City Council tackles bicycles, new park in Fulton, more…

Bicycle and moped owners! Do NOT lock your bikes and mopeds to city-owned trees! A look at the legislation passed by City Council last night.

The agenda for the Monday April 22 City Council meeting (PDF) was, as usual, a lengthy list of the mundane and otherwise. 23 of the 56 different ordinances and resolutions on the agenda were budget-related items, all of which were en masse continued to a Special Council Meeting on Monday, May 6th. The bulk of the evening’s energy was spent considering an ordinance regarding attaching bicycles to public signs and trees.

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Citizen comment period

After recognizing various individuals and groups, the meeting kicked off with the general Citizen Comment Period. To paraphrase the individual speakers:

  • The first speaker addressed poverty and homelessness in Richmond. Now that the Conrad Center is closing, what can City Council do… Maybe we can house the homeless in the old Armstrong High School.
  • Bicycle safety! The city should provide money to educate drivers, who treat cyclists as a public nuisance.
  • There are almost 2,200 vacant buildings in the city, 1/3 of which have not been maintained for years. This is bad for Richmond. We need to prioritize getting these building rehabbed.
  • Richmond has made great progress in making itself a more bike-friendly city. We need a comprehensive master bicycling plan to truly make the city bike and pedestrian friendly.
  • MARTY JEWELL! He puts the beg on City Council for additional school funding. Asking for eight to ten million dollars, for a reserve fund for the new School Board.
  • We need better sporting facilities for Richmond Public Schools. Armstrong’s track is in horrendous shape, and other high schools don’t even have tracks. RPS has some of the worst facilities in the state. We can’t host track meets at any of the schools.

Bicycles, mopes, and motorcycles

bicycle month in richmond

Before getting to the agenda, City Council and Mayor Jones recognized May as Bicycle Month in Richmond, the 3rd week in May as Bicycle to Work Week, and May 17th as Bike to Work Day. Council went on to consider a number of two-wheel-related ordinances:

The most controversial of the night’s agenda items was the ordinance concerning removal of bicycles from city-owned bicycles and trees:

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There’s been some confusion about the language of the below bicycle-related ordinance. Please note that locking your bicycle or moped to a post, sign, or other property (excluding trees) on City-owned property is acceptable for 10 days (or 72 hours if your bike or moped is inoperable).

You may still lock your bike and moped to a post, sign, or other property (excluding trees) on City-owned property.

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PASSED Ord. No. 2013-88 making it unlawful for any person to attach a bicycle to a tree, post, sign or other property on City-owned property and authorizing police officers to impound any such illegally attached bicycles. Non-working bicycles can be impounded after 72 hours; working bicycles can be impounded after 10 days.

Per Councilman Agelasto: these ordinances are out of concern for the trees, is not intended to be anti-bicycle, and VCU has a similar program already in place. Speakers expressed concern with the idea of having bikes impounded, saying that it is normal use to lock bicycles to posts for time periods longer than 72 hours. Speakers also voiced concerns about about the definition of a “dead bike”, given that this could trigger an impoundment after 3 days.

Councilman Chris Hilbert and Charles Samuels were both supportive of Agelasto’s ordinance; several council members seemed have reservations following the public speakers. Ellen Robertson spoke for the need to educate the public about the ordinance. It seemed as if this was on the way to being continued or even withdrawn, until speeches by Samuels and Jakob Helmboldt put the ordinance back on track. Richmond’s Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Trails Coordinator Jakob Helmboldt said that he had no concerns about the ordinance–that it merely clarified items already in place, removing vagueness from the lawbooks. Four of the nine councilmembers voted against the ordinance (Graziano, Baliles, Robertson, and Trammel).

PASSED Ord. No. 2013-84 makes it unlawful to attach a motorcycle or moped to a tree on City-owned property, and also makes it unlawful to attach a moped to a tree, post, sign or other property on City-owned property for more than 10 days (or more than 72 hours for inoperable mopeds). Police officers are now authorized to impound any such illegally parked motorcycles or illegally attached mopeds.

PASSED Ord. No. 2013-85 removes registration requirements for bicycles and the authority to impound bicycles not properly registered.

PASSED Res. No. 2013-R104 encourage citizens of the City of Richmond to register their bicycles with the National Bike Registry. 48% of stolen bicycles are recovered each year, but only 5% make it back to their rightful owners.

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Real estate

goddin street richmond

PASSED Ord. No. 2013-78 authorizes the acquisition of 611 Goddin Street for the purpose of establishing a new public park to be named Historic Fulton Memorial Park. Fulton is perhaps Richmond’s most grievous example of “urban renewal”, in which one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods was erased from the map.

PASSED Ord. No. 2013-88 authorizes the special use of 1415 Chamberlayne Parkway for multifamily residential and student housing uses, to authorize additional signage, upon certain terms and conditions.

PASSED Ord. No. 2013-73 authorized the special use of the property known as 1700 Summit Avenue for the purpose up to 42 multifamily dwelling units and uses permitted in the B-7 Mixed-Use Business District, upon certain terms and conditions.

PASSED Ord. No. 2013-74 authorizes the special use of the property known as 8 and 10 North Robinson Street for the purpose of authorizing the existing buildings for office, retail, and personal service uses, upon certain terms and conditions.

