Richmond, Va. has the bones of a good city. It’s small, with only a million people in its whole metro area, but it has a relatively large downtown and some very high-quality urban neighborhoods. What it lacks is a transit system to match. The city’s new transportation plan aims to fix that.
Richmond’s bus system currently carries about 35,000 riders per day, total, for the whole region. That’s about the same as the Fairfax County Connector, and less than half of the 90,000 or so that Montgomery County, Md.‘s Ride-On carries each day. Richmond could get so much more out of transit.
Now, it looks like they’re moving in that direction. The City of Richmond is drafting a new multimodal transportation plan. It builds on existing plans for a bus rapid transit line on Broad Street to propose a whole network of priority transit corridors. These would essentially be high-quality surface bus routes, like the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s 16th Street line in Washington, D.C. Not rapid, but not bad.
In addition to Broad Street BRT, the plan calls for four other priority bus lines, including one on the important Main Street/Cary Street corridor.
Richmond transit plan. Credit: City of Richmond
The draft plan also identifies bike improvements. Richmond is a natural biking city. It’s dense and walkable, and the urban areas are small enough that it’s easy to get to them all with a bike. Among proposed improvements, the plan calls for a bike sharing network, and identifies locations for cycle tracks.
Richmond bike/ped plan. Credit: City of Richmond
Right now Richmond doesn’t have enough non-car transportation options. Even though the land use is already there to support multimodalism, most people rely on cars for most trips. Hopefully these proposals become reality, and transportation choice becomes more practical.