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D.C. area is biggest source of new RVA residents, Census Bureau data shows

The Richmond metro area has been growing, and new data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows where people are moving from — especially the D.C. suburbs, Hampton Roads and the New York and Philadelphia areas. RVA also receives a lot of international migration, particularly from Asia. The data also shows where former Richmonders move to — notably, Atlanta.

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By Hannah Eason

Kayla Walker is from the Virginia Beach area but moved to Richmond to pursue a pharmaceutical career. She says diversity, better opportunities and Virginia Commonwealth University’s pharmacy program influenced her decision.

“There’s literally all walks of life in Richmond, versus in Virginia Beach, it’s very military- and family-based,” Walker said. “In Richmond, it’s sort of a whole spectrum of people.”

Walker was one of more than 60,000 people who moved to the Richmond metro area since 2013. The area’s population increased by about 5% during that time period, and new data shows where new Richmond residents have moved from.

The U.S. Census Bureau released data estimating how many people moved from one place to another. The data shows the migration between metro areas, states and counties.

“These data tables highlight the geographic mobility of people between counties, metropolitan statistical areas, minor civil divisions in some states, and municipalities (municipios) in Puerto Rico,” the U.S. Census Bureau stated in releasing the statistics. “The five-year data provide estimates of in-migration, out-migration and net migration of movers and nonmovers between origin and destination of these geographies.”

The Richmond metro area — which includes the cities of Richmond and Petersburg; the counties of Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover; and 12 other localities — has seen about 10,000 people move annually from the Washington, D.C., area in recent years. The numbers are estimates from surveys conducted by the bureau, and they have a margin of error. The influx of people from D.C., for example, could be 1,000 higher or lower.

At the same time, about 7,000 people a year moved from the Richmond area to the D.C. area. So the Richmond area had a net gain from the Washington region of about 3,000 people annually, according to the Census Bureau.

Richmond also saw a large amount of migration from the Virginia Beach-Norfolk metro area — about 7,900 people relocated from Tidewater to River City a year. Around 6,300 Richmond residents went in the opposite direction — giving the state capital region a net gain of about 1,600 people a year from Tidewater.

Internationally, approximately 3,000 people migrated to Richmond from Asia, and 1,000 from Europe.

The data shows that the Richmond area also had net gains in migration from the New York-Newark-Jersey City metro area (more than 1,700 people per year); the Philadelphia metro area (about 650 annually); Lynchburg (around 550); and the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area (about 450).

The Census Bureau estimated that about 500 people moved to Richmond from the Atlanta, Georgia, area. At the same time, however, almost 1,500 people moved from Richmond to the Atlanta region, making a net loss of about 1,000 for RVA.

Grayson Glueck, owner of social media company Grayson Media, was one of the estimated 7,000 people who moved from Richmond to the D.C. area last year.

After graduating from Radford University, she moved to Richmond in 2017. In 2018, she moved to Fredericksburg and started developing her social media marketing, photography and videography company.

“Both places I lived in Richmond had less traffic and people than I have now,” Glueck said. “Where I live now, if you leave between four and five you’re stuck in bumper to bumper.”

Chris Joseph, a real estate agent with 28 years of experience, says there are many reasons the Richmond area is attractive to D.C.-area residents, such as lower taxes, affordability and easy access to the ocean and mountains.

Joseph says many businesses are opening offices in the Central Virginia region, and the ability to work remotely from Richmond has become more common. With transportation options like carpooling, Amtrak and driving on Interstate 95, living in Richmond and commuting to D.C. is still a common option.

“The distance between Richmond and DC is getting shorter and shorter, but takes a lot of time and is very expensive,” the RE/MAX Commonwealth associate broker said. “It’s much more affordable and less stressful when it comes to commuting.”

Recent college graduate Mohamed Bushra moved from Richmond to the D.C. metro area after getting a job at the Embassy of Qatar.

“I wanted to come back to where I grew up,” Bushra said, “and D.C. is a much bigger city with more opportunities.”

While he is closer to his job living in Springfield, he says traffic and affordability are still prominent issues.

“If you’re looking for a one-bedroom, in Richmond you can get that for like $1,000, and I used to think that was expensive,” Bushra said. “But over here, you can pay $2,000 for a studio apartment, and it’s tiny.”

Working in the public relations department of the embassy, and serving as “the connection between the diplomats and the outside world in the U.S.,” Bushra says the traffic can be overwhelming.

He says it often takes him about 90 minutes to drive to work each morning, and a five-mile trip can frequently take him half an hour.

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Arts & Entertainment

Shakeup at the Byrd: General Manager and four board members exit as possible programming changes loom

The Byrd’s General Manager Todd Schall-Vess was dismissed from his duties with no warning at a November board meeting, prompting four of its members to step down as well.

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From Style Weekly:

For the past 21 years, if one person could be called the face of the historic Byrd Theatre, it would be its general manager, Todd Schall-Vess.

Not only was he in charge of the daily operations and part-time staff, but he was the booker for the Byrd’s programming and often the sweaty guy up onstage introducing films and special events, dealing with snafus and faulty microphones.

But after being fired during a Byrd Theatre Foundation board meeting Nov. 19 without a reason, he says, he’s now considering taking legal action, adding that he is distressed that the part-time employees he once considered like his children can no longer speak to him on orders of the board.

“If there was some sort of fundamental breakdown, you would think that would be preceded with a discussion of some sort,” Schall-Vess says. “There was absolutely nothing. [The board] has not commented on why.”

Continue reading here.

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Crime

Data: More pedestrians are dying on Virginia’s roads

In 2018, 123 pedestrians died on the state’s roads — the highest death toll in a decade. Preliminary figures show that in 2019, at least 120 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in the commonwealth.

