The AP Hill statue is gone but traffic problems persist where it once stood, drivers say

Posted at 7:36 AM, Jan 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-13 14:16:06-05

RICHMOND, Va. — Richmond’s last Confederate statue was removed from a busy Northside intersection nearly a month ago, but drivers say the traffic concerns have continued.

Navigating through the Hermitage Road and West Laburnum Avenue intersection was dangerous and difficult with the AP Hill statue standing tall in the middle of the road, according to Tara Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick serves as the "Safe Routes to Schools" coordinator for Richmond Public Schools and works with the crossing guards at the nearby Holton Elementary School.

“There is really not a great traffic pattern here because you have a mixture of a traffic circle with a four-way intersection that has eight lanes of traffic,” FitzPatrick told CBS 6 last September prior to the statue removal. “Nobody knows when it's their turn to turn. The stoplights or all incredibly outdated. You know, there's just a lot of problems here.”

The city has since paved over the former Confederate statue’s place and painted pedestrian crossing lines. However, Fitzpatrick said traffic is now “just a different kind of bad.”

Ap Hill Traffic .jpg
Tara Fitzpatrick

“There's still the idea of sort of a traffic circle happening. You still have the speed because of the big, unmarked pavement area in the middle,” she explained. “Just a lot of confusion happening out there.”

Fitzpatrick said the traffic signals at the intersection are outdated. There are no pedestrian signals, turn signals or new line markings within the intersection.

“I personally also do everything I can to avoid this intersection, whether it's on foot, on bike or even in my car. I know that that's the case for a lot of people,” she stated.

Families walking their students to Holton Elementary also actively avoid this intersection, she said. The crossing guards are also worried about their safety.

The CBS 6 Problem Solvers asked the city’s Department of Public Works if there are any immediate plans to address the traffic concerns.

Confederate Monument Richmond
FILE - Traffic drives in the circle at the monument of confederate General A.P. Hill, which contains his remains, is in the middle of a traffic circle on Arthur Ashe Blvd. Jan. 6, 2022, in Richmond, Va. Work to relocate Richmond’s final city-owned Confederate monument should start this week after a judge refused a request to delay the removal of the statue of Gen. A.P. Hill from its prominent spot in Virginia's capital, an official said. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

“The Department will continue to monitor the Laburnum/Hermitage intersection as traffic patterns continue to settle. In the interim, the Department will make adjustments to the intersection based upon field observations, including prohibiting turns beyond the peak periods,” a DPW spokesperson wrote in an email.

They said an intersection study is planned for summer or fall of this year although an ordinance established in 2009 prohibits a roundabout at that location.

“City Council can take action to rescind the prohibition on a roundabout at that location such that all options can be fully studied. Roundabouts are the safest way to address intersections like Laburnum and Hermitage. Design plans (near 90% complete) are available from the 2009 timeframe,” the statement read.

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