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

Good morning, RVA: Monument 10k, work-in-street permits, and Old Town Road

Good morning, RVA! It's 58 °F, and today we’ve got another day on deck with highs in the mid 70s. You probably should expect some rain later this evening and into Saturday morning. Runner-types are gonna get wet, but at least they won’t be wet and cold.

Water cooler

Speaking of runner-types, the Monument 10k runs from 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM this coming Saturday. This means you’ve got the opportunity to take part (or at least witness) a lot of rad, weird, and very-Richmond things–in fact, here’s a PDF from Sports Backers with every single detail you could want. If you’re trying to get around on Saturday, note that some roads are closed—like Monument, duh—but also a handful of streets in the Fan near the starting line. The Pulse will detour up to Leigh Street and skip the VCU/VUU station. The #14, #20, #76, #77, and #78 will all see detours of some sort. If you’re trying to get to the action without driving and parking, I recommend going by bike, but also the #5 bus (PDF) remains undetoured (autocorrect suggests undeterred, which, sure!) and will get you right to Monroe Park. For some background, Tim Pearrell at the Richmond Times-Dispatch talks with Sports Backers’s Jon Lugbill about the last 20 years of the race. Not to be a bummer, but, at some point, we’ll probably need to have a conversation about how one of the biggest events in Richmond is focused on (and named after!) a street full of Confederate monuments, right?

Whoa! This seemingly-boring announcement is a big deal, I think! The City will increase the cost of their work-in-street permits and change the structure of the fee to a “pay-by-time format.” Part of the reason it’s so easy to forever close a sidewalk in the City is that the permits cost a flat fee of $20–100. That encouraged folks to close public rights-of-way and...just leave them closed. Seems boring, I know, but this will have a real impact on the City’s Vision Zero goals of keeping pedestrians safe. Also, color me interested in what the Mayor means when he says “More to come...

Adam Lockett, writing for RVA Mag, has an op/ed about the importance of preserving the VCU + GRTC pilot program that allows all students, faculty, and staff associated with the University no-cost access to the entire bus system. I’ve read conflicting things about the current, on-going negotiations between VCU and GRTC. Like Lockett, I’ve heard about limiting VCU’s free access to just the Pulse and #5 bus, but also, this quote in the RTD from awhile back seems strong: “VCU and VCU Health remain committed to continuing to fund a cost-effective transportation option that provides our students and employees with access to the entire GRTC system.” Ultimately, I hope VCU does the right thing and keeps the scope of the current partnership while also paying their fair share of the costs to do so.

I still wish the City would have bought Sharp’s Island. Now the new owner, who by all accounts is a nice guy, is making money off of what should be public land by renting it out as an Airbnb. I am, by all accounts, a grumpy old man, but the idea of an outdoorsy Airbnb in the middle of our awesomely-wild, downtown river park system rubs me the wrong way.

This Saturday you can check out the first Richmond Night Market, from 5:00–10:00 PM at the 17th Street Farmers Market. It’s like a farmers market...AT NIGHT. Expect vendors, music, and artists—all your typical market stuff...BUT AT NIGHT. Also, if you’ve been down to the Market lately you may have noticed that people are sitting—no longer on the ground, in tree wells, or on bike racks, but on chairs! And at tables! The folks at The Enrichmond Foundation went and got some chairs and tables, and now you can and definitely should take advantage of the weather and eat your lunch at the the Market. I had a spicy chicken sandwich from Hot Chick (I know, I know, the name is kind of eyerolly) the other day that was 😘👌.

Neither here nor there, I’ve been enjoying this Lil Nas X song “Old Town Road” that was taken off of the Billboard Country charts for not being country enough. That resulted in this remix ft. Bill Ray Cyrus himself and spun off a bunch of other creative things, like this pretty incredible fiddle situation.

This morning's patron longread

The View From Room 205

Submitted by Patron Amy. Here’s a depressing (and depressingly common) story about how poverty impacts a fourth grade classroom in a low-income Chicago neighborhood.

There’s been a lot of that in North Lawndale. In fact, two-thirds of the schools in this neighborhood over the last decade have either been closed, turned into charter schools, or seen their entire staff replaced, from the principal to the lunch ladies. Penn is hanging on. It’s like thousands of other schools across the country that operate in this “No Excuses” moment, where everyone is on notice. It’s a typical school in a poor neighborhood. That’s why I decided to come here. I wanted to see up close what poverty slings at a school like that. I wanted to better understand the mystery of why so many schools in poor neighborhoods fail to do what we ask of them.

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

Good morning, RVA: 5th District drama, high school drama, and Shockoe plans

Good morning, RVA: More Brookland Park, GPS consequences, and pizza as big as your face