RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has announced the creation of a new office within the city’s Department of Public Works. The Office of Equitable Transit and Mobility was created with the goal of making travel around the city easier.
“This work is vital to building a connected Richmond,” said Stoney during a press conference. “Regardless of what zip code you live in or work in, you should feel like you belong right here in this city - that’s the whole city - it is your home and we will make it a reality with equity within transportation.”
Mayor Stoney says over the last three years the city has focused on enhancing GRTC routes, providing free bus passes for high school students in Richmond and added more bike lanes, but the mayor says there is room to grow.
“Does a certain bus not come as frequently as it needs to? Are there last mile improvements that would make working Richmonders commutes faster and healthier? The office will envision answers to these questions and find solutions," said Stoney.
The office will be led by Dironna Moore Clarke. Director of the Department of Public Works, Bobby Vincent Jr. says Moore Clarke, DPW and city engineers have been working for a year to prepare for the launch of the office.
“They have been working together collaboratively to make things better, to get us towards this day, and this day has finally come,” said Vincent Jr.
Moore Clarke says there needs to be a focus on providing families in low-income areas with proper access to transportation.
“There has to be a reorientation to a more transit-dependent focused policies that are more equitable for low-income citizens. Research has shown this can be achieved through increased bus frequencies, bus expansion, free to low-cost fare," explained Moore Clarke.
Mayor Stoney says the creation of the Office of Equitable Transit and Mobility was not an additional cost to the city, but looking towards the next fiscal year, associated costs will be considered.
The Mayor and Moore Clarke say there will be extensive public involvement, as they continue to make transportation changes and improvements in the city.
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