A look at the proposed Floyd Avenue “bike boulevard”

Traffic circles, bump outs, a new name, and maybe a traffic diverter.

Bicycle pedaling foot

Update #6 — September 9, 2014; 11:09 AM

From Councilman Parker C. Agelasto this morning.

During its meeting last night, City Council accepted funds from the Virginia Department of Transportation for the proposed Floyd Avenue Bike Boulevard. While funds have been set aside, the design is still under review. The Urban Design Committee made recommendations to alter the proposal east of Meadow Street. The Planning Commission is scheduled to hear the proposal and make recommendation at its next meeting on September 15 at 1:30 pm in the 5th Floor Conference Room at City Hall.

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Update #5 — July 17, 2014; 9:58 AM

Make sure you read the full FAQ distributed by the city (PDF).

Some highlights:

The term “bike boulevard” seems to imply vehicle restrictions. Can we call it something else?

“RVA Bike-Walk Street” is the term being used by the City and the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission. The intent and nature of the project does not change with the name. We heard from the community that “bike boulevard” seemed to send a confusing message to people. “RVA Bike-Walk Street” is also the term used in the context of the City’s ongoing bicycle master plan.

Why not stripe bike lanes on Floyd Avenue?

Bike lanes are typically installed on busier streets with a mix of land uses. Residential streets can be designed to accommodate both motorized and non-motorized traffic safely in the street. Additionally, striped bike lanes would require either removing parking on at least one side of the street, or widening the road. Both of these options were counter to the community vision of Floyd Avenue.

When driving/bicycling/walking up to an intersection, I often can’t see over/around parked cars. Will any of the recommended designs improve line of sight?

Yes. Bump-outs are proposed at Auburn Avenue, Belmont Avenue (side street approaches only), Harrison Street, Linden Street, and Cherry Street. It is important to note that parking cars legally will dramatically improve sight distance (i.e. public safety) at other intersections.

If more people are walking and biking, who will clean up after dogs?

People are responsible for cleaning up after their own pets.

Will my neighbors make excessive noise riding bikes?

Not compared to the noise their vehicle would make. Reducing noise pollution is one of the many benefits of a bike-friendly transportation network.

Will all the VCU students start biking on Floyd Avenue?

Probably not. But before-and-after studies of projects like this often show an increase in bike ridership by people living along the street. So you may see your neighbors riding bikes more often.

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Update #4 — July 16, 2014; 12:17 PM

Last night the City released a look at the proposed Floyd Avenue “bike boulevard,” which you’ll most likely hear referred to as a “bike-walk street” from here on out. The plan includes traffic circles, bump outs, and possibly a vehicle diverter. Also of note is the reconfiguration of the five-way intersection at Floyd Avenue and Morris Street.

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Update #3 — July 10, 2014; 6:00 AM

Following a series of public meetings seeking input from residents and business owners alike, Richmond City Council members Charles Samuels, Jon Baliles, and Parker Agelasto will reveal a conceptual plan for the proposed Floyd Avenue ‘Bike Boulevard’ next week.

The plan, which takes into account feedback received from the public, will be presented Tuesday, July 15th at the Virginia Historical Society at 428 North Boulevard.

Council members say their goal of the latest meeting is to continue the conversation with the community and pave the way for a bicycle corridor that will run from VCU to Carytown and ultimately “increase livability along Floyd Avenue in Richmond, Virginia by enhancing biking and walking ease, enjoyment and opportunity…”

The meeting is open to the public and begins at 6:30 PM. For more information contact Marianne Pitts at 804.646.6532 or via email.

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Update #2 — May 5, 2014; 2:19 PM

City officials will hold a public meeting May 19th to discuss a project that would turn a large stretch of Floyd Avenue into a bike boulevard (see bottommost post).

Councilmen Charles Samuels, Parker Agelasto, and Jon Baliles will join representatives of the Department of Public Works and Traffic Engineering in presenting the concept of turning Floyd Avenue between Thompson Street and Monroe Park into a preferred route for bicycle and pedestrian traffic, while still accommodating low-speed motor vehicle traffic.

