GRTC studying Bus Rapid Transit for Broad Street

Published: Feb. 23, 2010 at 11:03 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 24, 2010 at 1:12 AM EST
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By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – One of Richmond's busiest roads could get a major makeover. GRTC wants to change the way it provides service on Broad Street, making buses faster by reducing the number of stops.

Dozens of buses make 700 trips a day up and down Broad Street. It's the busiest city road; the hub for the GRTC and also the agency's biggest headache.

"It's a bottleneck for us in operations. It's inefficient and there's a better way of providing public transit along that corridor," said John Lewis, GRTC CEO.

Lewis hopes to take Broad in a new direction; Bus rapid transit.

"Our goal is to be able to beat that single occupant car from one end of the corridor to the other," said Lewis.

The GRTC is studying a seven mile stretch of Broad from Willow Lawn to Rockets Landing. It's looking at cutting down the number of stops, using longer buses that hold more people and possibly stealing one lane of travel on each side of Broad, making them bus only and tied to the traffic signals.

"When our bus gets to a green light it will hold that light longer," said Lewis. "If it's yellow it will hold that yellow longer and if it's red perhaps it will cycle through a little faster."

A lot of these bus stops on Broad take up hundreds of feet of real estate and GRTC leaders say this rapid transit could actually free up parking spaces.

"Think of this as a train without the tracks," he said.

The GRTC is hoping to appeal to riders like Deborah Overton, who take the bus down Broad Street every day.

"I think it's a great idea. Nothing like this that I know of as ever been done," said Overton.

The study costs about $3 million and was paid for through state grants. Money for rapid transit would have to come from Congress. The GRTC wants to know what you think of the idea. There are meetings scheduled for later this week.

The first one is Wednesday night at the Children's Museum, 2626 West Broad Street. The second is Thursday night at Thomas Jefferson High School, 4100 West Grace. Both begin at six p.m.

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