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Transit


Montgomery County says it can't build BRT, but there's money for new roads

Earlier this month, Montgomery County leaders released plans to fund transportation over the next two years. There's $300 million for building new roads, but not enough money to keep BRT moving forward or to increase current bus service.


BRT in Crystal City. Photo by BeyondDC on Flickr.

In 2013, Montgomery County approved a plan for an 81-mile bus rapid transit network. The idea was to alleviate congestion and keep Montgomery economically competitive. The first phase of BRT along Veirs Mill Rd, MD 355, and US 29 would intersect with key master plans like those for White Flint and White Oak while also providing rapid transit along a major east-west connector (Veirs Mill).

By 2040, Montgomery will have 70% more congestion, 40% more jobs and 20% more residents. Better transit, which BRT would achieve, is a way to address this coming challenge.

But recent attempts to actually fund it have met resistance. Many supporters of the system are worried about stalled progress. Now, BRT funding from the state is set to run out, and BRT's future in Montgomery could be in doubt.

Money that could bring BRT to Montgomery is currently set aside for roads

Every two years the County Executive submits a plan for capital improvements in what's called the Capital Improvement Plan. The CIP is a budget that encompasses 6 fiscal years and is amended every two. While council staff notes road funding has been down in recent years, it acknowledges that it still dwarfs that of other jurisdictions in the region.

One road in particular stands out as particularly expensive: Montrose Parkway East. With a price tag close to $140 million, Montrose Parkway East is 20 million dollars more expensive than it was two years ago. The project is in the Pike District, an area the county wants to encourage walkability, but building the road would only invite more people to drive.

Montrose Parkway East is an even more questionable use of public funds, considering the county has transit modeshare goals. Development of White Flint is literally dependent on transit, so why are we building a $140 Million road there?

There's still hope for funding BRT in Montgomery

There are ways to move BRT forward without moving money away from road projects: Council staff has suggested implementing special taxing districts, others have suggested working through existing systems and creating a pilot corridor, while County Executive Ike Leggett proposed creating an independent transit authority to fund it.

But transit advocates can push legislators to stop spending money on road projects, and instead invest that money in things like BRT. It takes a vote of at five council members to approve or modify a proposed improvement plan in the CIP, and six votes to amend a previously approved capital program.

If Montgomery officials are serious about a transit oriented future, they must reallocate funds from projects like Montrose Parkway East and put them toward making BRT a reality.

Montgomery County residents can testify at a public hearing on Feb 11 and contact their lawmakers via the Coalition for Smarter Growth.

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Development


Worldwide links: Bernie knows housing

A program for making housing more affordable is among Bernie Sanders' proudest achievements; 16 different graphics point to one conclusion: Toyko is mind-blowingly big; A Texas town got creative with a shut-down Walmart. Check out what's happening around the world in transportation, land use, and other related areas!


Photo by Michael Vadon on Flickr.

Bernie's housing model: When he was the mayor of Burlington, Bernie Sanders set up the land trust the city still uses today. The government owns the land but the residents own the house, which supporters say lets people build wealth faster than renting. (Slate)

Tokyo is gigantic: The greater Tokyo area dwarfs other big cities from New York and Los Angeles to Sydney and London. Tokyo isn't that much smaller than all of Great Britain, and its subway maps might make your head spin. (Buzzfeed)

Walmart transformed: After a local Walmart shut down, a Texas town turned the building into a farmers market, indoor winter shopping center, and the largest single floor library in the country. (Daily Kos)

A fight for BRT in Indianapolis...: In Indianapolis, proponents of a BRT project say the 35-mile line will garner 11,000 daily rides and provide new connections to jobs. Opponents are worried about lost parking space and more congestion on side streets. (Indianapolis Star)

...and a goodbye to BRT in Dehli: Dehli is doing away with its BRT line because residents blame it for congestion on the road it runs along. Officials say BRT was a good idea that they implemented poorly, and that they are planning to bring it back with a new design. (India Today)

Mimicking Minneapolis: Minneapolis freezes over in winter, but it's still a top spot for cycling. Former Mayor RT Rybak told leaders in (relatively) nearby Des Moines that "expressway trails" that connect bike lanes, as well as inexpensive tools like paint and flex-posts, are keys to building a bike-friendly city. (Des Moines Register)

Angry but effective: Some call Lansing, Michigan mayor Virg Bernaro the "angriest mayor in America." But he's very popular, and he has succeeded at both attracting new development and improving parks and trails. (City Pulse)

Quote of the Week:

"We don't force [developers] to build the right number of bedrooms for people! We just force them to build the right number of bedrooms for cars" - Nelson\Nygaard's Jeff Tumlin speaking with Mother Jones on how self driving cars will affect parking.

