The 17th Street Market redesign is not tied into any other development plans currently being debated.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to cobblestone streets in Richmond. One school believes they are a literal pain in the butt that result in slower speeds and the occasional missing hubcap. The other school of thought believes that the cobblestones are part of our historical identity and provide much needed charm. This debate came to the fore front recently as the Urban Design Committee debated the 17th Street Market redesign plans.
“When all is said and done, we’re looking at a significant number of streets in the oldest part of the city just going away,” said committee member Bryan Clark Green, an architectural historian. “Just going away forever.”
But others on the committee, which advises the Planning Commission on the design of city projects, felt that if residents want a more versatile space, there’s no reason to thwart that by clinging rigidly to the past. Those who favored the plan also said the paving design could somehow pay homage to where the streets used to be.
“I think there’s another overlay of history that can be told by recalling the locations of the streets,” committee Chairwoman Jill Nolt, an architect, told planners in charge of the market project. “And I think y’all can do it.”
By a 5-2-1 vote, the committee approved of the market concept, though the vote was an early stage of what will be a long process.