The Annotated City Council: Agenda for March 7th

Smart Cities and Vision Zero in this, a very special episode of City Council

Update #1 — March 14, 2016; 11:39 AM

Welp, the [USDOT did not select Richmond as one of the finalists for the Smart City Challenge]( I guess we’ll have to smarten our city through more conventional means.

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Original — March 07, 2016

Don’t forget, this all could be changed in whatever magic process they do just before the meeting starts that changes what the agenda is.

It’s not a regularly scheduled City Council meeting, but that doesn’t mean there’s not #rvacouncil work to be done. Today, in a specially convened meeting, Council will consider just the following two papers. They’re the perfect appetizer to tide you over until the full-meal meeting on March 14th.

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RES. 2016-R010 aka “The Smart City Challenge Resolution”

Behold! The Smart City Challenge! The United States Department of Transportation wants to innovate faster and harder, like the private sector, and so it has decided to fund the crap out of a single medium-sized city and see what happens. From the USDOT:

The USDOT will commit significant financial resources for one mid-sized city that can demonstrate how advanced data and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technologies and applications can be used to reduce congestion, keep travelers safe, protect the environment, respond to climate change, connect underserved communities, and support economic vitality.

The Feds will select five cities and award those cities $100,000 for “concept development.” Then one city will be chosen for the big $40 million grant. That’s a lot of bucks! This resolution supports the City’s application for all of those bucks.

Read a super detailed FAQ on the challenge right here.

RES. 2016-R011 aka “The Vision Zero Resolution”

Vision Zero! I wrote about this back in November and continue to think about it on the regular. What would it take to reduce Richmond’s transportation-related injuries and deaths to zero? Is that even a realistic goal (yes!)? This resolution would recommend that the various city bodies involved (Planning and Development Review, Police, and Public Works) come up with “a comprehensive plan designed to achieve zero traffic deaths and serious injuries in road traffic by the year 2030.”

So why has Richmond decided to get out in front of things and adopt a Vision Zero plan now? Well, one of the resolution’s clauses states that having the city adopt a Vision Zero plan would go a long way to making Richmond more competitive in the Smart City Challenge. Also because striving for safer transit is a pretty commonsense goal.

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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

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