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

Good morning, RVA: New GRTC CEO, the parking study exists, and a Northside school pairing

Good morning, RVA! It's 73 °F, and today’s highs are back up in the mid 90s—it’s still August out there. Just like the last couple of days we could see some rain later this evening.

Water cooler

Whoa! Big news out of nowhere: GRTC has hired Julie Timm as their new CEO. Timm served as the Director of Development for Nashville’s transit agency and had also previously worked for Hampton Roads Transit. I know almost nothing about this person, but am excited to learn more. Honestly, I’m just glad GRTC finally got the top job filled. We’re in a critical moment of Richmond’s transit history—with tons of momentum from our recent investments in transit infrastructure paired with a group of elected leaders that value public transportation. We’ve continued to make transit progress in the region for the last year or so despite the lack of permanent leadership at GRTC and that’s stressful! With new leadership, though, I’m excited to see what we can do. Also, (and maybe also stressful) Timm has an immediate hire to make: GRTC’s Director of Planning, Garland Williams, recently left to take a job as the director of Charlottesville Area Transit. P.S. GRTC’s Director of Communications points out that Richmond’s bus company now has a female CEO, a female COO, and four female directors.

Speaking of transit, here’s an ultra true comic by @shannonprints on Instagram about a brutal fact of bus life: Shade is so, so important.

After months of waiting and looking, I have found the parking study PDF. The important graph, to me at least, is on page 11. It shows that throughout the entire city there’s an over abundance of off-street parking, and, additionally, on-street parking is under used in most neighborhoods—even Downtown. As for its recommendations, I’m not really sure what to make of some of them. The meatiest one, “revise the zoning ordinance as it applies to parking requirements,” where you’d expect to find things like “implement parking maximums” or at least “get rid of parking minimums” is frustratingly vague. The study also recommends getting rid of free parking through some pilot programs, creating parking benefit districts, and launching a shared parking program. I need to talk to a few folks who are smarter than me so I can catch the study’s actual vibe, but I’m at least glad it finally exists.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Justin Mattingly has an update on the Richmond Public Schools rezoning process. I’ve written about the contentious Fox-Cary elementary school pairing before, but must have missed the discussion around possibly pairing Northside’s Holton, Ginter Park, and Obama (probably because I was to busy doing absolutely nothing at the beach for two weeks). I’m kind of amazed at how the parent reaction to this Northside pairing (at least what they chose to print in the paper) is somewhere between chill and excited. You can check out maps of the new options over on Cropper’s site, and you can see the full calendar of public meetings here.

I’m glad someone else saw last night’s epic-looking skies and were able to snag a picture of it. Spooky or soothing? You decide!

This morning's longread

How auto plant closings changed two Michigan communities

This reminds me of the present day story of a small town in Wisconsin selling their figurative souls to build an enormous FoxConn plant. Scary, city-altering stuff.

“That section that GM took for building the plant was the most diverse section in the whole area,” Olechowski said. “There were Latino people, Appalachian folks, Native Americans, black people, Polish people, Russian people, all kinds of folks, and they all got along beautifully. And that’s the greatest crime of all. The whole damn thing was just wiped out as if it were debris. As if it were not an organic living, breathing, pulsating, caring human community. For people who were lower-middle class, working class or in poverty, to them it was a great place to be, and it was about to be destroyed by a corporation.”

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Good morning, RVA: Disparate impact, schools news, and paid family leave

Good morning, RVA: An RPS strategic plan report, a City surplus, and trains & buses.