, RVA: Florence downgrade, redistricting, and school rezoning

Good morning, RVA: Florence, big bike lane meeting, and Coliseum spending