More info on the proposed project is here (PDF). According to the City, here’s the plan in a nutshell:

The project is looking at modifying Floyd Avenue by considering the use of motor vehicle traffic-calming measures such as mini traffic circles, chicanes, speed cushions, and traffic diverters. These facilities will discourage cut-through motor-vehicle traffic, but allow local motor-vehicle traffic, while also facilitating safe, efficient bicycle and pedestrian travel along the corridor.

Jakob Helmboldt – the City’s Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Trails Coordinator – said the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has already provided partial funding for the plan. Last month, VDOT approved the concept and notified the City to proceed with its development.

At the upcoming meeting, the City’s engineering consultant will present traffic and parking data, along with proposed design elements of the plan.

Fan and Museum District residents are especially encouraged to attend the meeting on Monday, May 19th at 6:30 PM at the Virginia Historical Society.

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Update #1 — October 29, 2013; 7:14 AM

Representatives from the City, RideRichmond, and Sports Backers’ Bike Walk RVA will be on hand this Saturday to discuss ways to make Floyd Avenue better suited for bicycling, walking, and driving during a “mobile open house” that will segue into a formal discussion at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

City officials are hoping to turn a two-mile stretch of Floyd Avenue from VCU Monroe Park to Carytown into a bicycle boulevard, a low-speed street that makes it easier for bicyclists and pedestrians to traverse by dissuading vehicular traffic (see below). Last night, a City Council vote allowed the plan to move forward.

Proponents of the bicycle boulevard will discuss ways to improve Floyd Avenue alongside local residents and interested Richmonders this Saturday. The discussion begins at 10:00 AM at Monroe Park when bicyclists, joggers, and walkers will travel up Floyd Avenue, discussing the pros and cons of the proposed project. The discussion will continue at 12:00 PM at the VMFA’s Leslie Cheek Theater until 2:00 PM. Free bike valet will be provided in the museum’s E. Clairborne and Lora Robins Sculpture Garden.

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Original — October 14, 2013

Jakob Helmboldt, Richmond’s first Pedestrian, Bicycle, & Trails Coordinator, is working hard on two projects that target the City’s “interested but concerned” demographic. That’s what studies show to be roughly 60 percent of the population; people who are interested in riding their bicycle for transportation purposes (as opposed to recreation), but are concerned about their safety while doing so.

Helmboldt said their safety concerns can be mitigated with strategically-designed, well-placed bicycle routes that better (and more safely) integrate with existing vehicular traffic. The City has two such plans it’s designing that may be ready in Spring 2015.

Floyd Avenue Bicycle Boulevard

The first plan would convert a two-mile stretch of Floyd Avenue (PDF) running from VCU Monroe Park Campus to Carytown into what’s called a bicycle boulevard, or a low-speed street designed to give priority to bicyclists and pedestrians. The use of chokers, small roundabouts, and curb extensions (or bulb-outs) are typically used. Other cities like Portland have incorporated curb extensions with bioswales, patches of plants and rock to filter out impurities from storm water runoff before the water enters the sewer system, to make curb extensions both aesthetic and functional.

“It’s really about making a really nice neighborhood street,” Helmboldt said. That street would not only look better, but would give bicyclists and pedestrians safer access to it, while accommodating automobile traffic. He and other City officials will soon reach out to Floyd Avenue residents to initiate community discussions at an upcoming meeting on October 23rd at Binford Middle School. Helmboldt said he looks forward to the public interaction. “Your best projects come out of that collaboration between the community and the City,” he said.

Cycle track

The second bicycle project will connect a two-mile stretch between VCU Monroe Park Campus and Capital Square in the form of a cycle track.

While not a “track” in the common sense of the word, cycle tracks segregate bicyclists from motorists. “It’s a barrier-protected bike lane,” Helmboldt said. The barriers typically come in the form of short concrete walls, sidewalks, or parked cars. The City is most interested in the latter.

