Every Richmonder should be able to walk, bike, or ride a bus to get to work, run errands or see a show in the city. Transportation plays a major role in how we are connected. However, car culture and systemic inequities in public transportation access drives too much of our urban planning.
Car culture in Richmond often keeps us divided. Historically, a lot of that was done by design. Highways built through neighborhoods were not based on increasing mobility for those communities, but to divide and exclude certain residents. Again, another impact of redlining.
Our next era of investment must connect communities. And we must do so in a way that centers reliable, safe and affordable transportation to promote greater equity.
The way we plan for transit should be restorative and include the choices of all communities, not just a select few. Our transit systems must be holistic and sustainable where housing, the environment and public health are considered into all of our decision-making processes.
Richmond’s public transportation system needs to truly be multi-modal where no resident is denied access to jobs, education, child care or healthcare. Greater access means we are prioritizing residents and investing in places where people and services reside. As mayor, I will:
Establish a city Department of Transportation: Whether it’s commuting to work, running to the grocery store, or visiting friends and family, how we get around is a key part of city life. For far too long our city administration has neglected residents’ mobility. As mayor I will work with the City Council to modernize our local government by creating a long overdue Department of Transportation to provide direct accountability for the state of our streets. Conducting road diets to create safe streets for all: In alignment with Vision Zero, my administration will coordinate repaving projects with efforts to add protected bike lanes and more curb space for pedestrians. Who we give space on our roads is a reflection of our values, and I will work to ensure that people of all ages and abilities feel safe traveling through our city, no matter their transportation of choice.
Build out better infrastructure through strategic partnerships: Everyone in Richmond deserves dignity as they make their way to work, to school, and to all their other destinations. Far too many of the city’s bus stops lack basic necessities such as benches, trash/recycling cans and shelter -- let alone modern standards such as real-time arrival signs. Through partnerships with nonprofits and community benefit agreements, my administration would work to create a more dignified experience for all bus riders. Additionally, I will be a strong advocate at the Virginia General Assembly and with surrounding counties to improve Richmond’s regional bus and rail transportation network.
Ensure accessibility: Poorly maintained sidewalks, inaccessible parks, and unreliable CARE Van service makes it tough for Richmonders with physical disabilities to get around our city. This year, the current administration proposed $30 million for road repaving but only $2 million for sidewalks. The city needs to be more transparent and equitable in how it spends its paving dollars. As mayor, I would work with GRTC to examine the city’s contract for CARE and CARE Plus services and set goals for service performance. Furthermore, my administration will reach out to people with physical disabilities in order to lead broader community conversations about safe, accessible communities.
Transition the city vehicle fleet to electric: To make Richmond a clean energy leader, we must transition to greener vehicles.Richmond can follow Roanoke’s lead and purchase gently used, affordable electric vehicles for employees to use for city business. This will save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in maintenance and fuel costs while also reducing the amount of harmful fumes being pumped out by cars. By taking the first step, Richmond can help gradually build out the charging infrastructure residents will need to make their own switch to cleaner, more affordable cars.
Protect people on bikes: Biking is a healthy, clean and affordable way to get around, but currently most Richmonders don’t feel safe enough on city streets to ride their bikes for transportation or recreation. To help people feel comfortable biking around Richmond, my administration will prioritize neighborhood engagement to create more safe bike lanes in the city. Providing Richmonders with safe, healthy alternatives to driving will help to ease traffic, reduce air pollution and create a more social city.
Move toward free public transportation for all: Zero-fare transit is a great way to equitably invest in Richmonders’ mobility, especially considering the current economic crisis. Removing $60 a month for a bus pass will help working families pay their rent or feed their kids. Coupled with improved route reliability, free public transportation means Richmonders won’t have to think twice about whether they can take GRTC to get to work, run to the store or visit their loved ones. For $6 million, our region could make public transportation free to all. GRTC recently adopted a budget to keep bus rides free through June 2021 in an effort to limit interactions between riders and drivers during coronavirus. By permanently replacing the net revenue GRTC receives from farebox collection, we could ensure that all Richmonders have access to safe, reliable, and frequent transportation.
Paid for and Authorized by Friends of Alexsis Rodgers Copyright 2020