BRT FAQ #008: What should I know before attending a public meeting?

Let your BRT opinions be heard!

Original — October 26, 2015

Next week GRTC is hosting another set of public meetings about the GRTC Pulse to give us a status update of where they are, process-wise, and a look at where they’re headed.

In addition to those general status updates, GRTC has another giant set of PDFs and public documents available ahead of the meetings–including the Final Review Submittal Documents to the Urban Design Committee. These are GRTC’s answers to any and all questions that the Planning Commission or Urban Design Committee had about the BRT. There are 23 in total, and you can read them all here.

However, as you are all very important and busy, I’ve summarized and paraphrased highlights for you:

Question 1. How come the BRT is curb-running instead of median-running from Foushee to 9th? (PDF)

Unfortunately, a dedicated median lane for the BRT on that stretch of Broad Street is totally not in the current budget and would cost an additional $1.8 million. Plus the road’s kind of narrow and it’d be tough to have a median-running BRT and a curb-running local service bus.

Question 3. PARKING?! (PDF)

A bunch of parking spots will disappear from Broad Street (a super detailed and dull study on parking is available for the truly brave right here). The City will put together a “parking mitigation plan” which will include some changes in parking ordinances.1

Question 5. So, like, where are the stations again and what businesses are next to them? (PDF)

Take a look at this PDF, it’s got drawings and renderings of each and every BRT station–including day and night views, which are…very similar. Pretty disappointed over here that it doesn’t convert into a cool discotheque as soon as the sun goes down.

Questions 8/9. TREES?! (PDF)

The design team will prepare a document that includes the location, size, and species of every tree that will be removed as a result of the project. They’ll also work with Urban Forestry to plant some new shade trees along the BRT corridor.

There was a meeting with the City’s arborist–yes, we have a city arborist–so be assured that trees are being considered by a person who is paid to love trees really hard.

11. Could you use LED lights with a color temperature of 3000k at the stations? (PDF)


Question 12. How’s the BRT going to integrate with the existing local bus routes?

There are “four consolidated stops” (which were actually a requirement of the federal TIGER grant) that will serve both BRT and local service buses.3

This is not the most comprehensive answer to what remains one of the largest unanswered questions about the BRT. The City and GRTC say they will “conduct a Comprehensive Operations Analysis that will evaluate the entire GRTC system” and “provide system-wide recommendations that will more fully address the questions and concerns regarding local route connectivity to the BRT system.” They don’t put a date on when this study will be published, but I’m sure looking forward to reading that particular PDF. 

19. Wouldn’t it be cool to put some bike share stations near the the BRT stations?


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Also take a look at the UDC Project Narrrative Cover Letter, which states that the project has been switched from a Design-Bid-Build method to a Design-Build method. In their own words:

Recently, the project’s funding partners decided that the project would be delivered via a Design-Build method as opposed to a traditional Design-Bid-Build method. The key difference in this delivery method is that in a Design-Build project delivery method the contractor and the designer will be working concurrently as one team to deliver the GRTC BRT project in a shorter timeframe. Design-Build can be more cost effective as the contractor has opportunities for innovation in both design and construction and construction can begin while design process is still being developed potentially reducing the overall project duration.

VDOT will be managing the delivery of the Design-Build project on behalf of GRTC, the City of Richmond, and Henrico County. VDOT has a proven track record of successfully implementing Design-Build projects on-time and within budget.

The tentative schedule for the design-build process has the RFP released on November 24th, 2015; awarded on March 16th, 2016; and construction completed on August 16th, 2017. This fits in with the existing timeline.

— ∮∮∮ —

Here are those meeting dates again. And if any of this sounded like a foreign language, open up our ongoing BRT FAQ series and start reading at whatever point you like!

Monday, October 26th

  • 6:00 – 7:30 PM
  • Library of Virginia • 800 E. Broad Street

Tuesday, October 27th

  • 12:00 – 1:30 PM
  • Richmond Public Library, 101 E. Franklin Street

## More BRT FAQs

* [BRT FAQ #001: So what’s a BRT?](

* [BRT FAQ #002: Where will the BRT go?](

* [BRT FAQ #003: What’s the timeline, and when did it all begin?](

* [BRT FAQ #004: The bus itself](

* [BRT FAQ #005: What’s this dang thing cost to build?](

* [BRT FAQ #006: The left turn situation](

* [BRT FAQ #007: What does an outside expert think?](

* [BRT FAQ: Holiday status report](

* [BRT FAQ #009: Who even knows about the BRT?](

  1. I’m interested in what kind of ordinance changes the City comes up with here and how we can apply them to other, non-BRT areas. 
  2. 3000k is “warm white.” 
  3. This does not mean both types of buses stop at the same stop, just that the BRT and local service stops are on the same block or “around the corner” from each other. 
  4. Plans for Richmond’s bike share system, while much delayed, are still in the works. 
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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

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