We're signing off for the day. Stay warm and safe, and please please post snow pictures in our Flickr pool or email them to snow@ggwash.org!

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Transit


Montgomery will go ahead with BRT, but at what cost?

Despite a big funding setback last week, Montgomery County could start building bus rapid transit after all. But to do so, it may have to do it on the cheap. That could mean making BRT less useful for transit riders.


BRT in Alexandria. Photo by Dan Malouff.

Montgomery County officials have been looking at building rapid transit routes for buses since 2008, and approved plans for a countywide BRT network in 2013. County Executive Ike Leggett had proposed creating a transit authority that could raise taxes to pay for building it, but yanked the idea last week due to opposition from some community members.

Yesterday, he announced that the county would build one or two of its planned BRT routes in a "less costly" fashion. One way to cut costs is by taking out dedicated lanes that give buses a way out of traffic. But doing that would make BRT slower and less reliable, discouraging people from using it.

According to Leggett, the county can afford to pay for one or two BRT corridors from its construction budget, which the County Council approves each spring. There are three corridors transportation officials are looking at, down from ten in the original plan: Route 355 between Bethesda and Rockville, which would cost an estimated $422 million to build; Veirs Mill Road between Rockville and Wheaton, which would cost $285 million, and Route 29 between Silver Spring and Burtonsville, which would cost $200 million.


Where people use transit in Montgomery County. These areas coincide with the three potential BRT corridors being considered. Map by the author using Census data.

The three corridors serve the county's two biggest downtowns, Silver Spring and Bethesda, plus the county seat in Rockville and emerging town centers like Wheaton, White Oak and White Flint. These are places where lots of people already ride transit.

They're also congested streets that are ideal for bus lanes, the key feature of bus rapid transit, which can give riders a fast, reliable alternative to sitting in traffic. But there's limited space to make bus lanes, whether by converting existing lanes or by widening the road. And some neighbors in these areas are loudly against them.


This street might be congested. And that's why it needs bus lanes. Photo by the author.

Not only do dedicated bus lanes make the bus faster, but they reduce labor costs, since bus drivers can do more trips in less time. Like train tracks, bus lanes create the sense of permanence that can attract development to underserved areas like White Oak. Better transit also means lower commute times, which has a huge impact on access to jobs and economic mobility.

Leggett might find that not including bus lanes on all or some of these routes could save money and avoid confronting transit opponents. But there are ways to design them that require less space and reduce impacts on neighborhoods. And as long as buses are stuck in the same traffic as everyone else, people will be less interested in riding them, and county residents will have a hard time seeing the benefits of investing in more transit.

Last week, I suggested that Montgomery County show people how BRT works by doing a temporary trial. It looks like county officials want to go a step further and try building something more permanent, which is great. That's why it's even more important they do it right.

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Transit


What if Montgomery County gave BRT a temporary test run?

Last week, Montgomery County pulled its proposal for building bus rapid transit, citing community opposition. How can the county win people over? By getting something on the ground now and doing a trial run.


How can we get streets like Colesville Road better transit sooner rather than later? Photo by the author.

After several years of discussion, the county approved a plan for a network of dedicated bus lanes in 2013 with strong support from residents, business leaders, and transit advocates. Soon after, County Executive Ike Leggett proposed creating an Independent Transit Authority that could build and operate transit in the county and raise taxes on its own to pay for it. Today, the department of transportation runs transit service, using money from the county's budget, which the County Council sets each year.

Leggett's proposal drew an unlikely coalition of opponents, from civic organizations who were against BRT in the first place to groups worried about government spending. Meanwhile, initial designs for BRT on corridors like Georgia Avenue proposed unnecessarily massive road widenings that would have removed dozens of homes and businesses, which naturally angered many residents.

Do county leaders still want BRT?

