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

Good morning, RVA: Listen and learn, new RRHA CEO, and a Henrico charette

Good morning, RVA! It's 35 °F, and it’s gonna be way warmer today. Highs in the mid 50s, and, what!, we may even see the sun later this afternoon.

Water cooler

Police are reporting another murder that occurred last Thursday. Officers received a call around 11:00 PM about a shooting on the 3100 block of Broad Rock Boulevard after Edwin D. Gonzales-Urbina, 27, arrived at the hospital with a fatal gunshot wound.

Mel Leonor at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a really interesting update on the Governor’s early attempts to repent, listen, learn, and work towards racial reconciliation. I agree with his decision to skip VUU’s tribute to the Richmond 34 and like his response to Union’s SGA president. I also like the decision to visit a farm owned by the founder of the National Black Farmers Association, where the Governor heard from Black farmers about both policy and administrative actions he could pursue. Listening is so super important! At some point, though, we’ll need to see him using his position of power to actually do some things.

Mark Robinson, also at the RTD, says the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority has hired Damon Duncan as their new CEO. Duncan has a March 25th start date, and I imagine we’ll start seeing some profiles of him pop up in local media soon.

Two quick bus-related City Council updates! First, Councilmember Gray has withdrawn ORD. 2018-153 which would have added back an unnecessary left turn from southbound Belvidere onto eastbound Broad Street. This would have forced the City to retime a bunch of lights and would have added yet another opportunity to slow folks down who are using the Pulse. Hooray for prioritizing the people using our streets rather than cars! Second, GRTC has completed their survey of what their new bus stop shelters should look like and have chosen a much more contemporary-looking option (PDF). I’m a big fan, and glad they didn’t choose the previous option, which looked like something out of a suburb of Colonial Williamsburg. The aforelinked PDF has the results of the GRTC survey if you want to poke around a bit, and here’s a page from the manufacturer if you want to see this particular shelter configured in a variety of ways.

Y’all. What is going on in Henrico County! Look at these incredibly progressive materials from the planning charrette (PDF) they recently held for two areas right off Broad Street. People are out here being like, “BRT! Density! Walkable neighborhoods!” And the County is like, “Yeah! Alright! But what about convertible parking garages, too??” There is literally a slide titled “Let’s stay ahead of the affordable housing dilemma” and one looking at potential Walk Scores. I’m so pleasantly surprised!

Here’s a fascinating story about an unexpected consequence of technology: A woman living on “White Oak Road” now has to deal with 18-wheelers zooming down her street due to bad GPS directions to “White Oak Creek Drive.” As a result, she’s pushing not to slow the trucks down through street improvements or to get clearer signage installed (although, to be fair, the current signage looks pretty dang clear), but to have Henrico County change the name of the street entirely.

Next month, Richmond Magazine celebrates its 40th anniversary, and here’s a look at some of the covers throughout the years. Also, kind of unrelated, you can see a lot of these old magazines downtown on the wall at Urban Hang Suite.

Today, from 1:30–2:30 PM at First Baptist Church (2709 Monument Avenue), the City will host its last meeting to solicit feedback on the next police chief. If you can’t make this meeting and have missed all the previous meetings, you can still fill out this online survey.

This morning's longread

Why America’s New Apartment Buildings All Look the Same

This is a super interesting look at how land use and building code influence the aesthetic of what gets built. And, as a counterpoint, here’s a Twitter thread of some of these same style apartment buildings that look unique and interesting.

Los Angeles architect Tim Smith was sitting on a Hawaiian beach, reading through the latest building code, as one does, when he noticed that it classified wood treated with fire retardant as noncombustible. That made wood eligible, he realized, for a building category—originally known as “ordinary masonry construction” but long since amended to require only that outer walls be made entirely of noncombustible material—that allowed for five stories with sprinklers. His company, Togawa Smith Martin Inc., was working at the time with the City of Los Angeles on a 100-unit affordable-housing high-rise in Little Tokyo that they “could never get to pencil out.” By putting five wood stories over a one-story concrete podium and covering more of the one-acre lot than a high-rise could fill, Smith figured out how to get the 100 apartments at 60 percent to 70 percent of the cost.

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Good morning, RVA: Del. Jay Jones’s speech, equity vs. equality, and invasive species

Good morning, RVA: Snow(ish), VCU rides the bus, and Silent Reading Parties