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Richmond Region Transportation


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3 hours ago, 123fakestreet said:

I think you've nailed it. South of the river won't be properly served with just one route. There will need to be (at least) two routes - and the way you've laid it out, I think, is the right way to go. A straight-shot linear north-south route that includes Chamberlayne, Belvidere, the Lee Bridge and U.S. 1 through South Richmond. It skirts Manchester - and (in keeping with what the city is advocating in the City Center SAP) a second route that connects the downtown transfer plaza, crosses into Manchester via the Manchester Bridge, and goes on from there (you've got it right - Commerce Road to Hull to Midlo) - that's the way to go.

What all of this tells us is that while GRTC may be planning for one PULSE route - they HONESTLY need to be planning to build TWO concurrently. That's going to be a TON of money - and we're already talking a second BRT line beginning service fully 5 to 6 years out. If they're in the planning process for a single line, they really should bite the bullet and just start planning for two. I can't possibly imagine getting one line operational and then having to wait another decade for the third line. That makes no sense, even though it will be expensive.

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51 minutes ago, I miss RVA said:

I think you've nailed it. South of the river won't be properly served with just one route. There will need to be (at least) two routes - and the way you've laid it out, I think, is the right way to go. A straight-shot linear north-south route that includes Chamberlayne, Belvidere, the Lee Bridge and U.S. 1 through South Richmond. It skirts Manchester - and (in keeping with what the city is advocating in the City Center SAP) a second route that connects the downtown transfer plaza, crosses into Manchester via the Manchester Bridge, and goes on from there (you've got it right - Commerce Road to Hull to Midlo) - that's the way to go.

What all of this tells us is that while GRTC may be planning for one PULSE route - they HONESTLY need to be planning to build TWO concurrently. That's going to be a TON of money - and we're already talking a second BRT line beginning service fully 5 to 6 years out. If they're in the planning process for a single line, they really should bite the bullet and just start planning for two. I can't possibly imagine getting one line operational and then having to wait another decade for the third line. That makes no sense, even though it will be expensive.

I could see them doing Chamberlayne -> Hull St next as that's a more critical corridor, then come back for the 3rd leg and do Downtown -> Jeff Davis and swap the ends of the two routes once those are built so then it looks like my final plan.

I didn't think we'd get a 2nd route for another decade *at least*, so getting #2 operational in 5-6 years is a big deal. Route 3 could then be with 10 years.

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1 hour ago, 123fakestreet said:

I could see them doing Chamberlayne -> Hull St next as that's a more critical corridor, then come back for the 3rd leg and do Downtown -> Jeff Davis and swap the ends of the two routes once those are built so then it looks like my final plan.

I didn't think we'd get a 2nd route for another decade *at least*, so getting #2 operational in 5-6 years is a big deal. Route 3 could then be with 10 years.

Now that's true - in the interim, there could be a "split" of the route south of the river to send southbound buses down Cowardin Ave and then sending one down Hull to Midlo and keep another one due south down Route 1 to wherever the southern terminus would be, whether that's Bells Road, or Chippenham Parkway or a little farther south (provided Chesterfield will play ball). I am excited that the northern stretch is planned to begin at the former VSC as opposed to Azalea Avenue. Smart to plan out a destination farther out (obviously, that requires Henrico's buy-in). 

I think one of those $64,000 questions is how to handle Manchester. Bringing a BRT line straight down Chamberlayne to Belvidere to the Lee Bridge to Cowardin essentially cuts off the core of Manchester (whereas a BRT line coming from downtown across the Manchester Bridge and going along Commerce Road at least is closer to the prime development area of lower Manchester that's significantly beefing up in terms of density). It's that component that has me wondering about building out two routes - because a purely linear "Route 1" line (Northside to Southside) makes sense... and a "Manchester" line that brings more of the increasingly densely developed part of Manchester into play also makes sense. The south of the river component involves more than just the destination (and routing) - but also point of entry - Lee Bridge vs Manchester Bridge - and BOTH points of entry make sense and have merit.

To your second point, @123fakestreet-- I agree. image.png.67cbf1888881e56b88b1e13069000d3f.png   Getting a second line fully operational within 5 to 6 years IS indeed a big deal. I hope this becomes a reality not just within that timeframe, but (as the AXIOS article pointed out) SOONER if more funding becomes available (which hopefully it will!!!)

