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Old 10-14-08, 12:38 PM   #1
mattotoole
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Richmond mayoral candidates answer cyclists' questions

The Richmond Cycling Federation, which represents over 4,000 cyclists in the Richmond area, delivered six questions about cycling related issues to Richmond mayoral candidates. We've posted the candidates' responses on the VBF website:

http://www.vabike.org/richmond-mayoral-candidate-responses/

Some of the responses are quite lengthy and detailed, and the subject matter delves into greenways and trails, cycling corridors, transportation, urban planning, and liveability.

Please pass this along to your friends in the Richmond area. You can use the "Shere This" link at the bottom of the article to email it, or share it through social media (Digg, ******, StumbleUpon, Delicious, etc.)
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Old 10-14-08, 01:13 PM   #2
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Now can we pose the same (or equivalent) questions to the presidential candidates?
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Old 10-14-08, 01:20 PM   #3
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Now can we pose the same (or equivalent) questions to the presidential candidates?
Do you really think you could stomach dissecting the answers from the mountain of spin?
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Old 10-14-08, 03:43 PM   #4
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Mayoral Race

Though Richmond has nearly 200,000 citizens, in a five way race for mayor, believe me, these guys are paying attention to us. This will be a close race, guaranteed and 500 or 1000 votes will likely decide the race!

With all of the issues facing local governments today (economic downturn, property tax revenue off, less federal funding of mandates, etc.) it's important that we, as cyclists, take the time to remind our officials that projects for cyclists and pedestrians is important. Best of all, it's a lot cheaper to put down a few dozen gallons of paint for a bike lane than building a new interstate or expressway.

You'd be surprised how a dozen phone calls or emails to local officials really can make a difference. We often want to say that government doesn't listen but you would be surprised how they really do (if you're polite, persistent and reasonable).

With gas up and the economy down, cyclists are in a position unlike anytime I can remember in the past thirty years to make a difference in their communities. (And if the economy keeps heading in the same direction as in the past few months, there will be lots of folks riding bikes and walking across America!)
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Old 10-14-08, 04:01 PM   #5
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Do you really think you could stomach dissecting the answers from the mountain of spin?
Really? No way... I have a hard enough time with the debates... although a 6 pack helps.

But in all honesty I'd love to see if the candidates really have given any thought to transportation beyond "drill baby drill" or "go hybrid."
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Old 10-15-08, 04:04 PM   #6
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Now can we pose the same (or equivalent) questions to the presidential candidates?
I would hope our national advocacy organizations are doing this!

We reported on Obama's bike/transportation policy awhile ago. We're still waiting for anything from the McCain camp. (If anyone has it, please send it, or leave a comment/link on our website.)

We (VBF) are working on a series of questions for Virginia's US Senate candidates.
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Old 10-17-08, 05:32 PM   #7
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Thanks for posting this. I'll take a bit more time to peruse it later. I find the answers fairly half-baked thus far, probably because whe the city tried to put in a bike lane on Hermitage it was so atrocioulsy designed-- at one point the "lane" consited of the gutter pan, then it placed you to the right of a right turn only lane, and if you survived proceeding straight it spat you into a door zone, and then under a bridge with limited visiblity for a freeway down ramp, then onto a "lane" measuring about 18"-- that I and other cyclists complained and got them not to put bike lane symbols on it, though the striping remains.
To be fair, I've ridden in RVA for 20+ years, and retro-fitting bike lanes into the current street grid would likely be a nightmare for a traffic engineer.
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Old 10-17-08, 07:44 PM   #8
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Though Richmond has nearly 200,000 citizens, in a five way race for mayor, believe me, these guys are paying attention to us. This will be a close race, guaranteed and 500 or 1000 votes will likely decide the race!

With all of the issues facing local governments today (economic downturn, property tax revenue off, less federal funding of mandates, etc.) it's important that we, as cyclists, take the time to remind our officials that projects for cyclists and pedestrians is important. Best of all, it's a lot cheaper to put down a few dozen gallons of paint for a bike lane than building a new interstate or expressway.

You'd be surprised how a dozen phone calls or emails to local officials really can make a difference. We often want to say that government doesn't listen but you would be surprised how they really do (if you're polite, persistent and reasonable).

With gas up and the economy down, cyclists are in a position unlike anytime I can remember in the past thirty years to make a difference in their communities. (And if the economy keeps heading in the same direction as in the past few months, there will be lots of folks riding bikes and walking across America!)
Among other reasonable things, TheWalkman said, "You'd be surprised how a dozen phone calls or emails to local officials really can make a difference. We often want to say that government doesn't listen but you would be surprised how they really do (if you're polite, persistent and reasonable)."

