Proposals to block Brook Road bike lane, rename Boulevard headed to City Council

Posted at 10:59 AM, Jan 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-23 10:59:41-05

The planned 3.5-mile bike lane along Brook Road has drawn impassioned response from neighborhood residents, both in favor of and against the lane. (Photos by Mike Platania)

RICHMOND, Va. — Proposals to block a Northside bike lane from being installed and to rename a major arterial road in the city are on their way to Richmond City Council.

The city’s Land Use, Housing and Transportation Standing Committee convened Tuesday and sent two ordinances to council without recommendation: one that would block a planned bike lane along a stretch of Brook Road, and another that would rename the Boulevard after tennis legend and Richmond native Arthur Ashe.

The planned 3.5-mile bike lane would run along Brook Road from its intersections with Azalea Avenue and West Charity Street. The project also would involve converting one of the road’s travel lanes to a floating parking lane to divide cyclists from vehicular traffic. Council members Chris Hilbert and Kim Gray co-wrote the paper opposing the project last June.

About 60 people were in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, with four speaking in favor of the bike lane ban and six against.

A member of the Edgehill-Chamberlayne Court Civic Association spoke in favor of the ban, saying that it is “traumatizing to think of floating parking lanes” and the lanes are “not something we’ll get accustomed to.”

Louise Lockett of Bike Walk RVA, an advocacy arm of local nonprofit Sports Backers, spoke against the ban. Lockett said stopping the project would jeopardize future bike lanes in the city, arguing that VDOT is less likely to provide grant funding to localities that have rejected similar projects after receiving funding for them.

The committee voted to send the ordinance to council without recommendation, as it did in November with an ordinance to allow dockless scooters to operate legally in Richmond.

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