Sports Backers to educate on community walk/bike/jog along Floyd

10/31/2013, 2:28 p.m.
Residents of the Fan, Museum District, and Uptown are invited to join their neighbors outside for a morning walk, bike ...

— Thanks to an 8-1 vote from RichmondCity Council this week to pursue funding for the Floyd Ave. Bike Boulevard project, the Sports Backers and RideRichmond will be hosting a "mobile open house" on Floyd Avenue. this Saturday, Nov. 2.

Bike Walk RVA (a program of the Sports Backers) and RideRichmond will host the “mobile open house” and community discussion on the proposed Floyd Avenue “bike/walk street” (bicycle boulevard). Residents of the Fan, Museum District, and Uptown are invited to join their neighbors outside for a morning walk, bike ride or jog along Floyd Ave to discuss what the project might look like and compare ideas. The mobile open house will be followed by an inclusive community discussion at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA).

The “mobile open house” will start in Monroe Park (at Floyd Ave) at 10 a.m. and travel the length of Floyd Ave, double back on Hanover, and end at the VMFA. Representatives from the City of Richmond will be on hand to answer questions and talk about the proposed project. For those who don’t want to walk, jog or bike but want to join their neighbors outside, Spoken4 will be on hand to provide rides in their fleet of bicycle pedicabs. Richmond 2015 will also be providing bicycle riders with a free bike valet service in the VMFA’s Sculpture Garden. The community discussion will continue in the VMFA’s Leslie Cheek Theater from 12 to 2 p.m. and will include a presentation from Jake Helmboldt, the City’s Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Coordinator.

“I was at last week’s community meeting at Binford Elementary School, which was packed with over a hundred people,” said Max Hepp-Buchanan, Director of Bike Walk RVA for the Sports Backers. “The response from the community about the proposed project was largely positive, but I couldn’t help but think that until we actually get out on the street and experience Floyd Avenue together, it will continue to be hard to picture what this project might look like when it’s done.”

City council members voted to pursue federal funding for implementation of the project. Richmond is beginning work on a comprehensive study of the Floyd Ave corridor and expects to have some conceptual design work done and ready for public comment in February of 2014. Bike Walk RVA and RideRichmond are hosting this “mobile open house” and community discussion in an effort to help educate residents about what the final project might look like if it moves forward.

“Bike/walk streets or ‘bicycle boulevards’ have been built in cities across the country over the last couple of decades, but they are new to Richmond,” said Hepp-Buchanan. We want to make sure the affected communities know what the benefits of bike/walk streets are and how they function to make walking and bicycling through the area safer and more comfortable for everyone.”