Now in his third term as county executive, Ike Leggett has alluded to transit as part of his legacy. He's said that the 100,000 jobs slated to come to places like White Flint and White Oak depend on better transit. Bus Rapid Transit lines on Route 355, Route 29, and Veirs Mill Road are among the county's top transportation priorities.

But the county seems to be backing away from BRT. The Georgia Avenue line got shelved. And Leggett already pulled his ITA proposal earlier this year.

Ike Leggett says he wants to do a public outreach campaign for BRT to build support for a transit authority. But it may not be enough to convince skeptical residents. They need to see something tangible.


Metroway in Alexandria. Photo by Dan Malouff.

We could send people to Alexandria to ride the Metroway BRT line. It's already carrying 20% more riders than anticipated. It serves the new neighborhood of Potomac Yard that looks like what Montgomery County wants to create in White Flint or White Oak.

Or we could start bringing BRT in some form to Montgomery County today in trial form, so people can see how it can improve their daily lives.

A trial run?

Bus Rapid Transit consists of several different parts that make buses faster, more reliable, and more comfortable, like a train: machines where you pay before getting on; larger, covered stations; longer distances between stops; and of course, dedicated lanes.

The county's vision for BRT, as in many other places, involves doing all of those things at once. It's more effective, but also more expensive. We're already implementing some of those things now, like limited-stop bus service or off-board fare machines.

The thing that has the biggest impact, but is also the most controversial, are bus lanes. And that's what people need to see in action.


A very basic bus lane on Veirs Mill Road in Wheaton. It's maybe a mile long. Photo from Google Street View.

Local political consultant Adam Pagnucco has suggested that the county build a BRT line on Veirs Mill Road to prove that it works, but it would still take a few years and a lot of money.

In the meantime, we could do a trial: for a few months, simply reserve the curbside lane of a major street for buses, using paint and some police enforcement to keep drivers out. Drivers and transit riders alike could see how it would affect their travels.

The catch is we'd have to do this in a place with high transit use, like Veirs Mill Road, Route 29, and Route 355, the three BRT corridors the county's studying. These streets are congested now, but they're also where most transit riders are, and would get the most benefit from dedicated lanes.

Doing a trial would be hard and require a lot of political will. But it's ultimately easier than convincing the public to make a huge investment on something they haven't seen before. And it allows us to see what works and what doesn't work, so we can make needed tweaks early on.

Most importantly, a trial gives Montgomery County transit riders a better trip now, rather than far in the future. They can't afford to wait, and neither can we.

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Transit


Here's a look at how Cape Town, South Africa is doing bus rapid transit

A new bus rapid transit system opened in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2010. Here's a look at the system and some of the ideas our region (looking at you, Montgomery County) might put to use.


The MyCiTi Adderley station in Cape Town's city center. All photos by the author unless noted.

Cape Town opened the MyCiTi BRT just in time to carry visitors around the South African city for FIFA World Cup that year. The network now encompasses 31 routes with more than 500 stations and stops that showcases many of BRT's strengths and weaknesses when not fully implemented.

The MyCiTi bus system offers a comfortable, safe, and largely reliable formal transit system in parts of Cape Town and its environs that are unserved by its Metrorail commuter rail system. In many places it replaced an informal network of vans that plied major streets and corridors.


A map of the MyCiTi BRT network.

The BRT system has 36 rail-like stations with faregates and level boarding at key points and along busy routes.


Faregates at a MyCiTi station, riders use tap myconnect cards for payments.

MyCiTi stops are simple affairs ranging from shelters to just a sign on the side of the road.


A MyCiti bus stop with a shelter.

MyCiTi has dedicated lanes in some areas, allowing the buses to speed past traffic. However, these do not extend the full length of routes, leaving buses to the whims of traffic on many popular routes.


The dedicated bus lane ends with the red paint on the road.

This hybrid of true BRT and a regular bus network is an example of "BRT creep," which is where services that characterize BRT get cut back and the system starts to look more like a standard bus system.

Still, MyCiTi is a positive step forward for Cape Town. The system replaced an informal van system, improving safety—a big concern in South Africa—comfort and reliability for transit riders. In addition, it cost much less to build—R6.5 billion ($477 million) as of this May—than a comparable light rail system or heavy rail system. That's especially important in South Africa, a country where transportation funds of any kind are limited.

