Richmond Avenue at Matilda Street. Photography by Renee Umsted.

After years of discussion and planning, construction is slated to begin in January on the stretch of Richmond Avenue between Abrams and Matilda. The changes are significant, as neighbors have lobbied for years for traffic-calming measures and bike lanes along this route.

Neighborhood advocate David Shinn has owned a duplex on Richmond since 1978 and recalls the first meeting with the City in 2015. “I’ve been through three City Councilmen trying to get this done,” Shinn said.

The Advocate reported on several public meetings and surveys that occurred in 2020 and 2021 as competing interests wrestled with what the final plan would look like. The initial survey asked residents to choose between five options. A follow-up survey narrowed the options to two plans and a second resident vote was taken.

Which plan will be under construction soon? Neither. The final plan wasn’t on any of these surveys.

The “hybrid” plan, never an option on any survey, but proposed by former Councilman Dave Blewett as a middle ground between differing viewpoints is shown here:

 

Residents currently can park on both the north and south sides of Richmond. The primary battle came down to those who believed that eliminating either the north or south parking would allow for a better layout of bike and car lanes and those who felt it unfair to take away parking already in place. The compromise and ultimately approved “hybrid” plan keeps parking on both sides of the street, providing for a protected bike lane heading west along the north side of Richmond and an auto/bike shared lane heading east.

After Paul Ridley’s election to City Council District 14 last June, he assembled residents for one more meeting to gauge support for the “hybrid” plan and additional neighborhood feedback. The “hybrid” plan stuck but other traffic calming measures came out of that meeting including speed tables at Delmar, Concho, Cecile and Alderson. Detailed plans showing the changes can be seen here.

According to Chris Lutz of the Department of Public Works, construction will start at Abrams and head west. Lutz hopes to complete the work in four months.


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