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

Good morning, RVA: Vision Zero, another schools audit, and the ERA

Good morning, RVA! It's 76 °F, and temperatures are back up near 100 °F. If you’ve got things to do outside get them done early or after the sun sets, I guess. Also something to keep in mind: The forecast for the next several days looks real wet.

Water cooler

A woman hit by a driver on Parham Road in Henrico County near Tucker High School last month has died. @transitrunner points to Google Streetview photos of kids walking to school along Parham and asks if Henrico County or Schools are willing to do anything to make this area safer. This is the latest of several pedestrian deaths in Henrico County this year. Then, in the City yesterday, a driver rammed their car into the Shockoe Bottom Pulse Station—luckily no one was seriously injured. @notAlexWinston on Twitter puts it well (and has pictures of the scary damage to the station): “If our elected officials are serious about achieving Vision Zero and cracking down on public nuisances on city streets, they need to start being honest about what the problem is. It's not the scooters. It's the cars.” This is not hard or impossible: Slower speeds and safer streets will save lives—all it takes is the political will.

Justin Mattingly at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has had a busy week. A couple days ago it was high school bell schedule changes, today it’s the reason for those changes: A state audit found major errors at the District’s comprehensive high schools impacting the amount of credits students had received. Without immediate changes, the state could rescind those credits, leaving students...actually, I don’t know what would happen to students but it wouldn’t be good. Additionally, the report found “questionable practices & tracking that perpetuate inequity,” one of which is/was defaulting the diploma level at the comprehensive high schools to Standard instead of Advanced. You’ll remember that Superintendent Kamras addressed this issue a couple weeks back. Read through a preview of the Virginia Department of Education’s audit put together by the administration (PDF), and you’ll see that it’s both no joke and an issue VDOE had raised with RPS three years ago. Three years ago means that current School Board members were around when this was all going on, so I’m not sure how to take some of their shocked and aghast comments...

Last week, I somehow missed this column from State Senator Jennifer McClellan about the Equal Rights Amendment. A bunch of states have already ratified the amendment leaving Virginia to become the 38th and final ratification should we so choose (pending a bunch of questions about deadlines and a few other things). The Wikipedia entry on the ERA is really interesting if you’re looking for a way to spend a bit of time this morning.

It’s a comedy of errors with expanding the Manchester Historic District to include Blackwell. The State Department of Historic Resources failed to mail letters of notice to home owners, a step required by state law, so now they’ve pushed their vote on the expansion back to October. Mark Robinson with the RTD reports. Also, the National Park Service has stepped in, and it sure sounds like, at least to me, that it’ll be a while before a decision is made on whether or not to expand the District.

Mike Platania at Richmond BizSense says that the company which owns Cold Stone Creamery will buy Sweet Frog for $35 million! Dang, that’s a lot of money.

The Science Museum will host another one of their Science on Tap events, this one’s titled “Tribute to Grunge.” I’m just going to quote directly: “We’re planning a Black Hole Sun astronomy show, Pearl Jam oyster science, a Smells Like Teen Spirit sniffer challenge, a Soundgarden music lab, Smashing Pumpkin gourd launching and a Rock the Vote lecture sure to get you thinking... Come dressed in flannel shirts, ripped jeans and Doc Martens, or come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be.” You can find the details over at RVA Mag.

Finally some good news in the paper: Gotcha!, the syndicated and incredibly gross section of the paper that published mugshots, will no longer show up in the RTD after this month. Good riddance.

This morning's longread

Why Did America Give Up on Mass Transit? (Don't Blame Cars.)

Why can you travel all around the world without a car, but can barely get out of your neighborhood in America unless you’ve got four wheels and a license?

What happened? Over the past hundred years the clearest cause is this: Transit providers in the U.S. have continually cut basic local service in a vain effort to improve their finances. But they only succeeded in driving riders and revenue away. When the transit service that cities provide is not attractive, the demand from passengers that might “justify” its improvement will never materialize. Here’s how this has played out, era by era.

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

Good morning, RVA: Schools stuff, Jackson Ward development, and a new ICA director

Good morning, RVA: Strategic plan, Monroe Park, and GWAR destroys a bar