Bicyclists typically ride down streets with moving vehicular traffic on one side and parked cars on the other. Not only are bicyclists in danger of colliding with a moving vehicle, they also run the risk of being doored by a parked car.

Cycle track map

Map of the proposed cycle track (click to enlarge)

But in a cycle track that uses parked cars as a barrier, parked cars on the street move over from the sidewalk’s edge. Bicyclists then ride in a lane between the parked cars and sidewalk. In addition, these cycle tracks often create a buffer space between the bicyclists and parked cars to minimize the chance of dooring.

The proposed cycle track would stretch from VCU Monroe Park Campus down Main Street to Capital Square, and would return to VCU campus via Franklin Street.1

Cost and feasibility

Helmboldt said the Floyd Avenue Bicycle Boulevard Plan will cost approximately $500,000, and the cycle track $300,000. But with luck, the City will only pay a fraction of the costs.

That’s because the City will submit their plans to both the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Richmond area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in the form of funding applications. Those organizations have federal money to allocate to multimodal projects in the region, granting the City 80 percent of the total costs for each project. Of the estimated $800,000 total for both projects, the City would only pay $160,0002 if its applications are approved.

The City will submit those funding applications to VDOT and the MPO by November 1st. In January 2014, the City will have to show the MPO that it’s done its due diligence and rallied public support for the projects, particularly for the Floyd Avenue bicycle boulevard.

Funding awards are handed out in April 2014. Helmboldt said that if all goes well, construction could start “in earnest” in early 2015, ahead of the 2015 UCI Road World Championship. Helmboldt encouraged those who support the projects to lobby their city council member.

While admitting there’s much work to be done, Helmboldt is optimistic that the projects will materialize. “If we can keep it on track, I think this can all go forward,” he said.

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Footnotes

  1. He’d like the cycle track eventually extended beyond Capital Square into Shockoe Bottom. 
  2. $100,000 for the bicycle boulevard and $60,000 for the cycle track. 

photo by Luca Violetto

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50 comments on A look at the proposed Floyd Avenue “bike boulevard”

  1. downtown-watch on said:

    Anyone who bikes this route regularly knows the easier way is Grace (W) – Frankin (E), or Grace (W) – Broad (E). Its much flatter, and the traffic, at least on Grace, moves much slower.

  2. paul hammond on said:

    A segregated bike lane, sounds great.

  3. Thomas on said:

    This is excellent, glad to see we’re actually making progress towards this. Next we need bikeshare, it would definitely be icing on the cake to have a bike share system like DC.

  4. Why Floyd ave? Why decide on that road Without resident input? Why joy monument, which has 2 lanes each way a nd could give ho a lane to bikes without causing additional congestion on neighboring streets. This has been a horribly mismanaged idea and those affected have been left out if the process!

  5. We also need to connect the major routes to Northside and Woodland Heights. All the neighborhoods should be integrated in the long run. A lot of people ride from Northside into town to work and shop.

  6. Nancy on said:

    Love the ideas and sounds like a great beginning. About time Richmond cyclists got some of what they deserve. I would ride my bike to work, and be a lot healthier for it, if it weren’t so dangerous.

  7. Old90'sCourier on said:

    Any sort of reduction in parking in The Fan is not a good solution. Even with the lack of enforcing the 20’ rule that would remove a ton of spaces at every intersection, including alleys and crosswalks, there isn’t enough parking.

    As for safety- how about a little police presence in The Fan? Ever see anybody get stopped for blowing past a stop sign or speeding? Or cyclist? The Fan doesn’t have the room for separate physical bike lanes so the only recourse is to make the roads safer through education and enforcement. This goes for Drivers, Cyclist and Pedestrians.

  8. freddy2006rva on said:

    @beth: go get on a road bike and ride down Monument Avenue all the way from Boulevard to Lombardy. Your ass will make clear to you why no one wants to ride on Monument.

