Richmond wants input on Forest Hill improvement plan

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Some major changes could be coming to one of Richmond's busiest roads. The city is working on a plan to improve traffic and safety on Forest Hill Avenue. They're trying to work on the stretch from the Powhite Parkway to Hathaway Road. Engineers will take suggestions from the public at a meeting Thursday night.

More than 26,000 cars travel along Forest Hill between Hathaway Road and the Powhite. In that mile long stretch, there's not one stop light or stop sign. In recent years, the traffic problems have gotten worse and residents see no end in sight.

For Charles White waiting is always a part of the day. He said he never leaves during rush hour because he'd get stuck for long stretches of time waiting for a break in traffic, just to turn from his home, onto Forest Hill.

"I get out early before most of it starts," said White. "Quite honestly if I need to go some place in the evening I wait until 6:30, 7 o'clock before I try to go."

News of the city's federally funded $12 million enhancement plan is welcome. Engineers are considering widening the road from four to five lanes, changing traffic signals and adding bike lanes and sidewalks on a road that currently has no shoulder. That problem causes White to watch people wait for the bus in his front yard.

White said he's heard plans in the past, now he's looking for some action.

"We've been talking about it for probably five years," he said. "So far in five years, I got a stake in my yard to show for everything that's been done."

The city's project team says this is a collaborative process and they need input from the public.  If you can't make it to Thursday's meeting, the city will be taking suggestions online in the coming weeks.

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