Proposed pedestrian crossing changes to Forest Hill and Roanoke – Bike Walk RVA says it’s not enough

Painted crosswalks and new light up crosswalks signage.

Update #1 — March 21, 2014; 10:18 AM

Bike Walk RVA has brought up an excellent point. In the proposal above you can see that pedestrians won’t have the “luxury” of lights during rush hour, 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. This means that commuters using public busses won’t be able to easily cross and the same goes for those that want to gain access to Forest Hill Park.

To get the message to city hall Bike Walk RVA has created an online form that allows citizens to voice their opposition to the plan as it now stands. Copy from the form below.

I am writing to urge Department of Public Works to prioritize pedestrian access and safely in the Forest Hill neighborhood. It is my understanding that the proposed intersection design of Forest Hill Ave and Roanoke St would not give pedestrians a protected “walk” signal during rush hour (4 to 6 PM), when traffic volumes are highest and a protected crossing is most critical. Furthermore, people who are sight- or mobility-impaired would be at even greater risk, just to cross the street.

The community wants a street where people are comfortable walking and biking with their family, friends, and neighbors for fun and transportation; where traffic is calmed and non-threatening; and where people can safely walk or bike to homes and businesses along Forest Hill Avenue. “Scheduled crossing times” should not be part of the City of Richmond’s treatment of its pedestrians on any project in the city.

I understand the Forest Hill Neighborhood Association voted to send the proposal back to Public Works for change. Please take this opportunity to make the right decision for pedestrians living along this corridor that will invite people to walk to the park and local businesses from their nearby homes. The intersection of Forest Hill Ave and Roanoke St needs safe access for pedestrians to the park and to GRTC bus stops, and should protect pedestrians crossing Forest Hill Ave at all times of day.

Thank you for your support,

— ∮∮∮ —

Original — March 17, 2014

These changes will be discussed at tonight’s Tuesday’s, March 18th, Forest Hill Neighborhood Association meeting at 7 PM at the Forest Hill Presbyterian Church.

The intersection was the subject of debate going back to 2009 and the city and VDOT recommended the installation of a traffic circle. The proposal was dead on arrival to the community, Friends of Forest Hill Park Board voted 5-3 (not 100% sure of numbers) to oppose and the Forest Hill Neighborhood Association voted about 40-1 to oppose.

Original article about the traffic circle proposal being shelved. Unfortunately the links to the original traffic circle proposal have expired.

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Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Grace on said:

    Meeting is tomorrow, March 18th, not tonight!

  2. There are so many ways to calm traffic and increase pedestrian safety. Have Friends of Forest Hill Park Board or the Forest Hill Neighborhood Association considered radar speed warning signs? More information on those can be found, here:

  3. Jan on said:

    I’m hopefull that something will be done about this intersection, its near impossible to cross there as pedestrian. I don’t really understand the community opposition to traffic circles (?) seems like that would be a good spot for one.

  4. Geo on said:

    Unless you have a light, do you think any motorists will let you cross at a circle rather than a crosswalk. Look at 41st and 43rd streets. Maybe one in five cars stop at the flashing lights to let pedestrians cross.

  5. Angela on said:

    This is a hit or miss suggestion…if Forest Hill Avenue had a few more if any four way stops and more pedestrian crossings it may slow the cars down a tad.

  6. Yo Gnomie! on said:

    Only in Richmond do you find pedestrian improvements that prevent pedestrians from accessing the bus stop or the park during the evening rush hour, so as to avoid inconveniencing the almighty cars.

  7. Jan on said:

    Pedestrian tunnel (or overpass) -> happy pedestrians and drivers. But prob too much money just to let people safely access the park ;)

  8. Traffic circles are great to keep traffic moving or to slow down thru traffic in residential areas, not so great for pedestrian crossings. Seems to me the crossing light is needed *more* during rush hours, disabling it during those times seems like it defeats the whole purpose of putting in a pedestrian crossing, doesn’t it?

  9. Lee Shewmake on said:

    The Friends of Forest Hill Park will be discussing this topic at our next meeting. Personally, I concur with Bike Walk RVA – disabling the pedestrian crossing during peak traffic times is foolish. Woodland Heights also voted strongly against the traffic circle concept. The only reason half of this neighborhood is able to cross Semmes to head southbound is because traffic is stopped for a period of time. Circles enable a constant stream of traffic. The City cannot serve two Masters effectively. Unfortunately, they consistently choose commuter traffic over residents. Something to remember the next time you go to the polls to vote.

  10. Alistair Jones on said:

    I find the challenges of walking to the park absolutely maddening. VDOT is utterly incompetent. The people running the show are hell bent on building things like they did in the 1950’s and our leaders have refused to hold their feet to the fire to provide our neighborhood with basic pedestrian infrastructure. I wish that living in Richmond did not entail having to fight, fight, fight for the most basic services.

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