The Richmond (Virginia) city council has approved plans for a Bus Rapid transit line running east-west through the core of the city — the starting point for a more robust transit network for the whole city and potentially the region:
Like all starter lines, it focuses on a small part of the city, and these projects always raise questions about the city-wide benefits. What’s in it for you if you don’t live or work near the line?
One answer to that concern is that a good core transit line produces all kinds of benefits across the city. By running a busy corridor more quickly and reliably, resources are freed up to run more effective local services. Like all rapid transit lines, this one will depend heavily on improved local bus service, and improved local bus service will mean better mobility for people not on the rapid line.
That’s all very nice in the abstract, but what’s the specific plan? Fortunately, the people of Richmond will have the chance to help forge that plan in the coming year. We are now working with City of Richmond, GRTC and the local office of planning firm Michael Baker International on the Richmond City Transit Network Plan. This effort, to develop specific ideas for a better local bus network, will include many opportunities for citizens to consider the choices themselves and share their ideas and priorities.
So if you’re worried about whether your neighborhood will be well served by the future transit system, get ready to join a conversation about exactly that. Plans for major transit infrastructure are never total transit plans, any more than a main street is a total street network. The real network planning starts now.