  9. freddy2006rva on said:

    @Old90’sCourier: hmmm, I wonder why everyone thinks there’s not enough parking. Geee, parking on the street is free. If McDonald’s gave away free Big Mac’s they’d probably run out really fast and everyone who couldn’t get one would complain, and everyone who went to get one would complain about the long lines and waits to get a Big Mac and everyone would think that McDonald’s was a terribly run company because they couldn’t provide all those free Big Mac’s. Well, free parking works the same way. Too much demand, too little supply and no price signals make for a terrible outcome. Price the parking and you’ll solve that problem. Why should the city be subsidizing free on street parking when there are much better uses for that space?

  10. downtown-watch on said:

    RE: Old90’sCourier: The plan for Floyd Ave would not eliminate any parking so hold your horses-

  11. JohnQ on said:

    Step 1, before any street changes or money spent, should be to teach and enforce the traffic laws that bikers must obey. Living on Floyd for 10 years, I am shocked when a biker does stop at a stoplight/sign.

    We should not be giving over an entire 2 mile street to people who refuse to operate their vehicles in a lawful manner.

  12. JohnQ on said:

    @freddy2006rva: by your logical, we shall then charge for every city tree and sign to which a bike chained. I shall put meters on the fence in front our building. Careful what you wish for….

  13. David Poole on said:

    I’m a bit confused about proposed layout on Franklin/Main. What will the purpose of the three remaining lanes — 2 for parking, 1 for travel or 2 for travel, 1 for parking?

  14. Cate on said:

    When I moved here in 1976, Floyd Ave had painted bike lanes. I have no idea when they disappeared.

  15. onelasttime on said:

    @JohnQ

    By parity of reasoning, let’s hold back on any road improvements until we teach and enforce the laws motorists must obey. I am shocked (not really) every time I see a motorist speeding, failing to stop at a stop sign, and fail to yield to a pedestrian with right of way (I also live on Floyd).

  16. downtown-watch on said:

    Dear JohnQ:

    Step 1, before any street changes or money spent, should be to teach and enforce the traffic laws that drivers must obey. Living on Floyd for 10 years, I am shocked when a driver does stop at a stoplight/sign.

    We should not be giving over an entire 2 mile street to people who refuse to operate their cars in a lawful manner.

  17. Michael on said:

    Hey I live on Floyd too!

    Cars are always creeping through the stop signs on Sheppard and getting T-Boned. It’s not their fault. You can’t see or a car will be illegally parked on the corner, so you Really can’t see.

    I think the bumpouts are a great idea. It might save a life or at least a few injuries.

  18. Sid del Cardayre on said:

    Re: freddy2006RVA
    I guess you may be some aprtment-renting hippie or something, but parking is not “free” in the highest real.estate-tax-per-foot area in the city. Plus we have to pay $35 PER YEAR (Exhorbitatnt!) just to keep you and your hippie friends from parking in OUR spaces. Sheesh.

  19. Stephen on said:

    Re: Sid del Cardayre

    $35 a year parking permit breaks down to 9 cents a day, or 3/100 of a cent an hour. That’s not really “Exhorbitatnt” (whatever that means).

    A bike boulevard like this would be a great way to keep those “aprtment-renting” hippies from taking your penny parking space when they go to class.

  20. freddy2006rva on said:

    Sid, it shouldn’t matter who I am or my socioeconomic status or lifestyle. I’m a citizen of the city of Richmond and therefore have just as much right to that curb space as you do. Oh and yeah your real estate taxes are high because you live in a HIGHLY DESIRABLE AREA that is easily accessible and has good schools. Cry me a river that you have to pay a little more for the privilege. Oh and $35 A YEAR is ridiculously low. An equivalent amount of land area would cost at least $1000 a year on the private market in that area.

  21. Julius Seizure on said:

    I hope more Floyd residents resist the plan so the changes can be implemented where they have the most benefit: Main Street. Outside of the VCU campus, Main Street has by far the largest number of pedestrians because they’re going to restaurants, bars, and shops. The more customers and employees that can be convinced to travel by bike, the better it will be for the area to attract business from outside town – people who right now are less likely to come out because the parking sucks.

