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December 8th, 2016 

Good morning, RVA: Ross's rant about parking, Ashland, and year-old eggnog


 Good weather for getting stuff done!

Good morning, RVA! It’s 41 °F and today’s sunshine and highs in the mid 50s still seem pretty great compared to the cold Dagobah we found ourselves in earlier this week. I’ll take it!

Water cooler

I’ve been doing some more reading on the sale of city-owned property across from the Carpenter Theatre we talked about earlier this week, and my personal opinion is This Is Not Great. Some background: The City’s Planning Commission approved a plan to sell 1.6 acres of city-owned land for $3.95 million. That plan includes a requirement to provide at least 800 parking spaces with 600 of those available to the public. The thing that absolutely flummoxes me about this deal is that in the exact same meeting, the Planning Commission approved a resolution of intent to change the B–4 zone (which this property is zoned as) to not require any parking at all for mixed-use development!

On the one hand we’ve decided that the future of downtown is less parking and more density, while on the other hand we are selling property to developers requiring them to provide loads of parking! Not to mention that the draft Pulse Corridor Plan—which was just release this week— recommends that any redevelopment of city-owned property include affordable housing. That’s housing for humans, not cars, btw.

Finally, the sale price of this land seems low. A smaller lot in a way less desirable part of town (no offense Jackson Ward) just sold for $2 million—about the same cost per area.

Like I said, I’m confused and frustrated by what seems like one last-gasp attempt to enshrine parking into the downtown landscape forever—something we’ve decided, through a ton of different planning processes, is not the future of downtown Richmond.

So lets chill on this, OK? If you’re a human with concerns, or would just like more information before City Council approves the sale this coming Monday, shoot your councilperson an email and tell them to defer ORD. 2016–270 until we have some time make sure this development fits into our vision of Richmond’s future.


How cool is this: The Ashland Town Council passed a resolution in support of regional rapid transit. A town in Hanover officially said they’d like to work together to connect the region with public transportation. This is a big deal, and kind of blows my mind! There’s not a whole lot of history of enthusiastic regional collaboration in Richmond, so we should definitely celebrate wins like this. I will do my part and buy any member of the Ashland Town Council the first round next time we all hang out. (Which would be the first time we all hang out, but it could be fun!)

I think this Jeff Schapiro column in the RTD lobbies for higher state taxes, which surprised me to see in the paper. I know it sounds boring, but his look back at taxes and fiscal policy in Virginia over the last 100 years is really interesting and totally hits on a lot of what’s impacting some of Richmond’s institutions. The future of federal funding for a lot of things—and thus state funding—is kind of up in the air right now, so this is good context to have.

A new episode of Sam and Ross Like Things exists, and you should listen to it! This time around Sam likes the Bill and Ted movies, and I like year-old egg nog. Honestly, I need to schedule some time to enjoy both of those things simultaneously.

Brandon Fox, who first gave me the recipe for year-old egg nog, has a list of fun, beer-related holiday events in Style Weekly. She knows a lot about alcohol, y’all!

Will the robots steal our jobs and kill the economy? Vox says yes and no.

Guys, Mark Burnett is involved in producing Trump’s inauguration. You know, the dude who invented Survivor?

Sports!

  • Rams fell in overtime to Georgia Tech, 76–73.
  • Hardwood Hokies cruised by Maryland-Eastern Shore, 75–59.

This morning’s patron longread!

Canadian police’s genius way to catch texting, distracted drivers

Patron Brantley sent me this article which speaks to both my bus and bike/ped sensibilities. What a wonderful idea! Unfortunately, with the underfunded and understaffed status of the RPD, I don’t see any of them chilling on a bus writing tickets for distracted driving. But! Let’s keep this on the list of ideas for when we get basic city services back to a healthy, stable place.

Police officers in Ontario have simply been getting on local buses and looking out the window at the passing traffic. If they see a driver doing something they shouldn’t be, they relay the car registration via their radio to colleagues in police cars who then pull them over.

If you’d like your longread to show up here, go chip in a couple bucks on the ol’ Patreon.

This morning’s longread

What to Eat After the Apocalypse

You know me, always thinking ahead…

There are many things that you can eat that we don’t normally consider food, particularly in the west. Leaves are one of them. You can eat leaves. You just have to be careful about how you do it. Leaves are high in fiber and we can’t digest any more than half of it, but if you chew the leaves and spit out the fiber you can draw out nutrients from it. Or you can make teas.

This morning’s Instagram

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Richmond, VA 23260-5315