Edited by I miss RVA
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  • 3 weeks later...
34 minutes ago, Child2021 said:

Good find, @Child2021!  Interesting how there are four corridors - really all of the four are defined by the pathways/destinations south of the river, whereas north of the river there doesn't seem to be much of anything except north to Virginia Center area. I wonder how they'll handle including downtown (as in City Center) and Manchester - rather than merely skirting both areas via Belvidere/Lee Bridge and Cowardin Avenue? 

Operational by 2028 -- here's a question - all things considered, is that overly conservative? Or is that a really aggressive timetable? Mind you - I don't control the purse strings - but it's known from study after study after study after study by urbanologists, city planners, transit planners, economic development planners, etc., - that the buildout of public/rapid transit creates its own demand and is actually BETTER for a municipality than waiting for a pre-conceived level of demand to materialize before expanding public/rapid transit. Obviously, stuff like this takes times. I'm just curious if six years is overly ambitious or overly conservative?

Oh - the Henrico Citizen had another outstanding story about the PULSE line - it's grabbing national attention - AND - according to the article, it's put RVA on the map as having "one of 10 verified rapid transit corridors in the United States". Now exactly what that means and who makes that determination was not detailed in the story. Nonetheless, the PULSE line has apparently been SO successful that it has attracted attention from officials of other municipalities looking to build their own systems. Not bad AT ALL!! (We'll take the free good pub any time!)

Here's the follow-up story:

https://www.henricocitizen.com/articles/richmonds-pulse-has-been-a-surprise-success-other-cities-and-states-are-taking-notice/

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5 minutes ago, I miss RVA said:

Good find, @Child2021!  Interesting how there are four corridors - really all of the four are defined by the pathways/destinations south of the river, whereas north of the river there doesn't seem to be much of anything except north to Virginia Center area. I wonder how they'll handle including downtown (as in City Center) and Manchester - rather than merely skirting both areas via Belvidere/Lee Bridge and Cowardin Avenue? 

Operational by 2028 -- here's a question - all things considered, is that overly conservative? Or is that a really aggressive timetable? Mind you - I don't control the purse strings - but it's known from study after study after study after study by urbanologists, city planners, transit planners, economic development planners, etc., - that the buildout of public/rapid transit creates its own demand and is actually BETTER for a municipality than waiting for a pre-conceived level of demand to materialize before expanding public/rapid transit. Obviously, stuff like this takes times. I'm just curious if six years is overly ambitious or overly conservative?

Oh - the Henrico Citizen had another outstanding story about the PULSE line - it's grabbing national attention - AND - according to the article, it's put RVA on the map as having "one of 10 verified rapid transit corridors in the United States". Now exactly what that means and who makes that determination was not detailed in the story. Nonetheless, the PULSE line has apparently been SO successful that it has attracted attention from officials of other municipalities looking to build their own systems. Not bad AT ALL!! (We'll take the free good pub any time!)

Here's the follow-up story:

https://www.henricocitizen.com/articles/richmonds-pulse-has-been-a-surprise-success-other-cities-and-states-are-taking-notice/

I wonder if the free fare to ride the Pulse has made it so successful.  If it were a paid transit option (as it was originally envisioned), would it have been so successful?  If they ever started charging for rides again, I personally think that ridership will decrease significantly.  Just saying.

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5 minutes ago, eandslee said:

I wonder if the free fare to ride the Pulse has made it so successful.  If it were a paid transit option (as it was originally envisioned), would it have been so successful?  If they ever started charging for rides again, I personally think that ridership will decrease significantly.  Just saying.

It was definitely successful before the pandemic (and free fares), so I'm sure whenever GRTC decides to start changing again it will continue to be successful. Also, the entire system is currently free, not just the Pulse.

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1 minute ago, plain said:

It was definitely successful before the pandemic (and free fares), so I'm sure whenever GRTC decides to start changing again it will continue to be successful. Also, the entire system is currently free, not just the Pulse.

Yep, sure is, which is really unprecedented!  Never seen that in any other city!  I would hope it would have been just as successful if the Pulse was not free, but surely the free fare has helped the ridership numbers.  Hoping it remains successful, even when/if fares return.

