North of Broad 
Member since Jun 1, 2011


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Re: “How Green is Richmond?

Again echoing most of the other comments, Richmond is too car-dependent. The two major reasons for this are the mandatory parking minimums in the zoning code and the extensive "free" street parking.

Car use has been so rigorously mandated- by law- that of course driving personal vehicles is the transport mode of "choice." (It's not like we can "choose" to walk on Powhite Pkwy.) To the extent that 20th Century leaders wanted a comprehensive transport system of roads and automobiles we can consider this quite a successful government intervention. But now we are confronting the unintended consequences of building such a complete car network. The pollution, the obesity, the carnage of car deaths, the crushing cost of the roads, the distortion of the land market, the dependence on a dwindling fuel source (oil) these are all consequences we didn't plan on when we chose near-total reliance on cars.

So the two things the city government can do to begin to move away from car dependence are 1:) get rid of ALL parking requirements in the zoning code. Just stop it completely. Leave it to the market to provide parking depending on what drivers are willing to pay. What a bizarre imposition on property owners that we accept the government telling us we MUST dedicate "X" percentage of our property to transport infrastructure. 2:) stop the practice of providing "free" street parking. That street is public property, why is half of it dedicated to storage of private property? Making it "free" is essentially a price control and we all know that price controls cause shortages. We'll find it easier to find a parking space when we pay the market cost of it, and if we aren't willing to do that we'll use another mode like walking, cycling, or transit.

Let's start our move away from car dependence with the easy part- ditch the car mandates written into our laws. Ultimately this will become self-evident due to forces beyond Richmond's control- namely peak oil and macroeconomic troubles- but it's good to be proactive.

Posted by North of Broad on 11/14/2011 at 12:42 PM

Re: “There Goes the 'Hood

The writers really sensationalize "VCU's rapid growth into the old, slum-ridden neighborhoods north of Broad..." In reality, VCU buildings are limited mostly to Broad Street itself, some which fill the block to the south side of Marshall Street, and the student housing on the north side of the block of Marshall at Belvidere. They write, "In a few months' time, VCU will again draw the curtain on Catherine Street..." but then they never explain how exactly VCU will do this. Isn't it RRHA's plan to redevelop Catherine Street, as they did with the 900 block?

I know it is easy to blame VCU for gentrification because they are the most visible presence in the area. But if you look at what has changed there in the last decade, it was actually the redevelopment plan implemented by RRHA through the 2000's that made Carver safe for the influx of VCU students. So in that sense I think it is a little inaccurate and even sensationalist to say that VCU policy, enabled by racism, facilitated this wholesale gentrification of Carver- with its one-block penetration by VCU- while Oregon Hill's white residents prevented VCU encroachment- except for the one-block penetration of the new gym, wholesale resettlement by VCU students, and the complete destruction of several blocks of the south end of the neighborhood back in the late 90's.

Otherwise, this was an excellent article.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by North of Broad on 06/01/2011 at 7:19 AM

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