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

Good morning, RVA: High-speed rail impacts, speed limit enforcement, and a fake seal

Good morning, RVA! It's 65 °F, and today looks a lot like yesterday but maybe with some clouds here and there. You can expect more of the same through the weekend, while temperatures creep back up into the 90s.

Water cooler

WCVE’s Jordy Yager has a story about one possible local impact the high-speed rail project connecting Richmond and D.C will have. Apparently, the planned alignment cuts through the previous site of an African American graveyard. I say previous site, because, over the last 130 years, the construction of 5th Street, the existing rail line, a viaduct, another street, and I-64 all ran right through what was once an active burial ground. Yager also gives us a few details on how the state’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation will help mitigate this impact. I can’t find it now, but there’s a whole PDF of all the ways they promise to get involved where the proposed rail line will impact historic sites, animal habitats, human hangouts—it’s a fascinating read and I’m sure it exists somewhere on the DC2RVA website. While I think this article’s headline is a bit misleading, I do think the situation is complex and that, as one of the descendants of someone once buried at this site said, reclaiming the sacredness of the space is key.

I’m trying not to talk about the Fox-Cary pairing aspect of the planned Richmond Public Schools rezoning forever, because it’s only one small part of a much larger plan. BUT. The Superintendent apparently caught some flack for saying some of the loudest feedback on the proposed pairing “sounds eerily like Massive Resistance 2.0.” I don’t know what folks are upset about, because I think that’s precisely what some of the oppositional feedback sounds like. Especially sentences like this, which I think is exactly the spirit of Massive Resistance, if not the letter: “I know that I, along with many other neighbors, would carefully weigh the decision of whether to send my children to private school or to move out of the district for a better elementary school option for our family.” Luckily, it sounds like things have cooled down a bit, and today, in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Mark Robinson has a report from the most recent rezoning public meeting where he said criticism was voiced in “decidedly less divisive terms.”

Hey you know I love this, Ali Rocket at the RTD says the the Richmond Police Department has started enforcing the speed limit on Hull Street within the city limits. The entirety of Hull Street (up through 14th Street) is part of the City’s High Injury Street Network and is where we should focus our limited resources. Thank you to the RPD for doing this, and thumbs up for making enough of a story out of it to get it picked up by the paper. Educating drivers and enforcing the speed limit is an important part of our City’s Vision Zero work.

I’m about 3/4 of the way through the James River Park Master Plan (PDF), and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a well-written plan and an enjoyable PDF (and, trust me, they aren’t all enjoyable). If you want to give your feedback on the plan you have until July 28th to fill out this survey. That’s this Sunday!

These old pictures of roller skating in Richmond from the RTD archive are neat—filled almost exclusively with White people but neat/odd for sure.

Did you see the weird news that Trump gave some sort of speech in front of a totally fake presidential seal? Turns out, the creator of that seal is a Richmond resident!

This morning's longread

Homeownership for whom?

There are a lot of thoughts in this piece by Alex Baca—who now works and writes for Greater Greater Washington.

It made me think about who benefits from homeownership—or, perhaps more frustratingly, who homeownership is even for at this point in time. Marketing executives may or may not be onto something by targeting the kinds of people who listen to NPR podcasts; first-time homebuyers, according to this New York Times piece, are majority white (79 percent), majority married (58 percent), majority childless (60 percent), and make on average $72,000 per year. They buy single-family houses. They’re also only 35 percent of all homebuyers; homeownership is largely the province of America’s older residents, and it’s student debt, not a millennial murder spree, that keeps younger buyers out of the game

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

Good morning, RVA: Summertime joy, downtown arena news, and the black waffle

Good morning, RVA: Changing of the guard, affordable housing, and a police chief interview