In addition, bus riders in central Cape Town bridge race and socioeconomic lines, which are still noticeable in South Africa more than 20 years after the end of Apartheid.

Five years since opening, MyCiTi bus carries an average of about 48,000 passengers on weekdays.

MyCiTi has some lessons for Montgomery County

Montgomery County in Maryland has ambitious plans to build an 81-mile BRT system across the county.


Map by Peter Dovak.

BRT creep is a very real concern in Montgomery County. The County Council has already watered down its original plan by shrinking some routes and removing dedicated lanes and other aspects that add the "rapid transit" to buses in others.

More cuts to the BRT plan could occur as county leaders figure out a way to fund the proposed system.

Cape Town shows that a hybrid system, which works in many ways for the South African city's unique set of circumstances, could suffer from many of the same problems as the existing bus network: slow, unreliable transit that sits in the same traffic as the car next to it.

Montgomery County should follow the example of Cape Town's city center stations and dedicated lanes and roll something similar out across the county.

For more on transit developments in other cities and around the world, check out Ned's's writing on Dallas, Hartford, San Diego and San Francisco.

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Transit


Better buses make a better city

Imagine being at almost any major corner or commercial center of the region and knowing a fast and reliable vehicle will soon arrive to whisk you in the direction you want to go for a low cost.


Photo by BeyondDC on Flickr.

Anyone who lives or works near a Metro station enjoys that kind of freedom, at least when Metro is working well (sadly, a little less often these days). But for everyone not near Metro—in Georgetown, H Street, upper Georgia Avenue, Hillcrest, Annandale, historic McLean, Kensington or Hyattsville—this is a dream not yet realized.

But a certain technology can provide this: the bus. All it takes is the political will to modify our streets and traffic signals to make the bus frequent, attractive, reliable and speedy.

Continue reading my latest column in the Washington Post.

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Transit


The seven keys to a great bus rapid transit system

Montgomery County is looking at a new bus rapid transit system. How can we make it great? We looked at examples of successful BRT systems around the country.


Photo by Wolfram Burner on Flickr.

Montgomery County's unanimously-approved Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan calls for a bus rapid transit (BRT) system, also called RTS, that can serve as an alternative to driving and begin to manage the county's unsustainable traffic problems. Planning for routes along Route 355, Veirs Mill Road, and US 29 are now in "Phase 1," meaning the county is moving forward with their respective studies and designs.

County Executive Ike Leggett is still deciding how to fund the overall system. Leggett's decision will affect key components of the network, from the features it will have to when it will get built. There are more than 30 bus rapid transit systems currently running across the US and Canada-- many since the early 2000s-- and a lot of them have far exceeded expectations.

Below are seven characteristics of great BRT systems from around the country. To ensure a successful BRT system for Montgomery County, Leggett's plan should allow the county follow their leads.

1. Give buses their own lanes. Keeping BRT buses from getting stuck in traffic makes trips far quicker and more reliable. It also prevents people driving from getting stuck behind buses stopping for riders, which can make traffic flow more smoothly. This can be done without widening roads and with minimal impact to traffic by restriping or repurposing lanes. Hartford, CT's CTfastrak runs on fully dedicated lanes and just celebrated its millionth passenger since it began operations earlier this spring. Also, York, Ontario's Viva, Eugene, OR's EmX, Fort Collins, CO's MAX, all have dedicated lanes for BRT buses, among many others. Some cities are even in the process of extending their dedicated lanes.


Photo by BeyondDC on Flickr.

2. Run buses very frequently. When buses arrive every few minutes, riders know that no matter when they get to the station, they don't have to wait long to hop on the bus. Los Angeles' Orange Line, Boston's Silver Line, and Pittsburgh's East Busway all run buses every 4 minutes during rush hours.

3. Have traffic signals factor in buses. In some places, a system called Traffic Signal Priority (TSP) coordinates traffic signals to accommodate bus routes by slightly lengthening green lights or shortening red lights, and with minimal to no impact to drivers. Los Angeles attributes nearly a third of the time its MetroRapid system saves to TSP.

4. Make boarding quick. Boarding time represents as much as 20% of bus travel time. Level boarding at stations, like Metro has, reduces boarding time for those in wheelchairs, with strollers, or with bicycles. If riders pay fares at stations, boarding is a much faster process. In London, England, off-board fare payment and all-door boarding has reduced boarding time by 75%.


