April 09, 2003 News & Features » Cover Story

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20 Miles Out 

Four writers take off from the center of the city to meet the people just beyond Richmond's reach.

A spot less symbolic, perhaps, but easier for people to find on a map. So the true heart of the city shifted from grass to concrete, subtly changing exactly where we all stood.

Distance is relative, as we discovered on a mission to explore the places 20 miles north, east, south and west of that imaginary point on the city sidewalk. We asked VDOT to draw us a map, plotting the precise locations 20 miles from the city's center. Twenty miles as the crow flies — a flash on the Interstate, a few blisters to walk, a gallon of gas. A distance great enough to break the rhythms of the city, but close enough that people's lives are still tied to the ebb and flow of Richmond's arteries — if they want them to be. Twenty miles. — Melissa Scott Sinclair

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