RVA Affirms Bike Lanes, Opens City to Scooters

The sidewalk scooter fad now coming to Richmond was in full swing in San Antonio during a visit over the holidays, providing a good preview of Things to Come.

Downtown Richmond is not now and probably never will be as packed as downtown San Antonio during the Alamo Bowl, and it was clear from their team colors that the out-of-towners were most of the customers for the devices.  If you think bicycle behavior is occasionally obnoxious, you ain’t seen nuttin’ yet.

On the sidewalks and on the streets, moving often at car-like speeds (also on the sidewalks), sometimes lined up like ducklings behind a leader and sometimes all bunched up filling the lanes, unconcerned at times about whether they were with or against traffic.

One phrase that did not apply when they were out and about was “pedestrian friendly.”  One adapts, but one dare not ignore.

If Richmond City Council believes the scooters will be kept on the streets and off the sidewalks, the members are delusional.  San Antonio did keep them off the Riverwalk.

The same Richmond City Council meeting Monday that approved the scooters also rejected the effort of two Richmond city council members to stop or force major changes to the bike lanes planned for Brook Road.  That’s been a previous focus here so the outcome should be reported.

My main goal in writing the earlier stories was accomplished and the issue got a better airing, including neighborhood meetings and even a final flurry of yard signs, most (but hardly all) negative.  The two council members who represent the three-mile stretch were outvoted by those who live elsewhere.   When the plan was first approved in 2015, none of us living in the area were aware of it.

Councilman Chris Hilbert, a neighbor in my building, is dead on with his prediction that cars and delivery trucks will simply move to parallel Chamberlayne Avenue, especially during higher-traffic periods in the morning and afternoon. The opinions that should be controlling are the home- and business-owners along the route, and they spoke.  Only their own representatives listened.  The supporters were very organized and motivated.

With the Assembly underway I’m walking past the existing Franklin Street bike lanes on a regular basis.  The word seldom would exaggerate their usage.  The two bikes I saw last week were both in the Franklin Street car lanes, because they were making a right turn on Ninth Street.   That would be an illegal right turn at that corner, in both cases disregarding the traffic signal.

My sympathies to those of you directly on Brook Road.  What just happened to you is a taking.  Expect a future report on what life is like at Brook and Westwood when the massive new apartment complex opens on one corner, and the growth spurt at the exploding private Christian school on the other corner is complete.

At a recent meeting with a representative of that school, we all had a good laugh over the traffic data being cited by the bike-enthusiasts.  It reflected neither the apartments nor the school, which provides no bus system and fills surrounding streets twice a day with cars.

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3 responses to “RVA Affirms Bike Lanes, Opens City to Scooters

  1. re: takings

    So.. public-rights-of-way were “taken” so the public had a way to get from A to B without crossing private property.

    So.. why are those rights of ways dedicated/prioritized for motor vehicles and not all modes of transport the public might use?

    I’m not advocating chaos – there has to be rules including outright bans on some types of vehicles on some roads – for instance – interstate highways are not for bikes, scooters or similar.

    But right now, we have a road system that is not only unfriendly to folks not in cars but, in fact, downright dangerous.

    For those of us who are bewildered and upset at this turn of events -we ought to ask why San Antonio and Richmond and lots of other places have now decided to do this… what is the rationale behind it? Is it a leftist “plot” or what? 😉

    Perhaps Jim can get Stewart Schwartz or someone from the Biking organizations to do a blog post to educate us on why this is now going on – including what the legal basis for it is…. or not…

  2. Classic progressive utopianism, Larry, nothing else…:)

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