    This is a Bike/Walk/traffic calming project, not just a couple of bike lanes. Like it or not, pedestrians on Main are more likely to be have their vision and motor skills impaired, especially at night. Slowing down the cars on Main is a necessity. All the benefits to commuters that could be achieved on Floyd would be achieved on Main, except current and future businesses will also benefit from the changes. There would still be cars and parking on Main, but the emphasis on pedestrians and bicyclists will actually do what the Richmond Planning commission claims it wants to do – provide economic stimulation. You don’t get that on Floyd. Richmond’s “Main Street” could be just that. Right now it’s pretty much an expressway.

  22. Thomas on said:

    The coolest way to get from Carytown to Capitol Square! The prospect of riding a bike down Floyd to Monroe Park and onwards to the state capitol without getting killed is fantastic, I wholly support this.

  23. downtown-watch on said:

    I live downtown and pay $50 a month for the privilege of parking my car, and usually not using it. The only reason the rate is so CHEAP is because I’m grandfathered in- the same space now costs over $100. So no, $35 a YEAR is not expensive at all-

  24. Willis on said:

    Hey guess what? I live in Manchester and never park in the fan, but since it’s PUBLIC property and all, and I pay taxes too, guess what? Everyone is paying for your parking space just indirectly through taxes. Being that the case, maybe we would like to see this PUBLIC space used for something that benefits the general public i.e- like a bike blvd.

  25. Jacob K on said:

    Alot of problems would be allayed if VCU students/(student parents really) were forced to pay for parking of some sort if they aren’t living in the dorms or in the fan. The permitting process for folks living in the fan is a pain as is anything dealing with City Hall. They really need to put satellite offices for the city with plenty of parking when they tear down the diamond. Parking near old city Hall either difficult or insanely expensive.

    I love the bike lane ideas but I would argue Hanover is actually a much less used street then Floyd, is visually pleasant and has Fox Elem. on it which would be a great place to slow down traffic.

  26. freddy2006rva on said:

    Jacob,
    I agree Hanover is a beautiful street and a joy to ride on. Unfortunately it dead ends at Boulevard (VMFA) and merges into Park Ave before VCU. Park Ave then turns into the cluster mess at Shafer Court which makes it a pain to bike all the way through to Monroe Park and onto downtown. Floyd gets you west of the Boulevard and east of VCU and connects to all the places in between easily without all the speed and volume of auto traffic on Main and Cary.

  27. @Julius You make a decent point that Main Street desperately needs formal bike infrastructure – its a major thoroughfare that should be accessible by all modes, and it would better display “bike-friendliness” to visitors since most of them won’t end up on Floyd. The reason they are focusing on Floyd is that it would have the least impact on car traffic (an attitude that needs to change anyway for the city be become more bike friendly). All the same, I wonder if we should JUST BUILD THE THING and get the ball rolling toward improving other streets.

  28. poguemahone on said:

    It’s worth pointing out that the proposed lanes on Main are not separated from traffic at all. Most accidents take place at intersections, and if you’re hiding cyclists behind parked cars prior to the intersections, you’re actually creating a more dangerous environment for cyclists. They’ll have to take away a lot of parking on Main to make this work. “Separated” and “Protected” are misnomers when discussing this type of bike lane, and I wish advocates would stop using them. The bike boulevard on Floyd sounds like an excellent idea, however.

  29. Bob Johnson on said:

    Main St. present day:
    People driving in excess of 40 mph, cars parked illegally so you can’t safely cross, people riding bikes against traffic and drunk drivers.
    Adding a bike lane sounds like a bad idea to me.

  30. Mike C on said:

    I’m a Floyd Avenue resident, 2100 block. Anybody have a sense of what this would do to property values on Floyd? I’m guessing it would improve them, but not sure.

  31. Thomas on said:

    As a biker, I would much prefer this. Bikers and pedestrians are practically treated like second-class citizens in our car-centric world. Hopefully that’ll change one day.

