Some Richmonnders are concerned about the impact GRTC's planned Broad Street bus rapid transit line will have on area businesses. (Photo courtesy: GRTC/Carrie Rose Pace)
The Greater Richmond Transit Co. may soon need a defibrillator for its planned Broad Street bus rapid transit line.
A few weeks after the Fan District Association skewered plans for the GRTC Pulse in an open letter, leaders from the Scott’s Addition Boulevard Association, Museum District Association and West Grace Street Association say they’re also worried the project, as currently conceived, will negatively affect their neighborhoods.
Chief among the concerns is how the project’s construction process will unfold. What streets will be closed when? For how long? Where will the diverted traffic go? Specific design concerns include the elimination of parking, loading zones and left turns on Broad Street.
If GRTC proceeds with the current plan, “the potential devastation to dozens of hardworking small businesses along this corridor [is] unacceptable,” says Alyse Marshall-Auernheimer, president of the West Grace Street Association.
City Councilman Charles Samuels, whose district includes some of the affected neighborhoods, says he's not sold on the $54 million project, either.
“Construction times, street closures, volume of patrons for businesses: All those things need to be considered before we can move forward,” he says.
To what degree GRTC incorporates negative feedback from the surrounding neighborhoods into the project’s next design iteration will soon be known. The transit company will release an updated plan on July 23, marking the end of the preliminary design phase, says Carrie Rose Pace, a GRTC spokesperson. Some are worried the latest plan won’t reflect the concerns they’ve voiced, says Roger Bouchard, president of the Scott’s Addition Boulevard Association.
Addressing all the neighborhood feedback will take time, Pace says. From August to next April, engineers will work to address more technical concerns, such as left turn access.
“From our perspective, the input coming from the project partners is going to make this the best system that it could be, which is why we encourage feedback and tangible ideas," Pace says.
The GRTC Pulse will cut bus trip times along a 7.6-mile route, connecting Rocketts Landing and Willow Lawn. The transit company has held 11 public meetings since 2010 to gather feedback.
Two more public meetings are scheduled on July 27 and 28.