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

Good morning, RVA: Bike network at risk, monument feelings, and sea level rise

Good morning, RVA! It's 72 °F, and temperatures are way back up in the mid 90s. We’ve got one more day of these hot summer temperatures and then things begin to cool off dramatically. You can make it!

Water cooler

StreetsCred has a new post up about how the State’s plan to redesign 9th Street will create a huge, gaping hole in Richmond’s Downtown bike network. This is terrible and just one of a handful of recent examples of the State government doing whatever they please to our city streets and leaving us to pick up the pieces and deal with the mess (the Bank Street balls and closing the eastbound Pulse lane for years are two other examples). Luckily, there’s something you can do to help stop the State from breaking east-west trips by bike! Their plan must first go through the City’s Urban Design Committee and then through the Planning Commission. UDC is up first on October 10th. So, if you’ve got one minute this morning, email the UDC secretary, Josh Son (), and let the committee know that a safe and protected bike path connecting Franklin Street to Bank & 12th must be part of any proposal to redesign the area around the Capitol. The reality is that the State does have a lot of power to do whatever they want—including steal and redesign streets to make them hostile to people walking, biking, and taking the bus. To mount an effective campaign to save our growing bike network and give folks more and safer ways to get around, we’ve got to get involved early and often. This is just the first step, and it’ll take just a single minute of your morning!

Michael Paul Williams in the Richmond Times-Dispatch says people are pissed about Kehinde Wiley’s Rumors of War statue coming to the VMFA in December 💸. This quote from the Monument Avenue Preservation Group (unclear to me whether this is the same folks as the Monument Avenue Preservation Society) is just really something: “Richmond’s cultural elites beclown themselves in adulation of a monument commemorating nothing.” Maybe I’m naive, but I think that sentiment comes from a minority of vocal and grumpy people who mostly have nothing better to do with their time. The vast, vast majority of folks I’ve heard talk about the new monument feel something along the lines of this, from @ChelseaWiseRVA on Twitter, “In grad school I lived directly across from the VMFA and just never imagined such a disruption could exist...so thankful Kehinde Wiley did the imagining for us.”

I love that whenever an old Arby’s gets torn down there’s always an entirely separate conversation about what to do with the awesome neon cowboy hat sign. Sounds like Wawa will build a new location where the Arby’s near W. Broad and Libby now sits, but, don’t worry: They’ll repurpose the cowboy hat. J. Elias O’Neal at Richmond BizSense has the details.

Also in Richmond BizSense, Mike Platania has the news of a new, hip auto shop coming to Scott’s Addition—it sounds kind of like High Point Barbershop, but for cars. You know how I feel about cars, but, more generally and less anti-climate, I’m interested in the Scott’s Additionification of businesses. What other regular, Busytown things could people make hip and open up in the neighborhood? Maybe, like, a hip plumber or a hip pharmacy?

Here’s a great piece in the Virginia Mercury by Sarah Vogelsong about the work landscape architects are doing to save Hampton Roads from sea level rise. I love landscape architects and find their work fascinating, but there’s only so much any of us can do to fight the literal sea. Here’s a sobering quote from a Virginia Tech professor who runs a land planning studio that focuses on environmental issues: “Sea walls would be a trap..The best thing would be to gradually move people out...as they move out we can restore the landscape.” To bring this back home to Richmond, I continue to think the climate refugees from Hampton Roads will be one of the biggest issues facing our city over the next 30 years. We should be thinking hard about where we’re going to put all of those people and how they’re going to get around.

Via /r/rva some awesome photos of a skateboard situation over at the still-informal (I think) Texas Beach skate park. So cool.

This morning's longread

Lawns Are an Ecological Disaster

I have never and will never understand lawn culture.

Americans devote 70 hours, annually, to pushing petrol-powered spinning death blades over aggressively pointless green carpets to meet an embarrassingly destructive beauty standard based on specious homogeneity. We marvel at how verdant we manage to make our overwatered, chemical-soaked, ecologically-sterile backyards. That’s just biblically, nay, God-of-War-ishly violent. To understand the sheer inanity of devoting 40 million acres, nearly half as much land as we set aside for our biggest crops, to an inedible carpet, we need to back up—beyond the modern lawn’s origins with a real estate family peddling the “American Dream” as Whites-only cookie-cutter suburbs—to the evolution of grass.

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Good morning, RVA: A weird fundraiser, the Capital Trail, and great ribs

Good morning, RVA: Republican banishment, school district data, and opportunities to weigh in