  32. It’s my understanding that only a few corner parking spaces will be eliminated on each block. This really isn’t a big deal as ‘corner parking’ is technically illegal, but is rarely if ever enforced. I’m a Floyd resident and believe that this proposal will cut down on through traffic and it eventually will raise property values. I hope the NIMBY’s don’t pop up out of the woodwork and shout down everyone else and force Mr. Samuels into kowtowing as he is want to do.

  33. Jen on said:

    I wish we had a city government that discussed things that generate real jobs instead of bicycle races, ball parks, and beer festivals. As long as Parker Agelasto gets his street closed to through traffic I guess everyone will be happy. It will be a lot nicer than the Taj Mahal alley. He can sit out on his new porch and get drunk. It’s good to be the king.

  34. Zach on said:

    @Jen – What are your top three suggestions, then?

  35. Melissa Savenko on said:

    I live and work in the Fan. And I own a home on Floyd. I think at a bare minimum the City needs to poll Floyd property owners and see what they want. Eliminating parking on Floyd will decrease property values for those home owners that do not have off-street parking. And why un the world are we spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to eliminate parking on a street that is already parking-challenged, so we can connect one dead end location to another dead end location, NOT connect to the other bike infrastructure, which I thought was the entire point?

  36. freddy2006rva on said:

    Melissa,
    Do we only poll residents and property owners along Broad Street when we want to make changes to the streetscape there? No we ask the public at large because its a public asset for everyone. Also, evidence from other communities shows that bike/walk streets like the one proposed actually increase property values. And the proposal is not a “dead end” at each end, it connect major destinations in the city, VCU, Carytown, the Fan, the Museums, and with connections via Grove and Laurel to other bike routes it will be part of a major east-west bicycle route across the entire city! Look beyond your own front door (and the parking spot you think you own in front of your house) and consider the importance to the entire city.

  37. martha bock on said:

    Well, I mostly agree w/ Melissa. It is speculation as to an increase in property values and certainly may be a decrease in same if parking spaces are eliminated. When one pays Richmond City one of the highest real estate tax rates in the surrounding area and those taxes pay for city services, then one expects on-street parking, for one’s self or ones’ guests. Additionally one expects good money management by city council of both Floyd Ave residents’ taxes as well as any taxes paid to the feds and used by the city for this new 2 mile Floyd Ave Park that city council in conjunction w/ SportsBackers wants to create as a showcase for 2015 UCI Road World Championship or for the convenience of students biking to school . There are many other concerns for better use of residents’ tax $$$ (besides parking) that include city-wide potholes. RPS, poorly maintained alley-ways, sewers that overflow, etc. These have gone unaddressed in any meeting I’ve attended.

    When residents have to huddle around tables in the back of a room (May 19th), adding concerns and questions in the margins of a paper layout showing our block, while a young student walks from table to table adding as his comment “Ban all cars”, have residents voices really been heard. I thought we were told that we would receive via email all concerns and questions presented at that meeting. While that may have been done in the 2nd and 1st, I have not seen this from the 5th.

    And is the city willing to subsidize each citizen’s current insurance w/ additional coverage since the # of cyclists and the chances of accidents between auto/biker increases proportionally, even if the biker is at fault (ask your insurance agent). Will we be required to provide shelters to protect environmentally exposed cyclists that will take even more room on a city block.

    Will we be required to volunteer to maintain the two mile Floyd Ave Park since the city doesn’t maintain other city parks. We have yet to hear a concrete (not speculative) advantage for us, the tax paying residents. As at least one local Politician knows, failure to listen to constituents can have repercussions at the ballot box.

  38. Aaron on said:

    You make a statement saying it’s speculation regarding property values and then speculate regarding obscure predictions of increases insurance rates? If anything, a bike boulevard’s whole intended purpose is to reduce the chances of accidents between autos and bicycles, by slowing vehicles down, and reducing the number of bikes on busier streets like Main and Cary. And I keep seeing comments about losing parking, but don’t see how the plans will reduce parking. At least not legal spots. There may be curb bump-outs at intersections, but the code of Virginia prohibits parking within 20 feet of an intersection so those areas are not legal parking spots anyway. I just don’t get it. If I lived on Floyd I would be really happy to see fewer cars using my street as a main route.