Photo by Chris on Flickr.

5. Make getting to bus stops safe and easy. Safe, accessible pathways, including wide sidewalks and protected bike lanes on both sides of the street are absolutely necessary for people walking and biking to access stations. Los Angeles' Orange Line has a mixed-use path that runs parallel to the BRT for its entire 18 miles, which allows riders who live or work in-between stations to walk or bike to the BRT station safely and easily.


Photo by BeyondDC on Flickr.

6. Give bus systems a cool brand. Unique branding can distinguish the BRT--along withall its new features-- from existing transit options and draw in new riders. In 2005, the year the Viva system in Ontario, Canada's York region opened, 83% of non-riders interviewed recognized Viva. Ridership along those corridors increased by more than 56% in Viva's first year.


Photo by Sean_Marshall on Flickr.

7. Use big buses with extra features. Buses can look and feel more like a light rail train than an ordinary bus. Articulated vehicles with three doors have more space for passengers. Many systems, including Fort Collins, CO's MAX, offer free Wi-Fi on their vehicles so riders can work, study, or read while traveling. Wi-Fi on board is among the things Montgomery County students and staff want.

This could all come to Montgomery

Since late April, Montgomery County's Transit Task Force has met regularly to discuss all options for building, funding, and operating the BRT. In the next week or two, the group will release its draft report on its findings and hold a public forum on September 30 before handing the final report over to Leggett.

It's not often a place has the opportunity to transform its entire transportation network, as Montgomery County does now. If the county can take what works in other systems and listen to the residents who use its roads every day, whether by walking, biking, riding transit, or driving, it can create a transportation network that works for all of its residents now, 20, or even 50 years down the line.

A big part of Leggett's decision will be whether to fund the system with a single local source or a mix of local sources, or to set it up to depend on mostly dried-up state and federal funding. A dedicated funding source can ensure a well-designed BRT with all of the key features that make it rapid and reliable and distinguish it from all other transportation options.

While creative solutions can be made to fit the BRT onto existing roads and to prevent cost overruns, cutting the features that make BRT great would keep Montgomery County's system from achieving what it's setting out to do.

Last week, Communities for Transit and the Coalition for Smarter Growth released a report demonstrating the importance of these and many other features of BRT systems to aid Montgomery County's citizen task force members, elected officials and staff in their upcoming BRT deliberations.

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Transit


Smaller stations, fewer dedicated lanes for Gaithersburg BRT

As designs for the Corridor Cities Transitway BRT line solidify, officials are revising plans to try and cut costs and ease approvals. Among the changes: Smaller stations, fewer dedicated lanes, and fewer grade-separated street crossings.


Original two-bus station design (left) and smaller one-bus design (right). All images from Maryland.

Smaller stations

According to initial designs, all transitway stations would have been 150 feet long, large enough to comfortably accommodate two articulated buses in each direction.

The revised plans reduce six of the transitway's ten stations down to 65 feet long, and the other four stations down to 125 feet.

The 125-foot stations will still be able to squeeze in two buses at a time. The 65-foot stations will only fit a single bus. All stations will be designed so they can expand to 125 feet later if necessary.

With buses scheduled to come every six minutes at peak times, single-bus stations could cause delays if buses begin to bunch together.

Dedicated lanes at the Belward property

The Corridor Cities Transitway will be, for the most part, true BRT. It will have a dedicated running way for most of its length. But now officials are proposing that it run in mixed traffic for a 1.1 mile detour around the Belward property, aka the last farm in Gaithersburg.


Original alignment through the Belward property (left) and proposed mixed-traffic realignment around it (right).

This change isn't to save money, nor is it to avoid upsetting car drivers. It has to do with the historic farmhouse in the middle of the property.

Under federal rules concerning historic preservation, the state cannot build the transitway through the farm unless the property is disturbed by development first. But Montgomery County's master plan does not allow for development on the farm until after the transitway is up and running. It's a chicken and egg problem.

Thus Maryland's new plan: Buses will detour around Belward farm on existing roads, in mixed traffic.

It's not clear whether the detour plan is supposed to be temporary or permanent. It could be the state will operate the detour at first, long enough to allow development at Belward, and then retrofit in the dedicated transitway once development is underway.