PASSED Ord. No. 2013-75 authorizes the special use of the property known as 310 North 33rd Street to additionally authorize principal commercial uses permitted on corner lots in the R-63 Multifamily Urban Residential District on the property, upon certain terms and conditions. Word has it that another outpost of the Urban Farmhouse will be going into the spot.

PASSED Ord. No. 2013-79 authorizes the Chief Administrative Officer to accept funds in the amount of $723,226 from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and to appropriate the increase to the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Special Fund Budget by increasing estimated revenues and the amount appropriated to the Department of Economic and Community Development by $723,226 for the purpose of the acquisition, rehabilitation and sale of foreclosed properties through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

PASSED Ord. No. 2013-89, Ord. No. 2013-90, Ord. No. 2013-91, Ord. No. 2013-93, Ord. No. 2013-94 exempt CAPUP, Memorial Cild Guidance Clinic, VMFA, and the Virginia Museum Real Estate Foundation from paying property tax on specific properties “beginning Jan.1, 2013, and all subsequent tax years”.


PASSED Ord. No. 2013-39 To authorize the Chief Administrative Officer to execute a Contract for Loan Guarantee Assistance, a Note and other documents necessary to accomplish the transaction contemplated thereby, all relating to the City’s receipt of up to $9,875,000 in Section 108 Loan Program funds, for the purpose of capitalizing a business loan pool as part of the Economic Development Revolving Loan Program.

PASSED Ord. No. 2013-82 To amend Ord. No. 2012-54-69, adopted May 14, 2012, which adopted a General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2012-2013 and made appropriations pursuant thereto, to transfer funds in the amount of $203,000.00 from the Department of Economic and Community Development agency and to appropriate $153,000.00 to the Non- Departmental agency, Economic Development Consortium line item for a grant to Venture Richmond and $50,000.00 to the Non-Departmental agency, Arts Consortium line item for a grant to CultureWorks, for the purpose of revitalizing the Broad Street corridor and improving the Arts and Cultural District.

PASSED Res. No. 2013-R103 approves an expenditure in the amount of $1,334.46 pay the Department of Information Technology for the printing and mailing of newsletters to Second District.


PASSED Ord. No. 2013-84 says that you can’t get a business license if you have any delinquent business license, real estate, personal property, meals, transient occupancy, severance and admissions taxes.

PASSED Res. No. 2013-R98 adopts the City of Richmond’s Emergency Operations Plan in accordance with the Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Services and Disaster Laws of 2000.

PASSED Res. No. 2013-R106 seeks to revisit zoning for properties located within an area around Brookland Park Boulevard (bounded by West Crawford Street and East Crawford Avenue to the north, Richmond-Henrico Turnpike to the east, East Hooper Street and West Hooper Street to the south, and Edgewood Avenue to the west).

PASSED Ord. No. 2013-81 amend and reordains City Code §§ 102-303, 102- 305 and 102-306 for the purpose of replacing references to the Director of Finance with references to the Director of Public Works.

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  1. Nice work John!

  2. Never OK to lock to trees, but signs etc ok as long as not inoperable for 72 hr or abandoned 10 days.

  3. Scott Burger on said:

    It’s funny and very telling how before they are elected and after they are voted out, Richmond Councilpeople speak for school funding, but while they are in office they ignore the public’s pleas for education and instead vote for corporate welfare projects. Marty, like Bosnia Bill, was warned about Center Stage. Despite promises, the meals tax increase is still in place.

  4. Thanks for the summary John. Following what Amy said, please edit the portion about 2013-88 such that it states that only locking to trees is prohibited. There was an error in the summary on the agenda, and the actual code DOES NOT prohibit locking to signs and posts. Once the edit is made, I will be comfortable sharing this URL.

  5. FANrocker on said:

    Someone needs to re-word this description immediately. This is not the case, the ordinance is relating to the section concerning city owned property (including signposts) but only makes locking up to trees illegal. Other places to lock up (signposts, etc) remain entirely legal- only abandoned bikes can be removed! Read the whole ordinance, not just the abstract!

    “PASSED Ord. No. 2013-88 making it unlawful for any person to attach a bicycle to a tree, post, sign or other property on City-owned property and authorizing police officers to impound any such illegally attached bicycles. Non-working bicycles can be impounded after 72 hours; working bicycles can be impounded after 10 days.”

  6. Ross Catrow on said:

    I’ve updated the post to clarify what is going on. To be clear, the language about “making it unlawful to attach to a tree, post, sign or other property” comes directly from the City’s ordinance.

    We’ve got a call with Jake Helmboldt later this morning to discuss the confusion and practicals of this new ordinance. Hold tight!

  7. FANrocker on said:

    Ross, you must read the entire ordinance. Yes, that line concerning the removal of bicycles from city own property is in the description of the ordinance. The law section authorizes police to remove bicycles but not under all circumstances, the law section is “concerning” the removal of bicycles. This is mangled language by the city clerk that is not a useful description of the ordinance. By the way, in your response, you linked to the wrong ordinance. Thanks for following up-

  8. scott on said:

    Seems like it gives the city more leeway to removing dead bikes. Something which we can all support I think.
    Nobody likes some dumb VCU kids bike locked up in front of their house for 3 years rotting away.

  9. Karen on said:

    I’m interested to know more about PASSED Res. No. 2013-R106. The description tells me nothing. What zoning change is being proposed?

  10. so how does the popo know if it hasn’t been moved … do they sit there in shifts and watch it for 10 days :(

  11. Ross Catrow on said:

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