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GRTC announces return of seasonal express service to Kings Dominion

In 2018, the service transported about 41,500 passengers between March and December between Richmond, Ashland, and Kings Dominion.

RVAHub Staff

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GRTC has announced the return of seasonal express service to Kings Dominion and the Town of Ashland on Sunday, March 24th, to coincide with the spring opening of the amusement park.

This is the second year GRTC is offering Spring seasonal service on this route. Employees and park guests alike can ride reliably to and from Richmond, Ashland, and this destination and employment center in Central Virginia.

Starting Sunday, March 24th, GRTC will operate primarily weekend service until Memorial Day Weekend. Additional service, like previous years, continues through the Summer to Labor Day weekend, followed by Fall service through Halloween Haunt and Winter service through WinterFest.

“Kings Dominion is pleased to continue this expanded partnership with GRTC this season and to have supported its growth over the years,” says Maggie Sellers, Communications Manager for Kings Dominion.

In 2018, the service transported about 41,500 passengers between March and December between Richmond, Ashland, and Kings Dominion.

Passengers can board the 102x Kings Dominion Express at Southside Plaza and also at westbound bus stops between 12th Street and Belvidere Street on Broad Street in Downtown Richmond. Southside Plaza is the recommended pick-up and drop-off location for vehicular traffic. Ashland passengers board the 102x Kings Dominion Express at the bus stop on Junction Drive at the Ashland Junction Shopping Center. Click here for the Route Schedule through June 2019.

The fare remains the same as previous years. For only $5.00 per trip, visitors avoid the cost of gas and parking, save wear and tear on their cars, and fully relax by letting someone else do the driving when they visit Kings Dominion. The fare for Kings Dominion employees (with employee ID) is $3.00 per trip. This service enables Kings Dominion employees to reliably get to and from work, including students participating in Richmond’s Mayor’s Youth Academy.

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Transportation

Curb “bump-outs” being installed along Grove Avenue in the Museum District to mitigate speeding issues

Traffic calming measures are coming to the Museum District after recent data indicated a high rate of incidents of speeding in the neighborhood.

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Traffic calming measures are coming to the Museum District after recent data indicated a high rate of incidents of speeding in the neighborhood.

According to the Museum District Association, raised crosswalks (or speed tables) and curb “bump-outs” are being installed along Grove Avenue between Belmont and Nansemond, as well as the intersections of Grove and Crenshaw and Grove and Auburn.

The bump-outs will protect pedestrians as they cross the street, enabling safer passage within the neighborhood.

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Downtown

Committee to discuss bill to “transform” state transportation, establish Passenger Rail Authority

A House committee decided last Wednesday to temporarily postpone action on a comprehensive transportation bill that, in part, establishes a governing body to purchase and manage railways, something supporters said the state has gone too long without. 

Capital News Service

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By Jimmy O’Keefe

A House committee decided last Wednesday to temporarily postpone action on a comprehensive transportation bill that, in part, establishes a governing body to purchase and manage railways, something supporters said the state has gone too long without.

The House Finance Committee, citing time constraints and the bill’s complexity, will act Monday on House Bill 1414, introduced by House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax.

The bill also amends several laws related to funds, safety programs and revenue sources.

The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority would be led by a board of directors consisting of 11 members, nine of which would be appointed by the governor, and would have the power to purchase and manage railways. Eight of the members will have voting power and would represent localities across the state. The authority would be tasked to promote, sustain and expand Virginia’s passenger and commuter rail service and to increase ridership.

Danny Plaugher, executive director of Virginians for High Speed Rail, said his organization has supported the creation of a rail authority for decades. The nonprofit advocates for frequent and fast rail service throughout the state and along the East Coast.

“It creates an entity that can own real infrastructure,” Plaugher said. “The state has not been in the business of owning rail since the state sold the Richmond to D.C. corridor in the early ’90s.”

Virginia announced plans late last year to purchase rail for passenger use from CSX.

Plaugher said that rail service in Virginia has increased by about 30% in the past decade. He noted that while Virginia has been expanding train service, trains in Virginia typically run north and south, not east and west.

He noted that the state’s four-year gubernatorial terms can limit certain initiatives and priorities can change.

