Good morning, RVA! It's 71 °F, and today you should expect more of the same weatherwise: hot and sunny. There is a small chance of rain this evening, though
The RPS Rezoning Squad met last night and discussed two new rezoning options, now know as Option 3 and Option 4 (PDF). They’re not yet up on the interactive map, so I have a hard time spotting some of the smaller differences, but the aforelinked PDF has a helpful pros/cons table after each option. One of the new, bigger changes would be closing Elkhardt-Thompson Middle School and serving the entire area south of the river with three middle schools. Justin Mattingly at the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a human-readable summary if maps and tables aren’t your thing.
While the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus skipped yesterday’s Trump event at Jamestown, Del. Samirah from Loudoun attended and disrupted the event, yelling “Mr. President, you can’t send us back, Virginia is our home!” Scroll through some of the delegate’s twitter feed for pics, thoughts, and responses. Del. Bourne has some picture from the VLBC event and a couple of good thoughts, including this one from Del. Bagby: “Blind respect of an institution prevents the very process required to bring the change we are fighting for, and the change for which our ancestors died fighting for.” Mechelle Hankerson at the Virginia Mercury has a write up of all the things you were probably looking to read more about.
Yesterday, while riding bikes with my 10-year-old son, a man in a pickup truck yelled at us for riding in the street (it’s always a man, and usually a man in a pickup truck). This took place at the intersection of Broad and Lombardy, a notoriously dangerous place for people walking and riding bikes—and even driving cars. I made some jokes about it on Twitter, linked to the Streets Cred post about how to fix the problem, and talked a bit about how bad street design just gives angry drivers another excuse to kill people with their cars. Then, this morning I got an email from the RPD saying that a shooting at that very intersection last week was a result of road rage: “RPD detectives have determined [the attempted murder] started as a road rage incident on West Broad Street. Mosley followed the victim a few blocks to the business. A confrontation then ensued in the parking lot, which ended in gunfire.” This is exactly what people on bikes are terrified of every time they get yelled at for existing. It happens regularly and to everyone, just ask any person you know that rides a bike more than a couple times a year. It’s especially terrifying to folks who are just learning how to safely bike around city streets (10-year-olds), and haven’t yet built up the confidence to ignore spittle-flecked, obscenity-laced outbursts from people driving fast enough to kill them (while usually looking at you, not the road). The Mayor and the City could fix this particular intersection, minimize both physical and social conflicts, and prevent serious injury or death by simply taking away a few parking spaces. They don’t, and because of that, people will continue to get hurt.
The City’s Planning Commission has still not had a chance to look at that parking study I’ve been waiting for all summer, but we’re already seeing one teeny, small bit of parking reform: Folks will now have to pay for parking in the Carytown garages beginning August 12th. Of course the cost to park there for basically forever, one single dollar, is waaaaay too cheap. Such cheap and unlimited parking doesn’t promote turnover and actually gets fewer shoppers into merchant’s doors. We can do better in our popular retail districts, and I’m hoping the soon-to-drop parking study gives us a good path forward. Gregory J. Gillian at the RTD has a few more details on the changes in Carytown.
Love that Richmond BizSense keeps digging on the proposed downtown arena project. This time they’ve got Jonathan Spiers out there peeking through the window of the urban design firm that’s handling the “master developer duties” and snapping pics of the 3D-printed model of the project area.
Via /r/rva, I like this view of the river and Brown’s Island taken from (I think) the Federal Reserve building. It gives you an idea of just how big, and open, and green the island is.
Tonight is the very last Mayor’s Community Office Hours. Join him in the 9th District, at the Southside Community Center (6255 Old Warwick Road). By now, you know the drill: Download the PDF, think of some questions to ask him ahead of time, and see what he says about your priorities for Richmond.
This morning's longread
No matter what any presidential candidate says, if we want to save the planet we’ve got to have fewer cars, not better cars.
Sure, cars should be electric. There are a lot of places in the world where transportation infrastructure isn’t sufficient and cars are the native transportation medium. Maybe they should be self-driving too, if the technology is safer than human drivers. Right now, it isn’t. But to a large extent this is a zero-sum problem. Ridesharing already has substantially hurt public transit. The blue sky dream of self-driving cars is spawning galaxy-brain reckons like replacing the subway with underground highways, or replacing the subway with tunnels. These dreams are built around selfishness: they always offer private pods flying through space. Hyperloop promotional material portrays it as an alternative to being on the surface, with all those other people.
If you’d like your longread to show up here, go chip in a couple bucks on the ol’ Patreon.