    Also, the arguments about how this money should be spent on something else like potholes or alley or sewers are misplaced. 80% of the funding is coming from federal grants that are specifically for multi-modal transportation projects. So We can either use this money for something like a bike boulevard, or not use it. It can’t be spent on fixing your alley, or potholes. I too pay real estate taxes to the city, and I’m happy that my tax dollars will be spent on a safe bicycle route through the fan. If I’m riding my bike down Floyd, just realize that I’m one less car driving down your street. One less car trying to steal your precious parking space.

  39. Frustrated Floyd on said:

    As a resident and property owner on Floyd Avenue, I think that any planning towards making this neighborhood and the city more pedestrian and bike-friendly should be welcomed. After all, the main draw of the Fan is its ability to offer its residents great ammenities (restaurants, parks, retail) that are all accessible without having to drive a car. That being said, I think that the city’s handling of this project, and Fan parking in general, leaves much to be desired.

    The myriad of parking related issues that plague the Fan (before you consider massively reconfiguring a main thoroughfare and parking source) need attention and resolution before undertaking such an abitious project.

    I live in the VCU area of the fan where a Fan parking pass is require on virtually every block, but since the 50-yard stretch of street in front of my house is not zoned for Fan parking, the city will not allow me to purchase a parking pass. So the only place that i can park my car wihtout incurring costly parking tickets (of which I have received more than a few) is that 50-yard strech which invariably is always full because no pass is required.

    So while the city planners discuss their pie-in-the-sky urban sustatinable multimodal transportation project (which due to budget constraints, bureaucratic ineffectiveness, and public pushback will be compromised and marginalized until the end result hardly reflects the ambitious plan) I’ m forced to play cat and mouse with the parking ticket enforcers from the time I get home from work until 9pm.

    This is just my experience; I’m sure other residents of Floyd Ave and the Fan have their own unique and frustrating problems with parking. Unfortunately, addressing these current issues is not as glamorous as spending half a million dollars to make Richmond the hippest city around.

  40. onelasttime on said:

    @Frustrated

    The only parking problems the Fan has are the same ones that every other desirable, lively, and cohesive rowhouse neighborhood has: 1) A lack of pricing and 2) residents who unrealistically expect to be able to park within a block or so of their homes at all times.
    The issue of parking is a red herring to delay the introduction of a small piece of bike infrastructure to our automobile dominated city. The proposal doesn’t remove any parking.

  41. Sid on said:

    Not surprising at all that the meeting last night doesn’t even merit an update on Fan of the Fan. The ‘Plan’ as it turned out, is so watered down that it’s really just a landscape beautification proposal with little means to slow down or divert traffic. The elimination of four-way stops may in fact make the trip down Floyd quicker! The fact that some folks on Floyd were so up in arms about this (some still are) is just staggering.

  42. Eddie Spaghetti on said:

    It is watered down, but think of it as more of a Phase 1 plan. Let the residents get used to some of the features and see the benefits for a while, then add more when the community is ready. A compromise was necessary, but like you I wanted a little more bike safety and car diversion features.

  43. James on said:

    I agree with @Sid, it’s just a beautification project. Take a drive down Westbrook with its plantings in the middle of the road. People don’t slow down. It’s just a way to hone one’s Le Mans driving skills. I’d much rather ride my bike with a car going straight than one swerving.

  44. Chris on said:

    After attending the meeting and speaking with my council member, I would argue that the proposal, as it stands, is a half measure. Limited more by political will than money or efficacy, the plan strips out more effective means of reducing higher speed through traffic and over emphasizes the non impact to parking. With only 60% favoring traffic diverts, yes the majority actually supports the safer solution, we’ll be getting the slightly more popular traffic obstructions known as neighborhood circles. The only saving grace is assurances that there may be a phase two if desired. It seems that the only confirmed goal is to spend 500K without upsetting about a hundred residents. When questioned about reducing car traffic, reducing car speed, increasing visibility, increasing bike traffic, and increasing safety, the answers seemed tailored to placate the individuals asking. To be fair, there were traffic study numbers, opinion polls, and other relevant stats on the proposed measures. What was lacking in all the hyperbole was a cogent idea of the problems addressed and how the solutions will be measured.