Or it could be the state will never correct this problem, and buses will run in mixed-traffic around Belward long after buildings have replaced the farm. Time will tell.

At-grade street crossing

Another major cost-saving change is coming where the transitway crosses MD Route 28, Key West Avenue.


Transitway crossing of Key West Avenue.

Initial plans called for an underpass below Key West Avenue. Buses never would have had to stop for a red light. New plans show a surface crossing, meaning buses will have to contend with traffic signals.

And although the state webpage does clearly say that an at-grade crossing will have minimal "effects on general traffic flow through the intersection," it doesn't say anything about how this change will affect transit travel time.

Questions about cost

Montgomery County official Glenn Orlin recently revealed that costs for the transitway are climbing.

The most recent state cost estimate, from 2012, was for $545 million. Officially that's still the estimate. But Orlin says a new estimate is forthcoming and will be "in the $700-800 million range." If true, that's a troubling increase, and could explain some of the state's moves to reduce costs.

On the other hand, Orlin also indicated the new estimate is in year-of-construction dollars, while the old estimate was in 2012 dollars. If so, inflation could account for the lion's share of the difference. Until the actual estimate comes out, it's impossible to know.

It may not matter anyway, as the transitway remains unfunded, and prospects for funding under Maryland Governor Hogan appear slim.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

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Parking


Fears over parking are threatening a new bus service in Richmond

Richmond is getting a new bus rapid transit system, but one neighborhood group is against the project because it will mean some lost parking spaces. But the new line won't even run through their neighborhood, and there's plenty of parking in the city already.


Broad Street today. Image by Jeff Auth on Wikipedia Commons.

The Bus Rapid Transit project is called the Pulse, and it will connect the city's east and west ends along Broad Street, one of Richmond main avenues. In some sections, the line will run in its own lanes along Broad Street's median. One of these sections borders a neighborhood in Richmond known as the Fan.

Work on the Pulse will definitely mean cutting parking on Broad Street, some of it for construction and some of it permanently. The Fan District Association says it's already hard enough to find parking in the neighborhood and that the Pulse would only make it harder. The group recently sent a letter to the Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) saying it's opposed to the project.

Blame bad parking management, not transit, for parking trouble

It may be harder to park in the Fan in the future, but the Pulse won't be to blame if that happens. Lots of people park on the street because parking there is usually convenient and cheap, or even free. In most cities, parking is drastically underpriced given how valuable the space spots take up is.

This is especially true for Fan District residents since the city introduced a permit parking progam (which is similar to DC's) where residents can park wherever they want for twenty five dollars per year, per car. That's an incredibly low price for parking in an otherwise high-demand area, which it incentivizes people to park there rather than somewhere else.

For those concerned about the availability of street parking in the Fan, stopping the Pulse would actually be counterproductive because the service will give people an alternative to driving. It'd be smarter to focus efforts on finding ways manage street parking in a way that matches the demand for it.


This is how Broad Street might look once the Pulse arrives. Rendering from GRTC.

This could include things like limiting the number of passes per household, expanding permit-only hours, or raising the price of a permit so that a parking spot isn't nearly free. Combined with new transit, solutions like those could alleviate some of the parking pressure that's there today.

These kinds of measures would also keep the neighborhood from having to rely on nearby streets for relief from parking pressure. They'd solve the problem directly, by making sure people who really needed parking in the Fan had it available to them, rather than by trying make it easy to park in other areas.

Richmond is primed to be less car-dependent

Richmond has a lot of similarities to DC. It has a number of historic neighborhoods where buildings don't have dedicated parking and residents and visitors alike have grown to rely on street parking in front of or near their homes. In downtown Richmond, large spaces are devoted to parking, and elevated highways have created some huge barriers between neighborhoods.

Despite it being fairly dense and urban, large parts of Richmond are car-dependent. In the Fan, parking pressures have grown as the neighborhood has gentrified and new businesses and residents have moved in.

Also like DC, though, much of Richmond is perfectly suited for car-lite or car-free lifestyles. And more transit, like the Pulse, could make it easier for Richmonders to use a carless often.

It's almost understandable why residents would be wary of any proposal that, on the surface, seems like it could make it harder to park than it already is. But blocking better transit would ensure that the problem remains. One neighborhood's fear over parking shouldn't stop an entire city's plan for running more smoothly.

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