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By Kelly Booth and Judi Dalati

On a Friday night in October, Katelyn Tilts was walking to a convenience store with a group of friends when she saw headlights coming at her.

“A car came around the corner really quickly and was swerving. The driver was swerving but started going directly at me and hit me head-on,” Tilts later told WTVR. “I remember thinking that it hurt so bad that I didn’t know how I would be able to make it until the ambulance got there.”

The hit-and-run incident left Tilts, a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University, hospitalized and on crutches. She survived, but many pedestrians hit by vehicles do not.

According to data from the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Department of Motor Vehicles, 123 pedestrians died on the state’s roads in 2018 — the highest death toll in 10 years.

Preliminary figures show that at least 120 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in the commonwealth last year.

Not only are more pedestrians being killed, but they also are making up a greater proportion of all traffic fatalities:

  • In 2015, 10% of the people killed in roadway accidents in Virginia were pedestrians.
  • That figure jumped to 16% the following year. Last year, it was 15%, according to VDOT and DMV data.

“The vast, overwhelming majority of people who die on our streets are killed by drivers of cars,” noted Ross Catrow, executive director of RVA Rapid Transit, an advocacy group for regional public transportation.

“And the further sad truth is that these deaths and serious injuries often go unnoticed, underreported, and, even worse, usually nothing is done to build better streets and make them safer for people,” Catrow wrote on Streets Cred, his website about urban issues affecting mid-sized American cities.

Catrow has pointed out that some people say pedestrians are at fault for the rising number of traffic accidents. He rejects that notion.

“I’m so ultra-tired of engineers, elected officials and everyone else blaming ‘distracted pedestrians’ for the increase in injuries on our roads,” he said on his “Good Morning, RVA” podcast.

Catrow advocates traffic-calming measures such as painted curb bulbs and posts that can narrow intersections, increase visibility and slow down drivers to prevent pedestrian accidents.

Some people blame elderly drivers for causing accidents. But 25% of the motorists involved in traffic accidents that have killed pedestrians since 2013 were in their 20s — and half of them were under 40. About 22% of the drivers involved in pedestrian fatalities were 60 and older.

Ralph Aronberg, a traffic engineer consultant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said some people in their early 20s have poor driving habits.

“Drivers in that age group are more likely to use social media such as Instagram on their cellphone, are more likely to have groups in vehicles leading to distractions and are less likely to realize the consequences of taking their eyes off the road,” he said.

Aronberg, whose firm focuses on accident reconstructions, said people in their early 20s are also more likely to drive at night, drink and drive, or be under the influence of THC or other mind-altering substances while operating a car.

Pedestrians killed in traffic accidents in Virginia since 2013 have ranged in age from infants to 96. About a third of the victims were under 30; slightly over a third in their 40s and 50s; and the rest 60 or older.

Since 2013, Fairfax has had the most pedestrian deaths — more than 80, according to VDOT data. Then come Henrico County (43), Norfolk (40), Richmond (31) and Newport News (27).

The roads with the most pedestrian fatalities during that time period were:

  • Jefferson Avenue, Newport News — seven
  • Route 11, Washington County — three
  • South Street, Front Royal — three
  • Southbound Route 288, Goochland County — three
  • Chamberlayne Avenue, Richmond — three

Weather was not a factor in most pedestrian deaths.

“Most vehicle-pedestrian accidents happen in good weather,” said Daniel Vomhof, a traffic safety expert in California and a member of the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstructionists.

More than 85% of the pedestrian fatalities in Virginia happened in clear or cloudy weather conditions, the VDOT data showed. About 13% occurred in rain, mist or fog, and 1% in snowy weather.

To stay safe, Vomhof recommends that pedestrians wear white or reflective shoes at night and light-colored clothing that doesn’t blend in with the surroundings.

“Visibility increases when the object is in eye contrast to the background,” Vomhof said.

About the data in this report:

The data for this project was downloaded from the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Virginia Crashes | Virginia Roads website. It covers every vehicle crash in the state from 2013 to July of this year.

The data set contains more than 828,000 records. We filtered it for pedestrian accidents (about 11,000) and then for fatal pedestrian accidents (660).

We analyzed the data using Microsoft Excel, aggregating the data by locality, weather conditions and other columns in the spreadsheet.

We also used the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle’s online “Traffic Crash Data” tool to confirm and refine our analysis. We also ensured that the numbers were consistent with those published in the DMV’s report, 2018 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts.

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Education

Equality Virginia to host “Ask A Trans Person” panel in Chesterfield Thursday evening

According to national data, only 16% of people say they personally know someone who is transgender. The panel series aims to raise visibility about the transgender community, while highlighting the need for nondiscrimination protections for transgender Virginians.

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Equality Virginia will host an “Ask a Trans Person” panel in Chesterfield County on December 12th from 6:30-8 p.m. at the First Congregational Christian United Church of Christ located at 4310 Courthouse Rd. The free panel will include local transgender community members sharing their experiences along with a Q&A discussion.

According to national data, only 16% of people say they personally know someone who is transgender. The panel series aims to raise visibility about the transgender community while highlighting the need for nondiscrimination protections for transgender Virginians.

“Many people are still learning what it means to be transgender and the panels are a safe place to ask questions and engage in respectful dialogue with fellow community members,” said Thalia Hernandez, Equality Virginia’s transgender program coordinator and event moderator. “One of the topics the panel will focus on is the need for nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender individuals. Many people are surprised to learn that there are no statewide laws in Virginia that protect LGBT people from discrimination in their daily lives.”

Under current Virginia law – as in 29 other states in the nation – LGBT people are not explicitly protected from discrimination. That means that LGBT people can be fired, evicted or denied service in restaurants or stores.

Registration for the event is required. Visit www.equalityvirginia.org/events to sign up.

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