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

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

Good morning, RVA! It's 73 °F, and today temperatures will hang out in the mid 80s. While cooler, there’s a pretty good chance of rain throughout today. The weekend weather looks temperate and amazing, though.

Water cooler

Local housing expert and CEO of Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia Heather Crislip has a column in today’s paper about the federal government’s attempts to revise the disparate impact rules as they relate to housing. Preventing policies that seem fair from having a “disparate impact” on certain groups of folks is critically important, and, as Crislip says, disparate impact standards are “one of the few tools we have to root out systemic racism and discrimination.” We deal with this in transportation, too, where changes to a transit system cannot have a disparate impact on people of color or folks with lower incomes. It’s the reason for the equity analysis that went into the recent redesign of Richmond’s bus network (PDF, p. 33) and also the impetus behind this past spring’s Title VI complaint against GRTC. City Lab has a bit more background on the issue as it relates to housing.

Justin Mattingly at the Richmond Times Dispatch has a small update on the Richmond Public Schools rezoning process 💸. He says that the new George Mason Elementary currently under construction in the East End, which is built for 750 students, will only host 422 students under each of the three rezoning options we have at the moment. I don’t know if this is because Cropper—the folks putting together these maps—doesn’t want to count on the new facility opening in time for the 2020 school year or what. I do think, just based on how quickly and substantially the elementary school options on the City’s Northside changed, that the East End’s zoning options are open to changes based on feedback from the public as well. You can give the school district that feedback by letting them know your thoughts, feelings, and concerns via this online form.

Henrico’s schools superintendent gets a $1,200 monthly vehicle stipend?? What the heck kind of vehicle does she need to get around in? I’ve got absolutely zero problem with paying local leaders a ton of money to do what are extremely challenging jobs, but dang. We all know that I’m absolutely clueless when it comes to cars, but $14,400 per year seems like a lot. Maybe its to buy cars for her whole family? Could she use it for bikes and bus fare I wonder? So many questions! The RTD’s C. Suarez Rojas has the details.

The Commonwealth Institute has an interesting blog up about how the lack of paid family and medical leave impacts women of color. Did you know this: “In Virginia, it’s estimated that over half of families are unable to take advantage of unpaid leave through [the federal Family and Medical Leave Act] because they don’t qualify or can’t afford to.” TCI points to a few proposals that this past year’s General Assembly considered, none passed of course, but “discussion about the proposed policy resulted in a bipartisan agreement to form a work group to further study the issue.” That’s something, I guess.

Streets reminder! This Saturday a ton of people on bikes will take part in the Virginia Credit Union Moonlight Ride (you can even still sign up you and yours). What this means for folks not participating in one of Richmond’s most fun and chil bike-related events, is that streets on the Northside will close around 5:00 PM on Saturday, and, of course, there will be a ton of additional people on bikes scattered throughout the area. Please pay extra attention if you need to make your way through the nieghborhood, and keep an eye on the GRTC twitter account for possible bus detours.

This morning's patron longread

How Segregation Caused Your Traffic Jam

Submitted by Patron Suzanne. This is also the story in Richmond. After the federal government ended segregation by schools, the state and local governments looked for a work around and found it in the highway system. Even today we see highway-building have similar results when local jurisdictions use tens of millions of dollars of federal and state highway money to build massive streets for drivers while refusing to pay for even the most basic bus service.

This intertwined history of infrastructure and racial inequality extended into the 1950s and 1960s with the creation of the Interstate highway system. The federal government shouldered nine-tenths of the cost of the new Interstate highways, but local officials often had a say in selecting the path. As in most American cities in the decades after the Second World War, the new highways in Atlanta — local expressways at first, then Interstates — were steered along routes that bulldozed “blighted” neighborhoods that housed its poorest residents, almost always racial minorities. This was a common practice not just in Southern cities like Jacksonville, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, Richmond and Tampa, but in countless metropolises across the country, including Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Syracuse and Washington.

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

Good morning, RVA: RTD on board?, big density energy in Scott’s Addition, and the 12 season of Virginia

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