Frank Hall’s Brush with Insight

Del. Franklin P. Hall, R-Richmond, takes to the pages of the Richmond Times-Dispatch today to explain why he wants to create a Richmond regional transportation authority. He comes dangerously close to making some insightful observations — then backs off to embrace the wisdom of Business As Usual.

Writes Hall:

All you need do is get in your car and drive; and whether you head north, south, east or west, you will enounter signs of growth. … From 1990 to 2000 our region grew by 17 percent — 122,708 people; and we’re projected to see another 164,000 join our ranks by 2010. If these population trends continue, the region will need to add more than 125,000 new housing units by the year 2030.

Because of land-use patterns that have historically separated residences, retail, and jobs, our region has the highest driving rate of any major metro area in the state. … Given our current driving patterns and our projected population growth, it doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that while we do not have the traffic gridlock that plagues Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, it can happen here in Central Virginia — and far sooner than we think.

At some level, Hall understands the connection between human settlement patterns and transportation demand. But he ignores the implications of his own logic. His bill to establish a regional transportation authority would do nothing to alter human settlement patterns. Indeed, it would enable local boards of supervisors to perpetuate the status quo while fobbing off the transportation consequences to someone else.

The Richmond region is careening down a dead end road — without any brakes. Frank Hall’s plan would just jam down the accelerator so we reach our collision with reality even faster.

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


2 responses to “Frank Hall’s Brush with Insight”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Instead of land management, consider water management.

    Richmond citizens pay outrageously high minimum water fees to the City’s public utility, which also sells water to the surrounding counties, who in fact charge their citizens at lower minimum rates than Richmond citizens pay.

    Now the City is pushing a stormwater tax. Do the surrounding counties pay a stormwater tax?

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    In the magazine I read last night, Virginias growth was listed at 0.9%.

    If the Richmond area is growing at 17% then doesn’t this partially refute the idea that settlement patterns aren’t shifting?

    Or is it just that nothing is ever enough?

    How do we balance restriction on growth, changes in land use, and more population?

    If we figure out how to make that balance without being NIMBY’s, will it wind up costing more than some other development pattern with some other transportation plan?


Leave a Reply