In-depth feature explores how we got here and some creative solutions to solve one of the West End’s biggest problems.
When Dave Kaechele joined the Henrico County Board of Supervisors in 1980, Broad Street west of the Interstate 64 interchange was a country highway. The intersection with Pouncey Tract Road, an area known as Short Pump, had a convenience store, a greenhouse, an elementary school and a couple of auto parts stores. Farmland stretched for miles around. The main landmark was a muffler shop from which protruded the rear end of an airplane that looked like it had just crashed into the building. People jokingly referred to the crossroads as “downtown Short Pump.”
Thirty-five years later, as Kaechele nears retirement from the board, Short Pump has transformed the geography of western Henrico County. With its strategic location at the confluence of two interstates and a limited-access highway, West Broad became the funnel for commercial growth west of Richmond. Central Virginia’s largest shopping center, Short Pump Town Center, located there. Restaurants and big-box retailers lined the highway. Population surged as subdivisions sprang up all around.
It’s no secret that Short Pump has a traffic congestion problem, but what stood out most to me was just how many traffic accidents–and the ratio of those resulting in injuries–there have been along the West Broad Street corridor.
This article equates to a great in-depth look at how we got here, what’s in the works to address the problems, and creative solutions to ease congestion, rather than continuing to add new lanes of traffic and pavement, which many say will only make things worse.
Photo: Henrico Monthly