I'd only add that if one official seems unresponsive, just remember who it was, and go on the the next one. And when an official responds well, be sure to remember her or him and election time.
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Old 10-23-08, 05:57 PM   #9
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Among other reasonable things, TheWalkman said, "You'd be surprised how a dozen phone calls or emails to local officials really can make a difference. We often want to say that government doesn't listen but you would be surprised how they really do (if you're polite, persistent and reasonable)."
This is so true, even at the state and national level. Cyclists complain a lot but rarely bother to write those letters or make those phone calls. Or vote, even.

"80% of success is showing up." --Woody Allen
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Old 10-24-08, 07:36 AM   #10
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Thanks for the post up, Matt. I was starting to talk to my friends about who's policies they liked (one's a teacher with Richmond Public and the other's a planner) and this helps as well. I'll put it under my belt to read thoroughly later.

Poquemahone's right, though, the bike lanes here are silly or worthless. My commute is mostly on Va Bike route one and it includes that set of 18" lanes he mentioned.

The city's pretty good for riding in general. But I think normalizing the use of bikes for the city and making it safer for cyclists of all stripes to ride would be a better idea than trying to retrofit lanes for us. The addition of the bus lane on Broad Street downtown is nice for car traffic, but it's dangerous as all get out for cyclist as the busses are doing roughly the same speed. That and the bus driver's lack of recognition of cyclist's rights make it damn scary to be out around 8a or 5p. Enforcement of traffic and parking laws, in the Fan especially, would be helpful, too.
A small city program to give out blinky lights to riders would be a nice program to add along a pamphlet on cyclist rights and such. I'd be up for working on a program helping the ninjas to be seen.
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Old 11-03-08, 09:27 PM   #11
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We're getting lots of pre-election traffic from the mayoral candidates article!

People are searching for "richmond mayor candidates" or similar, finding our site, and spending time reading the article. This was my hope, that "normal" folks would find our site, and be exposed to cyclists' issues.

Thanks to Kate Lucas from RCF and my VBF colleague Champe Burnley for pulling this together.
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Old 11-04-08, 08:29 PM   #12
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Thanks for the post up, Matt. I was starting to talk to my friends about who's policies they liked (one's a teacher with Richmond Public and the other's a planner) and this helps as well. I'll put it under my belt to read thoroughly later.

Poquemahone's right, though, the bike lanes here are silly or worthless. My commute is mostly on Va Bike route one and it includes that set of 18" lanes he mentioned.

The city's pretty good for riding in general. But I think normalizing the use of bikes for the city and making it safer for cyclists of all stripes to ride would be a better idea than trying to retrofit lanes for us. The addition of the bus lane on Broad Street downtown is nice for car traffic, but it's dangerous as all get out for cyclist as the busses are doing roughly the same speed. That and the bus driver's lack of recognition of cyclist's rights make it damn scary to be out around 8a or 5p. Enforcement of traffic and parking laws, in the Fan especially, would be helpful, too.
A small city program to give out blinky lights to riders would be a nice program to add along a pamphlet on cyclist rights and such. I'd be up for working on a program helping the ninjas to be seen.
The answer to the Broad Street problem is to ride it as little as possible. It's not a great cycling street anyhoo, and plenty of other options abound.

I've pretty much given up on RVA drivers; they seem to be incapable of recognizing simple symbols like a stop sign and more than willing to use their car as a weapon.

I do like the idea of a blinky distribution program, and certainly would be willing to help as much as possible on a cyclist's rights in the city pamphlet. It would be good if we could interest the city in it; perhaps we could talk to a couple of the councillours (Chris Hibbert seems approachable) and get the ball rolling. Certainly an advisory group to the city, made of local commuter cyclists, would help prevent future muck-ups like the Hermitage lanes. I know Bud Vye tries, but he really doesn't ride in the city much.

I've certainly seen a rise in the number of riders/commuters here-- in the last couple years, it's gone from me and a very few others to a lot more, which I believe is a good thing.
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Old 11-06-08, 07:53 PM   #13
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Good to hear that cyclists are being paid attention to in Richmond, I grew up in Central Va and lived in various sections of Richmond while attending VCU and later in life. All in all I was pretty fortunate riding a bike in Richmond, one of my room mates had a gnarly dooring incident in the fan however.
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