It appears that until the city grants a liability easement to the property owner this will be the case.
Update #2 — May 15, 2014; 8:41 AM
Last minute scrambling by the city means that the trail will be open and there will not be any re-routing of the Dominion Riverrocks race.
Instead, Richmond agreed Wednesday to add the owners of a crucial property at the south end of Boulevard Bridge to its liability insurance policies for a year to allow time to work out a permanent easement for public access to trails on their land.
“I feel like this is a step in the right direction,” said Josh Rogers, who, with his wife, Carrie, had informed festival organizers and city officials that they no longer would allow public access from Westover Hills Boulevard through their property to the city’s Buttermilk Trail in James River Park.
“If they do that, I’m certainly happy to let (the trails) remain open,” Rogers said.
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Update #1 — May 14, 2014; 12:33 PM
We were alerted that the homeowners have responded on Facebook and thought it was worth sharing.
Thank you all for posting this update. And thanks to everyone for getting involved in helping to get this easement established.
My husband and I are the property owners involved in this issue. We have been trying to establish a recreational easement with the city since 2007. Other cities, like Roanoke, have them, but Richmond has not been responsive to our requests.
Our goal is to continue to make the trail available for everyone to use and enjoy, but we cannot continue to assume 100% liability for the thousands of trail users every year.
Please let the city know how much the trail means to you by contacting them at the number JROC has been kind enough to provide.
We have also set up a page at rvatrails.org to answer your questions.
Once we establish this easement, it is our hope that more landowners will allow the city easements so that our amazing trail system can continue to expand and be fun–and safe–for all.
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Original — May 14, 2014
The section of trail in question is pictured above and can be seen on this online map posted on RVA More, a local bicycle advocacy group that spends countless hours riding and working to improve local trails.
On Facebook, Richmond More explains why this is happening and asks that all trail users respect the property owner’s decision.
The owner of the property west of the Boulevard Bridge has been working with the city for the past 6 years asking the city to give a liability easement for the property that Buttermilk is on. They are asking the city to accept that liability just like they do in all the park areas. A fence will be erected to block access.
Last fall the Mayor agreed to an easement and asked the city attorney to work on it. The city worked on it internally last winter, but has not contacted the owner. Since the city has not acted the owner has decided to deny access to their property. This can be quickly resolved with a written agreement.
Contact the Mayor’s office and your city council member.
Plan on jumping across the road or riding up Riverside to cross Westover Hills Boulevard at the top of the hill.
Please respect the request of the owner of this property.
The trail issue came to our attention from the following post on James River Outdoor Coalition Facebook.
ATTENTION PARK USERS & CITIZENS
As of this morning access to the Boulevard Bridge connecting the Buttermilk trail is no longer available to the public. The parcel owners have requested the city to create a conservation easement for the area to be used for recreation. The city has not moved on this. Until this happens there will no longer be a continuous loop connecting Buttermilk and Northbank in the JRP.
Please call the Mayor’s office at
804-646-0970804-646-7970 and share how this issue affects you.
JROC also in the comments mentions the affect on Dominon Riverrock festival which could impact traffic around 1:00 PM on Saturday.
We were told a fence will be erected most likely before the weekend. Dominion Riverrock has rerouted their race course to come up the East Side of the Boulevard. Traffic will be stopped during the race to allow bikers to access the sidewalk on the west side.