Fresh Ideas for River City

Michael Martz with the Times-Dispatch on the charrette for the downtown Richmond master plan:

Convert all one-way streets to two-way.

Create a center for public transit, including trolleys.

Make the James River the focus of life in a rejuvenated downtown Richmond where people do more than commute between work and the suburbs.

There were plenty of ideas in the air and scrawled across maps yesterday as more than 175 people took the redesign of the city’s downtown into their own hands. They were encouraged, not blocked, by City Hall.

The article is a good read. (For the record, I’m not endorsing any of the specific ideas — just the idea of holding a charrette.) My only disappointment: I wish the editors had given the story more space. Martz understands the land use issues better than most newspaper reporters. The newspaper needs to turn him loose.

For a more authoritative account of the ideas generated by the charrette, John Sarvay’s reporting on Buttermilk & Molasses is must reading. John groups the ideas into major themes, including: the James River, community connectivity, transportation, green development, mixed use, public art, Jackson Ward and Manchester.

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3 responses to “Fresh Ideas for River City”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    A big “Ho -Hum” to the Times-Dispatch article and yet another brainstorming session on downtown Richmond. These happen regularly, but nothing ever seems to get down.
    Regretfully, redoing downtown seems to be the domain of the blog chatterers and paid boosters.
    Where’s the beef?

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Converting all the one way streets to two-way will quadruple the proclivity for left hand turns, which Fed-Ex and UPS have already proven to be a huge waste.


  3. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I note that while Richmond fiddles with visioning .. that development around Richmond moves irregardless.

    Headline: “Developers want to turn the eastern Henrico site into an urban village.

    “The highly designed community would feature pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods, a town square and architecture evoking the Fan District, Monument Avenue, Tobacco Row and other historic parts of Richmond.”

    YOW! they intend to out-Richmond – Richmond!

    read on ….
    2,770 housing units, including single-family homes, town houses and condominiums. They would be mixed with about 1.16 million square feet of commercial, office and retail space. Land also would be set aside for an elementary school, library, fire station and other civic uses. The community would maintain about 250 acres of open space, including plazas and smaller parks, plus a 150-acre riverfront preserve that would provide access to the James.


    The farm fronts state Route 5 and Osborne Turnpike, and is significant because of it offers expansive views of the James and downtown Richmond. The property is less than a half-mile south of Rocketts Landing, an urban village that’s planned and under construction in Richmond and Henrico.”

    So my question is this:

    Would there be such a thing as TOO MANY urban style villages especially if they are stacked right next to each other?

    What about road infrastructure?

    Do folks think that a half dozen or more of these type developments within a mile or three of each other would.. quell the traffic generation issues or.. make them much worse?

    thoughts? comments?

    the general theme: do these New Urban villages need to be coordinated with regard to each other with regard to impacts or is the feeling that these types of development are THE solution and the more of them – the better?


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