Bike Bliss 

Plans for a 'bicycle boulevard' on Floyd Avenue take a baby step forward, but someone still has to ask the neighbors.

A proposal to give bicycles priority on Floyd Avenue in the Museum District and the Fan advanced last week when the city won $40,000 to study the project.

The plan, however, is still far from a sure thing.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports today that federal funds have been awarded to begin designing the project, estimate its cost, and “talk to neighbors that would be affected.”

That last one’s important; if the blissful, bike-haven that is proposed ever materializes -- it’s only going to be after the concerns of nearby homeowners are placated.

On national bike to work day last month we asked Mayor Dwight Jones about the plan, which is included in this year’s capitol improvement plan. You can watch the video here.

Jones acknowledged infrastructure changes like the one proposed for Floyd are the next step for making Richmond a more bicycle friendly city. Sharrows, the shared lane markings that have been painted on some roads, are limited in their effectiveness, he says. It’s position many cycling advocates share.

The capital improvement plan says Floyd would be converted into a “bike boulevard” that will “give priority to bicycles through the installation of” traffic circles, speed bumps and other traffic-slowing measures. Cars would be allowed but diverted to parallel streets every few blocks. It would stretch from Monroe Park to Thompson Street.

At this point, the biggest unknown may be whether residents on Floyd will stand for it. Projects like this tend to inspire opposition, and the response so far from the relevant neighborhood associations has been to hedge.

The T-D reports “presidents of the Fan District Association and Musuem District Assocation say they don’t know enough about the project to take a position,” but a member of the Museum District Association’s board of directors, noting that he’s “pretty curious,” expresses concern:

“The big issue in my mind is visitors and emergency vehicles getting turned around or delayed or lost and the aggravation that might cause.”

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