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17 minutes ago, eandslee said:

I wonder if the free fare to ride the Pulse has made it so successful.  If it were a paid transit option (as it was originally envisioned), would it have been so successful?  If they ever started charging for rides again, I personally think that ridership will decrease significantly.  Just saying.

That thought crossed my mind as well. We shall see what happens when fares return.

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Many bus systems around the country suspended fare collection when the country first shut down because of the pandemic; this was due to the transit agencies wanting to keep passengers as far away as possible from the drivers (and of course the payment boxes are literally next to the driver). Entry had to be made from the rear door, only people with mobility issues can use the front.

 

Some agencies starting charging again sooner than others. I can tell you HRT (Hampton Roads of course) was one of the first ones to start charging again.  GRTC might be the last sizable system to remain free.

 

EDIT: my whole thing in the other post is the Pulse was successful (and packed) when it wasn't free.

Edited by plain
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23 minutes ago, plain said:

Many bus systems around the country suspended fare collection when the country first shut down because of the pandemic; this was due to the transit agencies wanting to keep passengers as far away as possible from the drivers (and of course the payment boxes are literally next to the driver). Entry had to be made from the rear door, only people with mobility issues can use the front.

 

Some agencies starting charging again sooner than others. I can tell you HRT (Hampton Roads of course) was one of the first ones to start charging again.  GRTC might be the last sizable system to remain free.

 

EDIT: my whole thing in the other post is the Pulse was successful (and packed) when it wasn't free.

Here in Chicago, the CTA suspended fare collection for all of just under three full months. Fares were suspended in early April 2020 - and restarted in late June 2020. There were discounted prices for day passes of multiple varieties (1-day, 5-day, 7-day and 30-day) -- but I believe single-ride cash fares were never discounted and have been at full price since reinstatement in the summer of 2020. Unfortunately, the free lunch didn't last long 'round these parts.

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14 hours ago, eandslee said:

The problem is that once something is offered for free, it's very difficult (nearly impossible) to get the same interest when reverting to charging normal fares again.  It's just a tough sell.  I have hope though.

I think overall it will increase interest/ridership.  People who may not have ridden did so because it was free, then they figured out they liked it and are willing to pay (not like it's expensive) after it stops being free.  Companies do that all the time with free product giveaways or heavily discounting new products to induce trial. There's a reason they do it, it works.

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11 minutes ago, 123fakestreet said:

I think overall it will increase interest/ridership.  People who may not have ridden did so because it was free, then they figured out they liked it and are willing to pay (not like it's expensive) after it stops being free.  Companies do that all the time with free product giveaways or heavily discounting new products to induce trial. There's a reason they do it, it works.

Very true! Go to any deli worth its salt - they ALWAYS give you free slices of meat, cheese, etc., to let you try the product. It's almost guaranteed to create sales. Recall the tagline that old Bill's Barbeque used to say in all of their ads - "Bill's Barbeque - where a trial makes a customer."

BTW - here's Channel 12's coverage - so the story is definitely gaining traction.

https://www.nbc12.com/2022/11/28/grtc-looking-expand-services-through-northern-henrico/

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11 minutes ago, 123fakestreet said:

I think overall it will increase interest/ridership.  People who may not have ridden did so because it was free, then they figured out they liked it and are willing to pay (not like it's expensive) after it stops being free.  Companies do that all the time with free product giveaways or heavily discounting new products to induce trial. There's a reason they do it, it works.

Very true! Go to any deli worth its salt - they ALWAYS give you free slices of meat, cheese, etc., to let you try the product. It's almost guaranteed to create sales. Recall the tagline that old Bill's Barbeque used to say in all of their ads - "Bill's Barbeque - where a trial makes a customer."

