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

Good morning, RVA: FOIA intrigue, China, and (finally) a scooter permit

Good morning, RVA! It's 70 °F, and today looks a lot like yesterday: hot and sunny. Temperatures will cool off tomorrow, though, as some rain moves into the region.

Water cooler

Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has some follow up on Paul Goldman’s lawsuit against the City to get the Mayor to release some of the documents related to the proposed downtown arena. Yeah, that’s right! I think we’re headed back to arenatown, y’all! Anyway, FOIA intrigue is one of my least favorite genres of story, but this one has some interesting details—like how the Mayor’s administration wanted to charge Goldman for the same information it accidentally handed over to the RTD free of charge. The whole thing is not a good look for either the Mayor or the proposed project. About 100 weeks ago, I said something along the lines of “every day the Mayor waits to release the details of this proposal it gets harder and harder for folks to support it.” That’s still true, and this kind of story doesn’t help the public perception of whatever proposal we end up with. An important side note: Paul Goldman is not a man without an agenda, and I’m exceedingly hesitant to celebrate his victory as some sort of win for government transparency and citizen oversight. I wonder if he’ll release the documents to the general public...

Jeanna Smialek at the New York Times has a fascinating article about how Trump’s trade war with China has impacted Pello, a local company that makes bikes for kids. My first reaction was “Dangit! That Trump’s is at it again!” which, honestly, is almost always appropriate in any given situation. My second reaction was “I...don’t know how Economy works.” This is a simplistic thought but, idk, maybe all of the things we buy are artificially cheap because labor in China is artificially (or unacceptably) cheap? Maybe there are tons of climate and human-rights concerns wrapped up in this whole conversation that I am way too out of my depth to addresses in a couple dozen words? MAYBE.

Well, it’s not Lime or Bird, but it’s something. Mike Platania at Richmond BizSense says the City has issued its first scooter permit to Bolt Scooters and we should see them on the ground next week. Platania notes eight companies requested applications to operate, only three completed the application, and only Bolt ended up with a permit. I’m not going to look a gift scooter in the mouth, but I am slightly interested/concerned/hmmm about why we won’t see any of the more established players in the scooter biz on our streets.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, the City—under the cover of darkness—updated the look-and-feel of legistar? Where did all of that green in the header come from? Why did nobody tell me?? This is clearly not news at all and something that probably only I care about, but still! As the home for all of the City’s ordinances and resolutions (and a bunch of other cool PDFs), legistar is a website I spend a lot of time with, and it has been exactly the same for a good long while. Maybe these cosmetic changes portend some functionality changes?

Via /r/rva, this video of people trying to pronounce places in Virginia made me laugh, although I take deep issue with their “correct” pronunciation of Powhatan.

Style Weekly’s Laura Ingles interviews of some of the people you might find out along the Capital Trail. Lots of the featured folks are of the spandex-clad variety, but, even if all of your clothing is made from natural fibers, I want to encourage you to spend some time out on the Trail. It’s a beautiful and easy place to ride for people on bikes of all ages and skill levels. So check it out if you haven’t already, and maybe we should organize a GMRVA bike squad out to Ronnie’s for some ribs someday?

This morning's longread

Protect Yourself! Separated Bike Lanes Means Safer Streets, Study Says

More bike lanes means safer streets for all users of the streets—even dang motorists!

After analyzing traffic crash data over a 13-year period in areas with separated bike lanes on city streets, researches estimated that having a protected bike facility in a city would result in 44 percent fewer deaths and 50 percent fewer serous injuries than an average city. In Portland, where the population of bike commuters increased from 1.2 to 7 percent between 1990 and 2015, fatality rates fell 75 percent in the same period. Fatal crash rates dropped 60.6 percent in Seattle, 49.3 percent in San Francisco, 40.3 percent in Denver, and 38.2 percent in Chicago over the same period as cities added more protected and separated lanes as part of their Vision Zero plans. “Bike facilities end up slowing cars down, even when a driver hits another driver, it’s less likely to be a fatality because it’s happening at a slower speed,” Marshall said.

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Good morning, RVA: Chuck Richardson, two festivals, and the new Public Art Coordinator

Good morning, RVA: Working through, public school facilities, and urban gardening