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

Good morning, RVA: Juneteenth, a new bus PDF, and the best fast-food fries

Good morning, RVA! It's 73 °F, and today you can expect cooler temperatures in the low 80s and the possibility for rain throughout the day.

Water cooler

Richmond Police are reporting a murder that occurred on Monday night. Officers arrived to the 2300 block of North Avenue and found Omar T. Green suffering from a fatal gunshot wound.

Today, June 19th, is Juneteenth. It’s the day that marks the 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery—specifically in Texas, but, really, throughout the Confederacy. I need to apologize, because I screwed up big time and forgot to mention this past weekend’s local Juneteenth celebration. I’ll do better.

Way back in December, VCU’s Center for Urban and Regional Analysis put out a report analyzing this past summer’s bus network redesign (PDF). I was (and am) critical of the report and some of its claims—particular those claims related to lower-income Richmonders and the report’s definition of “connectivity.” Yesterday, the folks who did the bus network redesign work, Jarrett Walker + Associates, released a new memo pointing out serious miscalculations and flaws in methodology in the original CURA report (PDF). You should read the entire thing, or, you can read this summary thread from Twitter user @SmithNicholas which Streets Cred converted into a “blog post” for those of us too old to Twitter. The original, inaccurate CURA report has served as the context for so much of our ongoing conversation about public transportation in Richmond, and it’s vital that we get the context right. Does any of this change the fact that our region still dramatically underfunds transit compared to our peer cities? No. Does any of this change the fact that some neighborhoods need more and better transit—particularly on the Southside? No. But neither does it change the fact that, with the new network, lower-income Richmonders have access to 10% more jobs than before. Now we have accurate information and that’s critical in the work to build more frequent, more far-reaching public transportation in the Richmond region.

Mark Robinson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch says the City may take their legal tussle with Paul Goldman to the Supreme Court of Virginia. Goldman’s been trying to get at documents and emails surrounding the Mayor’s proposal to replace the Coliseum, and, thus far, the Stoney administration has stonewalled those requests under a “negotiations” exemption to FOIA law. I have no idea what’s going on under the covers here, but it’s a bad look. No one wants their City government headed to the state Supreme Court to prevent information from becoming public—especially when that information is tied up in negotiations with Dominion’s Tom Farrell. While there are probably good and logical reasons to keep things quiet that I am unaware of, normal people see stories like this and get more and more skeptical of the entire Downtown redevelopment proposal.

Behold! Another candidate for the 5th District City Council seat: Stephanie Lynch. Now that we’ve got a handful of candidates, I’m wondering if I should put together an informal candidate questionnaire type thing? Would that be useful for folks? If there are any 5th District readers out there that have thoughts on what these candidates should be talking about as they compete for your vote, please shoot me an email.

I have a hard time processing this headline by Ned Oliver at the Virginia Mercury: “Nearly $71 million wagered last month at Colonial Downs’ new casinos.” In one month?? Out of that just under a million bucks went back to the state/locality in tax revenue. Colonial Downs’s Richmond location will open on the Southside this summer.

Mike Platania at Richmond BizSense has the full list of local winners at the Virginia Craft Beer Cup. I did not know that Bingo Beer Co. made a black lager! Why does no one tell me these things!

Style Weekly has a whole issue out dedicated to chain restaurants. I wish they would have gone harder with this piece about fast-food fries. McDonald’s clearly has the best French fries, followed by 5 Guys.

Alert, transportation or transportation-curious people! Tonight, I’ll be on a panel at Gallery5 (from 5:45–8:00 PM) with Max Hepp-Buchanan and Carrie Rose Pace (Facebook), two of my favorite transportation co-conspirators. We’ll be talking about how recent projects have impacted Richmond and how we can do a better job making our city a more connected, more equitable place to get around. The event is free, and booze will be available.

This morning's longread

Cities Start to Question an American Ideal: A House With a Yard on Every Lot

More on single-family zoning! The New York Times data team put together some really beautiful maps of single-family and all other residential types for a handful of cities across America. The maps are striking, and the narrative is one Richmond should learn from.

Apartments, the court warned, block the sun and air. They bring noise and traffic. They act as a parasite on single-family neighborhoods — “until, finally, the residential character of the neighborhood and its desirability as a place of detached residences are utterly destroyed.” Today, the very density that the court scorned is viewed by environmentalists as an antidote to sprawling development patterns that feed gridlock and auto emissions. It’s viewed by planners as an essential condition to support public transit, and by economists as the best means of making high-cost cities more affordable. Single-family zoning “means that everything else is banned,” said Scott Wiener, a California state senator, speaking this spring at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “Apartment buildings — banned. Senior housing — banned. Low-income housing, which is only multi-unit — banned. Student housing — banned.”

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Good morning, RVA: Arthur Ashe Boulevard, another 5th District candidate, and diversifying the brewery crowd

Good morning, RVA: SCOTUS, RPS news, and where is the best milkshake in town?