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GRBC calls on Richmond City Council to act

April 8, 2014 1:00pm

Yesterday, the Greater Richmond Bicycle Coalition — an new organization made up of 50+ businesses and organizations that support building a Richmond region that is bikeable for everyone — sent the below letter to Richmond City Council. In it they ask the body to allocate $3 million in the FY 2015 budget for new on-street bikeways, plus $3.5 million to ensure the completion of the Brown’s Island Dam Walk. City Council action on the mayor’s proposed budget is due by the end of May.

logo_webClick here to follow the debate over funding the Brown’s Island Dam Walk and here for info on the mayor’s lack of budget support for bike infrastructure.

The Greater Richmond Bicycle Coalition also has a page where individuals can write City Council and join with them in asking for these funding allocations: http://bit.ly/1gHJcmg

Dear Richmond City Council,

Recognizing that we are in a critical budget window, the Greater Richmond
Bicycle Coalition urges you to dedicate significant city funding to a
network of bike infrastructure that can connect residents across the city to
wherever they want to go: work, school, shops, parks, and more. This
includes safe and convenient crossings of the James River. Experts close to
these projects estimate needing $3 million dollars to complete a network of
20-miles of bikeways and $3.5 million to build the Brown’s Island Dam Walk.
Please dedicate city funding to pay for these projects without relying on
federal grants, which cannot be guaranteed. Additionally, the window before
2015’s UCI Road Cycling World Championships is closing, and these projects
must start being designed and implemented immediately if we are going to
have anything new on the ground before several hundred thousand visitors
come to Richmond. There are only two paving schedules between now and then.

The Greater Richmond Bicycle Coalition is a new organization formed to unify
the long-standing, but often disconnected voices in the cycling community.
Supplementing current riders, research suggests that as many as 60% of
non-cyclists would ride more with more and better bike infrastructure, too.
Our coalition is composed of over 50 bike advocacy organizations and
businesses representing all nine council districts, as well as each of the
counties in the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area. Our collective reach
is over 100,000 people. And our focus is to build the right infrastructure
for cyclists and those not yet riding to make transportation, recreation,
and healthy activity by bike safe, inviting, and convenient for those of all
ages and abilities.

Studies abound showing bike infrastructure to be a sound investment,
increasing retail sales, property values and tax revenues by up to 70%. A
network that connects the city is a high-return, low-cost investment that
will increase quality of life for all Richmonders, create a more welcoming
and energetic business environment, and draw new people to the city to live
and spend money. Let’s build a city where talented professionals will
relocate to live, work, and play that also serves the needs and demands of
current residents.

We hope you agree that now is the moment to commit to something great for
everyone in our city. A representative of the coalition will be reaching out
to you to meet to discuss the need for bike infrastructure and why now is
the critical moment for the City to allocate the funds to build it.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and please let us know if we can
work together to make these projects a reality.


Greg Rollins, President
Greater Richmond Bicycle Coalition, www.rvabike.org
100 Avenue of Champions, Suite 300
Richmond, Virginia 23230

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?