HIlls and Heights, my neighborhood blog has more debate going on about the Forest Hill Ave widening. As such, here is a reply to the detractors:
I know that it hits a nerve with motorists to hear that other users should have equal rights to transport options but the reality is that the most beneficial means to improve transport is through multi-modal options. Furthermore, residents don’t want additional asphalt so the best option is to put this section of the road on a “road diet” and to save the space for residents who live there and provide facilities for multi-modal commuters.
@Patty- I agree improving Forest Hill is a great idea. This is a debate about what that looks like, not weather it should happen or not. For Data please refer to the Census commuting patterns, while not specific to Forest Hill Ave per se they do provide insight on what commuting patterns look like. Primarily that suburban dwellers commute to urban ones for work. This requires a large subsidy from the state and federal governments to maintain those roads. Some people (myself included) consider this a subsidy for what I would consider poor decision-making. Some call it “welfare for the rich.” Here is a link to where you can find the data specifically line 1205 on the Excel Spreadsheet as well as 6802 that shows both that 34,000+ people are commuting from Chesterfield to Richmond everyday yet around 9450 people are commuting from Richmond to Chesterfield, a net inflow which is how I reasoned this. Obviously, not all of these people travel on Forest Hill but many do and many more Chesterfield residents may be traveling to Henrico, crossing through the city and using those same transport resources.
As far as businesses are concerned I think you are taking a short-sighted approach to advocate for more automobile traffic. Take a look at this report by the League of American Bicyclists for example highlighting situations such as those seen in Portland Oregon where “Compared to the distance
and time spent commuting to work in the median American city, Portlanders travel 2.9
billion fewer miles and spend 100 million fewer hours, saving $2.6 billion a year.” and goes onto say that these additional savings are used as expendable income for use at businesses. I’d rather spend the money at Once Upon a Vine than the Wawa by Wal-Mart.
@FH Resident- Unfortunately you are wrong. Sales Tax?….my bike wasn’t free. Road dollars are generated through gas taxes but also through the general fund and personal property taxes. Even in the article cited below, written by the president and CEO of the Virginia Petroleum Convenience and Grocery Association, he concedes that Virginia gas tax rate has remained unchanged since 1986 yet we have increased the number of road users by 60% from 1987-2009. While this does generate more revenue from sales of gasoline, for what? To drive around more and sit in your car in traffic? The fatten the pockets of corporate oilmen? I’d prefer to streamline the function of government through the elimination of subsidies for more roads, more cars, and more traffic to the detriment of our neighborhood.
This is a net economic loss relative to the revenue businesses could generate by having better communities and a stronger base of customers located in a neighborhood where people want to live, not get mowed over. If you wish to drive 30-45min each way to work, so be it. PAY THE COSTS ACTUALLY ASSOCIATED WITH THIS BEHAVIOR and let’s stop subsidizing wealthy suburbanites to the detriment of our community, our schools and the efficiency of our local government. Some of us WANT to live in the city, don’t believe the fairy tales the marketing types in Detroit have fed you for 80 years, and would like to see a neighborhood defined by green spaces, low traffic counts, sustainable local businesses and a community environment.
@Jay….if you feel comfortable mentioning your business here. Please do. I’ll make sure I come by and support you if you are in the neighborhood. I’d rather spend my dollars with you than at the Wawa.