The beginning of the 2015 UCI Road World Championships long has been a de facto deadline for several major projects in the city. Which ones will wrap up before the influx of visitors arrives?
The UCI Road World Championships is to cycling what the FIFA World Cup is to soccer. In Europe, it’s one of the biggest international sporting events. Unlike the professional Tour de France, where cyclists ride for sponsored, trade-name teams, the UCI Worlds features the top men and women racing under their countries’ flags. The influx of spectators, media and athletes will dwarf the 2014 USA Cycling collegiate races held in Richmond. (Photo by Graham Watson)
Virginia Capital Trail – The 54-mile pedestrian and cycling route that’s been a decade in the making should be completed by the races, says Beth Weisbrod, executive director of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation. In mid-June, three sections of the trail were still under construction, including the downtown portion. Weather may be the biggest obstacle to its completion, but Weisbrod says she’s confident it will be ready when visitors arrive.
Kanawha Plaza – Some improvements will be made to the downtown eyesore by the races, but the planned $6 million renovation won’t be completed, says Tammy Hawley, the mayor’s spokeswoman. A lengthy design review process did not end until May, setting the project back.
Robinson House – A new visitor center on the grounds of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will not open before the races, says Pryor Green, a spokeswoman for the museum. The VMFA will collaborate with Richmond Region Tourism on a mobile visitor center that will open somewhere on the museum’s campus during the races.
Floyd Avenue Bike Boulevard – Construction will not begin on the much-maligned project until October at the earliest, says Jakob Helmboldt, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. Back-and-forth discussions about the designs ended in February, and work was expected to begin in the spring. The city is still securing funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation, Helmboldt adds.