“One of the benefits of a rail authority really is that you can have that long term sustaining vision for the expansion of passenger rail that supersedes the changing of any gubernatorial administration,” Plaugher said.

The authority would have the power to build and maintain rail facilities, borrow money and issue bonds to finance rail facilities. It also would make rules and regulations pertaining to railways. Local authorities would be subordinate to the rail authority.

The legislation includes the establishment of a transit incentive program, which would promote transit in areas with a population over 200,000 and “reduce barriers to transit use for low-income individuals.”

The rail authority is part of a larger transportation legislation package announced Monday by Gov. Ralph Northam and legislative leaders. Together with Senate Bill 890, HB 1414 aims to increase driver safety and modernize Virginia’s transportation system.

“Virginians should be able to get to work or to school safely, without sitting in traffic,” Northam said in a statement. “This bold package will reduce congestion, transform transit and rail service, and support economic growth across Virginia.”

Both bills would reduce vehicle registration fees to $13 for private passenger cars weighing 4,000 pounds or less and $18 for private passenger cars weighing more than 4,000 pounds. It also would allocate funding for interstates and streets to meet safety targets and raise the gas tax by 4 cents each year for the next three years. The gas tax will increase from 16 cents to 20 cents in July and will reach 28 cents by 2023. After that, the gas tax will be adjusted annually based on the United States Average Consumer Price Index.

“In November, Virginians overwhelmingly demanded we take swift, decisive action to move our Commonwealth forward,” Filler-Corn said in a statement provided to Capital News Service. “I am excited to work with the Governor and my colleagues in the General Assembly to pass this legislation that will make our roads safer, commutes shorter and transform passenger and commuter rail in Virginia.”

Plaugher sees the potential establishment of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority as a step in the right direction for Virginia transportation.

“The Passenger Rail Authority is really positioning Virginia to take hold of their transportation destiny,” Plaugher said.

After a quick overview from the state Secretary of Transportation, Shannon Valentine, the chair moved to act on the bill Monday.

“I would invite the public to also please communicate with us any questions that you might have,” said House Finance Committee Chair Vivian Watts, D-Fairfax, who advised members to thoroughly read the bill. “Thank you very much for the overview of a very large, very complex, good look to the future.”

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Downtown

GRTC Pulse riders can now experience Richmond history by scanning QR codes at bus stations

Pulse riders are one scan away from experiencing Richmond history thanks to a partnership between the Valentine, GRTC, and VCU. 

RVAHub Staff

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Thanks to an innovative partnership between the Valentine, GRTC and Virginia Commonwealth University, riders will be able to use QR codes at each of the 14 Pulse stops across the city to access easily-digestible Richmond stories.

Each QR code links riders to a webpage showcasing nearby sites of interest, upcoming events and a brief history of the area, complete with archival photos.

“We’re so happy to be working with two such distinguished Richmond institutions,” GRTC Chief Executive Officer Julie Timm said. “GRTC is dedicated to serving the community, and this is another opportunity to help Richmonders navigate their city.”

The QR codes can be found on the glass map illustrations of each Pulse platform. The Valentine provided research support for the project, developing relevant, accessible content for each stop in a way that riders can easily interact with.

Explore the Past on the Pulse is about engaging riders and providing opportunities for Richmonders to learn more about the spaces and the neighborhoods they frequent,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “This project makes Richmond history more accessible because you don’t have to go track this information down. Instead, the information comes to you, wherever you are.”

Dr. John Kneebone, VCU professor emeritus, was instrumental in developing Explore the Past on the Pulse and worked with graduate students to develop an early iteration of the project.

“This project appealed to me as a teacher because my History graduate students could apply their skills and abilities to coursework with an obvious real-world application,” Dr. Kneebone said. “I tested the project the summer before class and it was very feasible. As a class project, too, it enabled the students to both collaborate and work individually. At semester’s end, the students presented their work to the Valentine and GRTC. Today when I ride the Pulse, I find myself engaged historically with my whereabouts, and now other riders can, too.”

As part of their ongoing class project, VCU students also provided technical and content feedback on Explore the Past on the Pulse.

You too can Explore the Past on the Pulse at any of the 14 Pulse Stops across the city by using your phone to scan the QR codes available at each Pulse station or directly through the GRTC website.

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