Final plans for Forest Hill Avenue project revealed

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond residents saw plans for the Forest Hill Avenue project for the first time Wednesday night.

At the public hearing held by the City it was also the last chance folks had to weigh in on the project.

Since its inception five years ago, design plans for the Forest Hill Avenue improvement project have changed. The city wants to make $12 million worth of improvements to Forest Hill between Hathaway Road and Powhite Parkway.

"What you see today is not 'our' efforts," said city engineer Manbhupinder Kahra. "It's the group's efforts."

Among the things that have changed based on public feedback is that the speed limit will change from 40 miles per hour to 35, only half the number of trees will need to be cut down than originally proposed, and the bike lanes will be widened to five feet.

However, the City said it wanted even more feedback Wednesday. Residents were given comment cards to fill out.

Jo Ann Charlesworth has watched the plan evolve since 2008 and still has issues with the project.

"It just doesn't make any sense," she said. "By widening the road, traffic will only increase its speed."

Plus, about twenty homeowners along the corridor will lose anywhere from one to five feet of land to make room for the road. They will be compensated for that land.

The city's engineer said the improvements will increase safety, accessibility for both cyclists and cars and make the area prettier.

With federal funds in place, and more input - the next stop is the Richmond Planning Commission.

Beyond that, the city wants to start acquiring land this fall with a final groundbreaking date landing somewhere late next year.

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