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Richmond adding more bike lanes to get people out of cars

Drivers are paying more at the pump as the cost of gasoline surges close to record-highs.
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 12:55 PM EDT|Updated: May. 9, 2022 at 1:07 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Daniel Wagner traded in his car for a bike four years ago and hasn’t looked back.

“We really need to be creating more inter neighborhood connectivity as opposed to just spot connectivity to areas of interest,” said Wagner, Richmond bicyclist.

Right now, the city has about 55 miles of bike lanes, adding 21 of them in the last two fiscal years. That includes bike lanes on Patterson Avenue, which now connects the West End to the Museum District in the Fan. But Wagner says a commute to see his parents on the city’s South Side is quite the trek.

“The South Side of Richmond has minimal improvements, historically and continues to. I think there needs to be a real conservative effort to invest in those areas. We have to create a full ecosystem of connectivity,” said Wagner.

The city’s department of public works says adding bike lanes during routine paving operations saves on overall costs. An additional 15 miles of bike lanes are currently in the design process. But another 15 miles of bike lanes are ready to roll out now, pending paving schedules.

“That also allows us a low-cost rollout. It’s marginal cost. When we pave, we have to put stripes back on the road and so it’s a matter of rearranging the space and allocating more space to bicyclists,” said Jakob Helmboldt of the Richmond Department of Public Works.

RVA Bikeshare is also stepping up efforts to make bicycles accessible. The organization is expanding its network with a focus on the city’s South Side. Stations are scheduled to be installed at a variety of locations including Broad Rock Library starting the week of May 23.

“I think with gas prices being what they are right now it’s the absolute perfect time to get on a bicycle and ride back and forth to work or the grocery story,” said Brandon King of RVA Bikeshare.

RVA Bikeshare is also in the middle of converting its entire fleet from 100% human pedal power to an electric pedal assist.

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