Richmond: Bus Rapid Transit Line Approved

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:

richmond pulse

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.



7 Responses to Richmond: Bus Rapid Transit Line Approved

  1. A.H. February 11, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

    This is great! I would love to see it go out to Short Pump. Would decrease traffic in that area and allow those in the city to get to jobs in Short Pump.

  2. Paul February 11, 2016 at 3:02 pm #

    Will this be an open busway with services starting off it and continuing? Also, why is there not more segregated running? Looking at Google Maps it’s difficult to see why the centre running or kerbside lanes end where they do.

    • ararar February 12, 2016 at 8:27 am #

      from google maps, east of where the curb running part ends the road loses the extra line and there’s a weird intersection, so I understand that.
      What I don’t understand is why the switch from median to curb happens 3 stops west of that point already (why not go from median straight into traffic with smart traffic lights that go to red only when the bus comes?), and why do they stop the median running to the west, but I guess that could be because there is no congestion out there so there’s no need to spend money/reduce the traffic lanes there.

      • ararar February 12, 2016 at 8:27 am #

        *extra lanes, not line

      • Mike P. February 13, 2016 at 5:20 am #

        @ararar: Picking up on your last thought regarding the median travel lane ending, I’d be a cheerleader for building out the infrastructure before density and congestion fill the vacuum. And I’d support that idea by noting that building infrastructure is always cheaper in the present than the future.

        • ararar February 14, 2016 at 3:21 am #

          yes you’re very right about that.

          If the west end develops and the road becomes saturated (not necessarily congested), telling people that you’re going to remove 2 lanes to make space for the bus (which will definitely congest the road) will be a very difficult proposition.

          Build it now, and people in 10 years will never know how it would have been like to not have those lanes.

  3. Larry Hedgepeth February 14, 2016 at 7:29 pm #

    I’m worried about whether my neighborhood will be well served by the approved BRT system. There is a 1.4 mile gap between stations on Broad Street, centered at the Malvern/Westwood intersection. That means no service for my neighborhood. Mr. Walker should work on correcting the problems with the approved BRT system before moving on to a future transit system.