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Transportation

GRTC pilots new on-demand bus service program

The pilot program will mean early morning and late-night riders can request a ride between bus stops.

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GRTC implements modified schedules on December 20, 2021, when select routes will temporarily end service at 11PM or not start service until 6AM because of ongoing labor shortages. To provide another mobility option for customers affected by the temporary service adjustments, GRTC is piloting a new on-demand service between bus stops.

GRTC customers can request one ride per day from one GRTC bus stop to another GRTC bus stop through on-demand service Monday-Friday, 5AM-6AM and 11PM-2AM. GRTC is working with multiple partners to provide this service under Zero Fare operations.

GRTC Chief Executive Officer Julie Timm explains, “We are excited to pilot this new on-demand service to ensure no rider is disadvantaged by GRTC’s temporary service adjustments on some routes. Although the bus schedule impacts are modest, we know most riders are commuting to or from work and rely on us to be there on time. This pilot not only preserves service for these late night and early morning commuters, it will also yield data to study in the GRTC service area for demand of an on-demand mobility service.”

When: Monday – Friday between 5AM-6AM and 11PM-2AM only, excluding observed Holidays falling on weekdays when GRTC operates a weekend schedule. Please pardon the dust as GRTC begins this pilot in phases this Winter 2021-2022. Uber functionality will be phased into service. This pilot program is projected to end by Spring 2022 and may be discontinued at any time.

How it works: Several Zero Fare alternative transportation options are available for riders to choose. Rides may be requested only once per day and only work from GRTC bus stop to bus stop.

GRTC/UZURV/Uber Phone Help: Call 804-358-4782 for help requesting a ride over the phone with Uber, UZURV, or a GRTC small vehicle. This is a slower option with longer waits for pick-up. Trips should be requested approximately 30 minutes before needing to ride. Wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) are available upon request. (Uber functionality will be phased into service during Winter).

Uber App: Download Uber’s mobile app and request a ride from a bus stop to the destination bus stop. This is the fastest and easiest option. When requesting a ride, make sure your pick-up bus stop is correct. (Uber functionality will be phased into service during Winter).

The Federal Mask Order remains in effect through March 18, 2022 which means all passengers must continue to properly wear face masks throughout their trip, regardless of vaccination status. Passengers with symptoms of illness are asked not to ride. For the most complete and latest GRTC updates during this pandemic, please visit our website.

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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of RVAhub.com, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.

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Transportation

Local leaders adopt BikePedRVA 2045 plan, calling for additional 770 miles of bike and pedestrian infrastructure

A recently approved plan is calling for an additional 770 miles of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure to promote safety, accessibility, and equity across the region.

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A recently approved plan is calling for an additional 770 miles of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure to promote safety, accessibility, and equity across the region.

On May 5th, the Policy Board for the Richmond Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RRTPO) adopted BikePedRVA 2045, a visionary framework tied to immediate recommendations for activating bicycling and pedestrian transportation throughout the region.

Since the last iteration of the bike and pedestrian plan in 2004, the popularity and necessity of active transportation – a term used to describe travel by human energy, such as walking, bicycling, or by a mobile assist device – has greatly increased, and new micro-mobility options allow for longer trips using e-bikes, e-scooters, and other technology.

The adopted plan emphasizes mobility for people of all ages and abilities through a continuous and recognizable pedestrian and bicycle network across Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, and Powhatan counties, the town of Ashland, and the city of Richmond.

BikePedRVA 2045 focuses on building a cross-regional transportation network of shared-use paths, interconnected and supported by local-level projects for bike lanes, sidewalks, neighborhood connectors, bikeable streets, and complete streets elements that together will create more accessible systems for people walking, rolling, scooting, cycling or taking transit.

The greater Richmond region currently has an estimated 136 miles dedicated to safer cycling infrastructure, such as shared-use paths, cycle tracks, and bike lanes. Projects identified in BikePedRVA 2045 like the creation of the Fall Line Trail and the extension of the Virginia Capital Trail set a target for another 121 miles of shared used paths and over 650 miles of bicycle and pedestrian routes in the region over the next twenty years.

Improving public safety for individuals walking and biking is a central call to action for the regional plan. According to Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) data, cyclist and pedestrian fatalities have increased by nearly 45 percent from 2015 to 2020. The plan’s authors point to how historically disinvested communities are the most vulnerable to pedestrian injury and fatalities connected to vehicular crashes.

“The BikePedRVA plan is a significant step forward for the region,” said PlanRVA Director of Transportation Chet Parsons. “We know that physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health and quality of life. When we create more equitable opportunities for walking and biking infrastructure, it’s an important investment in public health. I know this work will positively impact future generations.”

