Pedestrians concerned about safety in Shockoe Bottom

Residents concerned about construction traffic in Shockoe Bottom

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Construction on Dock Street in Shockoe Bottom has detoured hundreds drivers onto East Main Street while the work gets done, but it’s raised safety concerns for residents in the area.

A spokeswoman for the city Department of Public Works said pending weather conditions, the work should be completed by October 2.

People who live and work along Tobacco Row said they’ve seen an increase in crashes in the area and are concerned about their safety.

While many people who live in those apartments do have vehicles, the major issue they have occurs when traveling on foot.

"You have a hard time crossing the street,” said Carolyn McMillan. “Nobody is watching for pedestrians. Even when they turn that corner, they don't watch for anyone to cross the street they just go!"

McMillan depends on GRTC to get her where she needs to go. But between hopping off the Pulse bus and attempting to cross the road in order to get to her connection, she’s actually missed the bus in the past!

“Maybe four or five times out of the week,” McMillan said. “I won’t run for a bus.”

McMillan and other riders said it’s because drivers don’t stop for pedestrians, specifically at 24th Street and E. Main Street, even though there are clearly marked crosswalks.

“Traffic don’t stop for you,” said Lagina Jeffries. “They don’t look your way.”

NBC12 watched the issue unfold for Jeffries as she tried to cross the busy intersection.

“I had to wait about two minutes," Jeffries said. Transportation expert Nicholas Smith and NBC12 decided to test it out, timing how long it took for a car to stop and let us to cross.

In the end it took 43 seconds with at least six cars neglecting to stop.

"Pedestrians actually have the right of way even if there's no stop sign, cars are required to stop,” Smith said. “But if a car comes barreling down at 35-40 miles per hour are you really going to put your life in your hands hoping that that car is going to stop?"

NBC12 also used its radar gun to see just how fast cars were going on E. Main Street. Most of them slowed down when they saw the news crew, but the data of accidents in the area is still alarming.

"Right here at 24th street we had five crashes in 2017, we had seven crashes one block over (25th & E. Main), three crashes there (23rd & E. Main),” Smith said. “Along this whole stretch of Main Street from Main Street Station to Libbie Hill Park there were 75 crashes just last year.”

As of September 21, 2018 data shows the following accidents on E. Main Street at the following intersections:

  • 23rd Street: 2 accidents
  • 24th Street: 3 accidents
  • 25th Street: 1 accident
There have been seven accidents on E. Main Street from 23rd-25th Street so far in 2018 (Source: Treds.Virginia.Gov)
There have been seven accidents on E. Main Street from 23rd-25th Street so far in 2018 (Source: Treds.Virginia.Gov) (Source: Treds.Virginia.Gov)

Data from 2014-2016 is as follows:

  • 2016: 4 accidents @ 23rd St./E. Main St., 5 accidents @ 25th St./E. Main St.
  • 2015: 3 accidents @ 23rd St./E. Main St., 2 accidents @ 24th St./E. Main St., 3 accidents @ 25th St./E. Main St.
  • 2014: 2 accidents @ 23rd St./E. Main St., 3 accidents @ 24th St./E. Main St., 5 accidents @25th St./E. Main St.

A spokeswoman for the city Department of Public Works said she hasn’t been made aware of any concerns along Main Street at these intersections.

However, if you do have concerns you’re urged to use the RVA 311, a Citizen Self Service Portal, or contact your city council member.

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