    On the issue of parking, I was rather disturbed to hear Charles Samuels admit that there is a tacit agreement with RPD not to ticket according to state and local law on distances from curbs and crosswalks. Since when did personal convenience outweigh public safety? If the public is so perturbed that a public official should make this concession, we should have the fortitude to change the law. Whether his count of 2000 illegal parking spaces is correct, one sure way to make intersections safer is to enforce the laws we already have. Further, if this or any other multimodal/public transit plan is ever to be taken seriously as a viable alternative, thereby reducing the need for non resident parking, we should probably stop undermining them with examples like this.

  45. Aaron on said:

    Well stated Chris.

    I had high hopes for this plan but in its current state I don’t think it’s going to encourage more cyclists to use it over other roads, and I don’t think going to slow or discourage vehicular traffic. Eventually, motorists are just going to complain about the circles in their way and the city will end up removing them. Making the whole project a complete waste of money.

    I think doing nothing is a better and more cost-effective solution than this plan.

  46. Aaron on said:

    As I think about it more. Simply enforcing the law regarding parking within 20 feet of an intersection would do more for bike and pedestrian safety than anything in this plan.

  47. Chris on said:

    More to the point Arron, if this is truly a phased plan then surely there are a few thousand dollars to spare to paint the street and curbs along the entirety of Floyd with proper cross walks and hashed no parking areas to represent both the physical impact of the plan and the currently unenforced parking distances. The photos with traffic cones did a great job of informing the general public and those who haven’t seen the recent construction in carytown, of what a “bump-out” is. However, I think painting the street and enforcing the law for just a month would do far more to benefit drivers, bikers , and pedestrians of the value this project holds. Far more benefit than those sharrows will ever bring.

  48. Sid on said:

    This is a classic RVA saga. A progressive concept is watered down in order to make it more palatable to some (some, not all!) of the residents on Floyd Ave because we just can’t have a protest. Even the 60 percent in favor of diverters from the 1st comment meeting wasn’t good enough. 80 to 90 percent in favor of the beautification concept as presented Tuesday night might not be good enough. Style is reporting Samuels as reluctant and stating “It’s not a done deal”. Okay then, what’s good enough Chuck? 100% support?
    Remember that Charles Samuels was President of the FDA some years ago. He’s beholden to a group of well-known cranks and neighborhood activists in the Fan and these people rear their heads from time to time. Case in point…a well-known lawsuit wielding activist (he’s chimed in here) has come out against the bike walk street for Floyd Ave, for no other reason than just to be an irritant. Get this though….he doesn’t live or own property in the Fan! This is why Richmond will never have anything nice.
    When is the next Council election?

  49. Charles on said:

    If the alternative is a bike boulevard or banning parking as it is in the fan, and wrecking the area, forget the bike boulevard, lets just ban all bikes and make them walk instead. Frankly, I support cycling in theory, but the way people bike in Richmond makes me think we might be better off if we just made it illegal…

  50. tiny on said:

    These traffic circles will be similar to the ones installed on E. Marshall and E. Clay at 29th and 31st streets in Church Hill – which have been a dismal failure. They pulled up the 4-way stop signs, which honestly, most people do stop at, and replaced them with these circles. Now, no one ever needs to stop at all, and traffic blows through them at high speeds to avoid the stop signs on the other streets. Further more, every one seems confused about how they work, and it isn’t getting any better. I live by these two circles, and they have created a DANGER to cars, pedestrians, and cyclists. At intersections, pedestrians and cyclist need traffic STOPPING measures, not traffic calming measures. I support traffic calming, but I do not support removing stop signs and replacing them with circles. Giant waste of money that does not solve the problem.

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