A steering committee of the region’s localities, transportation agencies, and advocates began meeting to guide the plan in 2019. Organizers fielded virtual surveys and met with a wide cross-section of community members throughout the final review period for public input in building a working website of resources to implement BikePedRVA 2045.

BikePedRVA 2045 serves as a companion plan to ConnectRVA 2045, a long-range transportation plan that guides the region’s transportation investments for all modes of travel including transit, highways, bicycles, and pedestrians. The active transportation best practices in the BikePedRVA 2045 framework will help guide bike and pedestrian infrastructure priorities in the overall ConnectRVA 2045 plan.

Created in 1974, the RRTPO helps facilitate collaboration and cooperation among residents and stakeholders related to funding and planning the future of the region’s transportation network. PlanRVA – a regional organization focused on community development, emergency management, the environment, and transportation – provides staffing to assist the RRTPO in its administration, project evaluation, prioritization, and other identified needs.

To access the plan and implementation resources, visit http://BikePedRVA.org.

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Government

Regional leaders seek public comment on $276.4 million in transportation investments

The Central Virginia Transportation Authority is seeking feedback on a funding scenario for approximately 30 projects planned for the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent and Powhatan, the City of Richmond and the Town of Ashland.

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Local leaders across Central Virginia will soon make funding decisions committing four years of regional revenue worth an estimated $276.4 million to improve local bike, pedestrian, bridge and highway infrastructure, but first, they want public input.

The Central Virginia Transportation Authority is seeking feedback on a funding scenario for approximately 30 projects planned for the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent and Powhatan, the City of Richmond and the Town of Ashland.

The public comment period is open until Thursday, April 28, 2022. Comments may be submitted online and during the public hearing at 8:30 a.m. on April 29 at PlanRVA, located at 9211 Forest Hill Avenue, Suite 200 or by joining the Zoom Webinar and submitting questions via the Q&A dialog box.

“The upcoming infrastructure investments will improve the mobility and quality of life for residents, while laying an important framework for transportation planning in our region,” said CVTA Chairman Frank J. Thornton, a member of the Henrico County Board of Supervisors. “We want to ensure everyone in our community has an opportunity to engage in the process. We are encouraging people to share feedback about what projects are most important to them.”

Established by the Virginia General Assembly in 2020, the Authority directs funding for priority transportation investments across the region.

PlanRVA – a regional organization focused on community development, emergency management, the environment and transportation – provides staffing to assist the Authority in its administration, project evaluation and prioritization, and other identified needs.

Projects in the current funding scenario include the Commerce Road Fall Line Trail Phases 1 and 2, Interstate 64 Ashland Road interchange, Interstate 95 & Route 10 interchange, Bottoms Bridge Park and Ride and several other highway and road improvements throughout the region.

The CVTA’s finance committee recommended the proposed funding allocation after reviewing five scenarios. CVTA scored and ranked projects based on their expected impacts and an evaluation of benefits compared with costs.

The CVTA will meet at 8:30 a.m. Friday, April 29 to hold a public hearing and vote on the projects to be funded.

In addition to providing feedback, the public can review the proposed funding scenario and learn more about the CVTA at planrva.org/transportation/cvta/.

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Downtown

Virginia launches expanded rail service from Richmond to Washington and New York City

The Amtrak Northeast Regional Route 51 now offers early morning service from Main Street Station, getting travelers from Downtown Richmond to Washington when the workday begins or to New York for a lunchtime meeting.

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Recently, Governor Ralph Northam and Secretary Valentine joined DRPT and the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) to launch expanded rail service from Richmond to Washington and cities along the Northeast corridor. The Amtrak Northeast Regional Route 51 now offers early morning service from Main Street Station, getting travelers from Downtown Richmond to Washington when the workday begins or to New York for a lunchtime meeting.

The new train is the first expansion of service under Governor Northam’s Transforming Rail in Virginia program to significantly expand rail infrastructure throughout the Commonwealth. The event ended with a ribbon-cutting and the inaugural train heading out of Main Street Station at 5:35 am with the Governor, state officials, and DRPT/VPRA staff on board. Early ridership numbers indicate healthy demand for the extended service.

The Transforming Rail in Virginia initiative is already receiving recognition throughout the country for its role in changing the future of transportation. At the District of Columbia’s Committee of 100’s bi-annual award ceremony, DRPT received a 2021 Vision Award recognizing the Transforming Rail in Virginia Program. Director Jennifer Mitchell accepted the award on behalf of DRPT, Governor Northam, and the Virginia General Assembly.

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