Should cars be removed from Carytown?

A new survey is asking Richmond residents the age-old question.
Picture it. Carytown, sometime in the future, and not a car in sight.
Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 11:58 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Picture it. Carytown, sometime in the future, and not a car in sight.

It’s the hope for folks like Lee Williams, whose bicycle journey to the area can often be dangerous.

“Well, I think that because all of our infrastructure is crumbling at this point, and so it would be easier to do it now than waiting until later,” Williams said about wanting cars out of Carytown.

Trips to this drag are also few and far between for Doug Allen, even though he’s right around the corner.

“I’ll tell you honesty, I live a block from here, and I pretty much avoid Cary Street, and a lot of my neighbors do as well, just because pretty much every time you walk through here, you’re going to have some sort of negative encounter with a driver,” Allen said.

During our trip along Cary Street, NBC 12 saw cars blocking bus stops and much more.

There’s a growing push to make this business district, located in the middle of a residential neighborhood, closed off to cars and made to look more like a pedestrian mall like the one in Charlottesville.

“We could work as a community and engage different members of the community across different intersections to find a way to reimagine Cary Street, Carytown as a space that’s accommodating for everyone,” said Tara FitzPatrick, who wants cars out of Carytown.

A survey from Richmond Connects is now open and asking the Cary Street question, among other priorities. You can also see real-time results from the vote coming in.

They’re not binding, but city officials say they can make anything happen if the money, time and will are there.

“Because what we would not want is to overburden the residential neighborhoods that are adjacent to Carytown and have our seniors who are living there not have places to park,” said Richmond City Councilmember Stephanie Lynch.

Richmonders have until Aug. 20 to fill out the survey.