BTW - here's Channel 12's coverage - so the story is definitely gaining traction.

https://www.nbc12.com/2022/11/28/grtc-looking-expand-services-through-northern-henrico/

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For all you locals, here is your chance to advocate for the Pulse to extend all the way to Short Pump!  Link to story and survey below:

https://www.wric.com/news/local-news/henrico-county/grtc-wants-your-opinion-on-extending-pulse-route-into-short-pump/

Survey:

https://live.metroquestsurvey.com/?u=bi3r3y#!/?p=mobile&pm=dynamic&s=1&popup=WTD

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1 hour ago, eandslee said:

For all you locals, here is your chance to advocate for the Pulse to extend all the way to Short Pump!  Link to story and survey below:

https://www.wric.com/news/local-news/henrico-county/grtc-wants-your-opinion-on-extending-pulse-route-into-short-pump/

Survey:

https://live.metroquestsurvey.com/?u=bi3r3y#!/?p=mobile&pm=dynamic&s=1&popup=WTD

I just took the survey and chimed in my request to build out the PULSE line to Short Pump. Let's get behind this and make it happen!

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Both the RT-D and Axios Richmond are covering this as well.

RT-D story:

https://richmond.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/public-input-sought-about-grtc-routes-to-short-pump/article_3530e787-3cc2-57e4-a759-452168268f8d.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_axioslocal_richmond&stream=top

 

And from Axios Richmond:

GRTC is eyeing an expansion of the Pulse all the way to Short Pump.

Why it matters: Short Pump is a jobs center and major shopping destination, and while a local bus currently bridges the gap from the Pulse's current western terminus, Willow Lawn, the trip takes more than 40 minutes, and only two buses run per hour.

  • Extending the bus rapid transit line would mean faster and more frequent service.

What's happening: To kick off the discussion, GRTC and the regional planning organization PlanRVA are surveying residents about what kind of service they'd like to see.

  • "It's been highlighted in multiple plans over the past few years that expansion will occur with the success of the Pulse. So in terms of the feasibility, that's kind of what the study is looking at," PlanRVA’s Chet Parsons tells the Times-Dispatch.

Meanwhile, as we reported last month, GRTC has commissioned an in-depth study into potential north-south BRT lines that would complement the Pulse.

Reality check: This survey is just a first step in what would be a long journey.

  • Any expansion would ultimately require major infusion of local, state and federal funding.

https://www.axios.com/newsletters/axios-richmond-dce44d54-6bde-4bd8-a58b-3f89eb3f313a.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_axioslocal_richmond&stream=top

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3 hours ago, eandslee said:

For all you locals, here is your chance to advocate for the Pulse to extend all the way to Short Pump!  Link to story and survey below:

https://www.wric.com/news/local-news/henrico-county/grtc-wants-your-opinion-on-extending-pulse-route-into-short-pump/

Survey:

https://live.metroquestsurvey.com/?u=bi3r3y#!/?p=mobile&pm=dynamic&s=1&popup=WTD

Here's how my mind works, the first thing I thought when seeing the announcement, will the red paint be all the way to short pump?

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21 minutes ago, Hike said:

Here's how my mind works, the first thing I thought when seeing the announcement, will the red paint be all the way to short pump?

No the bus already uses shared travel lanes once you cross 195.

3 hours ago, eandslee said:

For all you locals, here is your chance to advocate for the Pulse to extend all the way to Short Pump!  Link to story and survey below:

https://www.wric.com/news/local-news/henrico-county/grtc-wants-your-opinion-on-extending-pulse-route-into-short-pump/

Survey:

https://live.metroquestsurvey.com/?u=bi3r3y#!/?p=mobile&pm=dynamic&s=1&popup=WTD

Yeah, I'd like to extend it out to Short Pump.  But a much much greater priority is a new north/south line.  I imagine there's not funding for both, so not in favor of this right now.

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22 minutes ago, eandslee said:

Actually, I’d like to see it go to the airport first. That’s where I believe it really needed. That and the North/South line. 

It's definitely needed and wouldn't be that hard to do all things considered. Just the distance and building the dedicated lanes could be pretty expensive (although the route between Willow Lawn and Short Pump wont' be cheap either and it's a pretty long schlep!  QUESTION: Can U.S. 60 between the city and Sandston handle dedicated BRT lanes? Doesn't it narrow to two lanes in places - or has that been widened to four lanes the entire length between the city and the airport?

Unfortunately - much as we all here would likely agree how much it is needed - I have a feeling from GRTC's view - if you prioritized a "pecking order" of new buildout for the PULSE system it would be:

1.) North/South line

2.) Short Pump extension

3.) Airport extension

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